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Is CBD Legal in Connecticut? Cannabidiol Laws in CT

Is Cannabidiol (CBD) Legal in Connecticut?

     We provide a brief overview of the history of cannabis regulation, cannabidiol legalization, and Connecticut CBD laws.

History of Cannabis Regulation

     The cannabis plant has been used by humans for thousands of years.  It has been used mainly for materials, medicine, and to alter consciousness. The earliest evidence of intentional combustion of cannabis was recently published after gas chromatography-mass spectrometry identified the phytocannabinoids cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN), the oxidative metabolite of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), preserved on funerary incense burners dated 2500 years old. 

     In the United States cannabis was utilized in the 18th and 19th centuries, and was officially added to the United States Pharmacopeia in 1850.2 Its primary uses included veterinary medicines, corn plasters, and other non-intoxicating medical preparations. The pharmaceutical industry opposed legislation to control cannabis, which opponents feared would be adopted by people addicted to cocaine and opiates once those substances were restricted. Caffeine and alcohol were also habit-forming substances of concern deemed of no medicinal value, and indeed alcohol was prohibited by the 18th Amendment in 1920.{3

     Cannabis escaped regulation for a few decades, but racist public fears held by Americans against Mexican and Indian immigrants using “marihuana” mounted until congressional hearings were held again to discuss the substance in 1936. Despite testimony from medical professionals that denounced the idea of narcotic-like dependence and equated the substance’s effects and habit-forming potential to that of alcohol, sugar, and caffeine, a litany of so-called “horror story” testimonies led Congress to pass The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The legislation was followed by propaganda campaigns warning Americans about the “Killer Drug Marihuana,” and thus a strong stigma was developed around cannabis that ultimately led it to be listed as a Schedule I substance, defined as a substance with no evidence of medical use and a high potential for abuse, by the Controlled Substance Act of 1970.3 

Hemp Legalization: The 2018 Farm Bill

     On December 20, 2018, the United States Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, removing hemp, defined as cannabis and derivatives of cannabis with extremely low concentrations of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (≤ 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis), from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This effectively removed the responsibility of oversight from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).  However, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) still oversees CBD as a dietary supplement or food product. CBD’s legal status post-Farm Bill has been muddled by the approval of Epidiolex.  Epidiolex is the pharmaceutical grade pure CBD extract FDA-approved for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) or Dravet syndrome (DS). This approval resulted in the classification of CBD as a new drug and an active pharmaceutical ingredient.7

     The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 places food and dietary supplements in a separate regulatory category than drug products, and maintains that approved drug products cannot be added to foods or sold as dietary supplements.8 Exceptions can be granted for products that were marketed as foods or dietary supplements before approval of the active drug ingredient, but according to Congressional testimony by Dr. Amy Abernethy, Principal Deputy Commissioner of the FDA, the FDA is not aware of evidence that a CBD market existed prior to clinical research and development of CBD began.7

     The CBD industry has largely ignored this technicality, and the growth of the market is rapidly increasing. In 2019 the global CBD market was valued at $7.1 billion USD, and by 2025 global revenue is expected to reach $23.6 billion USD.9 Given the vast size of the industry, the FDA does not have regulatory power to pursue violations of the FD&C Act, and thus states have taken matters into their own hands.10

Connecticut CBD Regulations

     In January 2019, Governor Ned Lamont signed into law an amendment (Senate LCO Amendment #7520 (D)) to Senate Bill 893, “An Act Concerning A Pilot Program from Hemp Production,” that states: “(4) hemp products that contain one or more hemp-derived cannabinoids, such as CBD, intended for ingestion shall be considered foods, not controlled substances or adulterated products.  This is solely on the basis of them containing hemp-derived cannabinoids.”11

     This amendment allows the legal sale of CBD products in Connecticut. Connecticut state law also requires all growers to test their supplies and provide Certificates of Analysis (COAs) for every batch of their product. COAs display the results of laboratory testing to determine the full composition of a product, including cannabinoid and terpene content.  They also are required to check for possible contaminants such as heavy metals, solvent residues, mycotoxins and pesticides.

The Bottom Line

     After decades of prohibition, CBD products containing are now legal in Connecticut. Head over to our online shop or check out our store to find The Remedy you’ve searching for.

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