The Tennessee Guide To Legal CBD Oil
Is CBD legal in Tennessee? You might be surprised by the answer to this question.
In 2014, Tennessee legislators passed bill SB 2531. The extremely limited measure made CBD oil legal for patients with intractable seizures. Then, two years later, in 2016, bill HB 2144 was passed. This bill was supposedly a “clarification” of Tennessee’s CBD laws. It basically set the limit of THC in CBD oils to no more than 0.9% THC. It also slightly expanded the qualifications from only intractable seizures to anyone diagnosed with epilepsy who has a doctor’s recommendation. That’s it.
There are no other circumstances, according to Tennessee laws under which the possession or sale of CBD oil is legal in the state of Tennessee. Or are there?
A precedence for legal CBD in Tennessee
In mid-February of 2018, state police in Tennessee raided and padlocked 23 businesses for selling candy containing CBD, claiming it was an “illegal synthetic drug.”
Operation Candy Crush, as it was called, indicted 18 people on charges of selling controlled substances. Each suspect was charged with at least one count of sale and possession of Schedule VI drugs which are Class E felonies in Tennessee.
In the end, the district attorney dropped all charges in the case. So what happened? Is CBD legal in Tennessee or isn’t it?
In this case, the CBD-infused products were tested by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation which informed state prosecutors that the products did, indeed, contain CBD. The District Attorney’s office then initiated the raids because, it claimed, “the TBI assured us that the items being sold at various businesses in Rutherford County were infused with illegal controlled substances.”
However, once the case was heard in court, District Attorney General Jennings Jones claimed that the products were actually not illegal on the grounds that the CBD was derived from industrial hemp — marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin. Hemp products are legal in Tennessee, assuming the hemp from which they were produced falls below the 0.3% THC limit specified by law.
Charges were dropped after the TBI refused to testify that the CBD in the items being sold was derived from marijuana and not hemp.
In the end, neither the TBI nor the DA’s office had any proof whatsoever that the CBD-infused edibles were non-compliant, and no evidence was ever presented to bolster any of the charges in the case.
Case closed, right? Unfortunately, no. The story doesn’t end there.
So, is CBD legal in Tennessee?
So, is CBD oil legal in Tennessee, or isn’t it?
At this time, many shops in Tennessee are selling CBD oil products without being harassed by local or state law enforcement agencies — at least in part as a result of the embarrassment of Operation Candy Crush.
So, if it’s legal, then why did lawmakers pass measures that require patients suffering from epilepsy to jump through hoops to get it?
And, conversely, if it’s illegal unless you have epilepsy and a doctor’s note, then why are law enforcement agencies allowing it to be sold in shops throughout the state?
Is it really just a matter of the paltry six-tenths of one percent difference in THC levels?
Shop owners in Tennessee that are selling CBD oil are doing so with the stance that because hemp is legal and hemp foods are legal, it follows, therefore, that CBD oil produced from hemp is also legal. But this is actually not the case.
Tennessee’s cannabis laws are based on the federal government’s definitions of hemp and marijuana. And in order to be considered a hemp food, according to federal law, a product must be derived from the plant’s seeds or stalks and not its flowers. Any derivatives of cannabis which do not fall within this definition are still considered a Schedule I substance and are subject to the same laws as marijuana. And there are no specific laws in Tennessee that make CBD oil from hemp legal.
So, therefore, it follows that CBD is still illegal in Tennessee, regardless of whether or not it was produced from hemp. The police, the DA, the TBI, and the judge in the Candy Crush case all missed this point. And shops in Tennessee continue to sell CBD oil and other CBD-infused products with impunity.
Furthermore, if the federal government considers CBD oil to be illegal then why do they allow hundreds of CBD oil sellers to offer CBD products online and ship them to all 50 states? Why aren’t they shutting these companies down?
Can the fact that both the state of Tennessee and the federal government are allowing the sale of CBD from hemp really be just a matter of every single agency and all the lawyers involved not fully understanding the laws? Not likely. Or, we should say, not solely.
If you were to ask a dozen different state and federal officials their opinion on this, you’d probably get a dozen different answers. And one can see how local law enforcement agencies might not fully comprehend the laws which pertain to CBD especially given the recent ruling in the Candy Crush Saga. But the TN DA and US DEA surely must have done their homework on this matter. So what gives?
The answer may just be that once any sane human does the homework they realize that the laws pertaining to CBD are just too ridiculous, and the demand for CBD is just too great, to warrant the huge expenditure of money and resources it would take to shut the industry down statewide and nationwide. You can’t shut one down without shutting them all down.
Yes, it’s ridiculous to consider the medicinally beneficial extracts of hemp, a non-intoxicating plant, illegal on the basis that it is related to marijuana. And demand for CBD is so great that sales of CBD oil and CBD-infused products are expected to surpass $1 billion in the U.S. in 2018.
So, the next question is, why is there such a demand for CBD oil? Let’s take a deeper look at this.
What is CBD oil, and what is it good for?
Before we get into the drive behind the high demand for CBD products, let’s get clear on what CBD really is and look at its medicinal benefits — which extend far beyond the treatment of epileptic seizures.
How CBD oil is made
CBD oil is a refined extract of the hemp plant. And, as we mentioned, according to federal definition, any cannabis plant which produces below 0.3% THC is considered hemp, while those strains which produce anything above that level are considered marijuana.
Neither the seeds nor the stalks of the hemp plant contain CBD. CBD-rich extracts are actually produced from the plant’s resinous flowers which, although essentially devoid of THC, can be as high as 25% CBD and other cannabinoids.
In order to produce the CBD oil that you see online and in shops in Tennessee, the raw extract goes through a filtering and distillation process. Taken to its limits, the distillation process can produce pure CBD. Pure CBD is odorless and flavorless. For this reason, it is ideal for adding to edibles and cosmetics. This is the so-called “illegal synthetic drug” that was found in the edibles in the Candy Crush case.
Medicinal benefits of CBD oil
CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is one of scores of cannabinoids, each of which has its own effects on the human body. The human body naturally produces what are known as endocannabinoids; phytocannabinoids are those which are produced in plants such as cannabis.
Over the past 50 years, researchers have discovered that both types of cannabinoids are essential to well-balanced human health.
The purpose of cannabinoids is to regulate a variety of physiological functions at a cellular level. They do this by interacting with the human endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The ECS is a system of signaling molecules and receptors via which the brain communicates instructions to individual cells.
Once you look at the wide variety of systems which are regulated by the ECS, you get a clear picture of why cannabinoids are so important for maintaining good health.
When your body is low on nutrients the ECS makes us feel hungry and once we’ve refueled it makes us feel full. When we eat something that’s bad for us it’s the ECS that makes us feel nauseous and involuntarily spit it back up. When we need rest the ECS makes us feel sleepy and when we’ve had enough rest it wakes us up. When we’re in danger it puts us on edge and when the danger passes it calms us back down.
These are just a few examples of the vast variety of functions controlled by the ECS related to anxiety, sleep, appetite, and nausea. The ECS is also responsible for regulating and modulating the immune system as well as the production of many neurotransmitters and hormones.
Some researchers believe that a number of common medical conditions such as anxiety and depression, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, epilepsy, MS, Parkinsons, fibromyalgia, and many others might actually be the result of a cannabinoid deficiency. And there is an abundance of scientific research, clinical studies, and anecdotal evidence to back this up.
In fact, the evidence for CBD’s medicinal benefits is so abundant and so compelling that lawmakers in a majority of U.S. states which have looked at this evidence have decided to defy federal regulations and implement medical cannabis programs. These programs cover long lists of diverse medical conditions.
And we’re not just talking about medical marijuana. Many states with medical cannabis programs still consider marijuana to be illegal and only allow residents to possess CBD oil.
This all leads to another question. If you’re an epilepsy patient in Tennessee or you care for one that’s considering treating their condition with CBD should you be concerned about the difference of six-tenths of one percent of THC? Not really. It may, indeed, be the case the THC has benefits for the treatment of epilepsy, but the difference between .3% THC vs .9% THC isn’t enough to make a difference. (This doesn’t mean you should not consult with a doctor before using hemp CBD.)
Although many experts claim that THC is a vital component of medical cannabis, the FDA recently approved a drug called Epidiolex for the treatment of certain cases of epilepsy. In order to get this approval, the drug had to pass a number of clinical trials that proved that it is effective and safe to use. Epidiolex is essential pure CBD and contains zero THC.
Tennessee marijuana laws 2018
As we discussed above, in Tennessee, technically marijuana laws are modeled after federal laws. FAnd federal law says that although hemp foods are legal, CBD does not qualify as a hemp food. Therefore it technically should fall under the state’s marijuana laws. So, what do Tennessee marijuana laws say?
As of fall, 2018, In Tennessee, if you’re caught with less than half an ounce of marijuana you can be charged with a misdemeanor and face mandatory fines up to $500 and potentially serve up to a year in prison.
Selling cannabis is another matter altogether. Anyone caught selling marijuana can be charged with a felony and potentially serve up to 60 years in prison depending on the amount being sold and face fines up to $200,000.
The cultivation of marijuana is also a felony punishable by up to 60 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.
Those are some pretty stiff marijuana laws.
So what happens if you’re caught with CBD oil in Tennessee without a prescription? Or even worse, what happens if you’re caught distributing CBD oil in Tennessee? Well, regardless of the laws, as a result of the Candy Crush precedence, apparently nothing happens.
How to buy legal CBD oil in Tennessee
So, technically, the only way to buy legal CBD oil in Tennessee is to have epilepsy. But effectively, anyone can buy CBD oil in Tennessee without fear of being busted. If state or local law enforcement officials want to bust you for buying or selling CBD, then they are obligated to bust everyone who buys or sells CBD.
This means that you can walk into any shop in the state that sells CBD oil and CBD-infused products without fear of being arrested and prosecuted — whether you have epilepsy or not. As we said there are a number of shops in the state selling hemp CBD products in 2018, and one need only do a Google search to find them.
There are also scores of websites which sell CBD which has been produced legally in states that allow the cultivation of cannabinoid-rich hemp and the production of CBD. Below is a list of some of the websites.
Where to buy CBD for Pets online
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