Is CBD Oil Legal In Tennessee

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The laws surrounding CBD oil in Tennessee are somewhat confusing. We aim to clarify the situation in this in-depth guide. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized CBD across the country, but each state can impose their own regulations and restrictions regarding CBD. This can make it difficult to understand the laws in states that have yet to even allow medical access to cannabis, like Tennessee. So, is CBD legal in Tennessee? Or does the state restri We Change Laws!

CBD Oil in Tennessee [All You Need to Know]

By now, most people in America are aware of CBD. Short for cannabidiol, this compound is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, one of the active compounds found in cannabis plants. Predominantly, CBD comes from hemp.

Legislation surrounding CBD, hemp, and even marijuana is continually changing. As a result, it’s hard to keep up, and consumers often don’t know where they stand.

This is why we have created a series of guides dedicated to outlining the nuances of CBD laws in various states. This article focuses on Tennessee and explains the existing CBD laws while helping you discover some of the best places to purchase the cannabinoid within the Volunteer State.

Is CBD Legal in Tennessee?

The simple answer is ‘yes.’ The state of Tennessee permits the sale, purchase, and usage of CBD. Indeed, despite the complications associated with the cannabinoid, the law is relatively straightforward in Tennessee.

It allows residents to purchase CBD products derived from hemp with a maximum THC content of 0.3%. This is in line with the rules outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized the growth of industrial hemp.

However, these laws are relatively new. Until a few years ago, there was genuine confusion about the rules surrounding CBD in Tennessee.

Tennessee CBD Law

The main point of contention is the difference between hemp and marijuana. Both are part of the cannabis plant, which belongs to the Cannabaceae family. The 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as Cannabis sativa with a maximum THC content of 0.3%. In a legal sense, cannabis plants with a higher THC level are classified as marijuana.

In Tennessee, marijuana is extremely hard to come by. Governor Haslam signed Senate Bill 280 into law in May 2015, legalizing the possession of CBD oil with a maximum THC content of 0.9% for a handful of severe conditions, including intractable epilepsy. However, patients had no means of purchasing such products within the state.

Marijuana is highly illegal in Tennessee. It was only recently that CBD products were removed from the same definition, allowing hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.3% THC.

In June 2016, Governor Haslam signed House Bill 2124 into law. It excluded cannabis oil containing CBD with a maximum of 0.9% THC from the definition of marijuana. However, this was only when manufactured, processed, transferred, dispensed, or possessed by certain higher education institutions.

This is the closest thing to a medical marijuana program in Tennessee at present. It also remains illegal to purchase cannabis oil from within the state.

Given the difficulties in sourcing cannabis oil, prospective MMJ patients are probably better served to stick with CBD oil derived from hemp. There are many physical and online stores selling CBD products in the state. However, please ensure that the brand offers up-to-date third-party lab testing. Otherwise, you could inadvertently break the law.

Where to Buy CBD Oil in Tennessee

Many pharmacies and health stores sell CBD products now, especially in cities like Nashville. Tennessee also allows individuals aged 18+ to purchase smokable hemp products, though these carry an excise tax of 6.6%. It is inadvisable to smoke hemp in a public setting, however. You can also expect most stores to ask for ID to ensure you’re 18+ years of age. Some locations won’t sell to anyone under the age of 21.

Here are five highly-rated stores in Tennessee that currently sell legal CBD products.

Is CBD Legal in Tennessee?

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized CBD across the country, but each state can impose their own regulations and restrictions regarding CBD. This can make it difficult to understand the laws in states that have yet to even allow medical access to cannabis, like Tennessee.

So, is CBD legal in Tennessee? Or does the state restrict hemp the same way they restrict other cannabis products?

Luckily, Tennessee has updated hemp legislation to expand access to CBD to consumers across the state.

Still, certain regulations may interfere with the way that CBD can be sold and how you should approach buying CBD in the state.

Check out Tennessee CBD laws to learn more:

Disclaimer: We’re always working to stay informed on the latest CBD laws and research. However, state laws are subject to change and we advise that you do your own research to verify the information you find in this article. This is not intended as legal advice.

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Key Takeaways

Tennessee was hesitant to pass updated CBD legislation at first, but now many different types of CBD products are available in the state.

There are no regulations against any specific form of CBD, so long as it meets federal requirements. Smokable hemp flower can only be sold in a sealed container.

The state regulates hemp farming, manufacturing, and sales, but it’s actually a lack of regulations that may impact consumers most.

Most state regulations have to do with THC content, but they do not necessarily ensure consumer safety. Shopping online may give you better oversight of brand quality, and many online CBD brands ship legal CBD products to Tennessee to buyers aged 18 and up.

Legal Concerns About CBD

It’s true that CBD gained its federal legal status in 2018. The Hemp Farming Act effectively removed industrial hemp and its natural derivatives (like cannabinoids) from the Controlled Substances Act.

But there’s a catch, and it complicates things:

Legal CBD products must come from industrial hemp.

This classification is designated to hemp material that meets a strict set of standards. The most significant is that it contains less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. If CBD products are made from any cannabis strain that contains more than 0.3% THC, it is not a federally legal product.

The final product must contain less than 0.3% THC, too.

That means that even if a brand starts with legal hemp material, they need to carry out careful manufacturing procedures to produce a legal end product. It’s possible for certain cannabinoids to be “concentrated” during the extraction process, leading to higher THC concentrations than in the original material. Proper manufacturing and careful testing need to be employed to avoid this issue.

Because there is very little regulation in the CBD industry, it’s important to evaluate a brand carefully before you buy. It can be hard to tell if a CBD product is made from a legal hemp source and meets the federal guidelines for legal hemp products. The best way to ensure that your CBD products are legal is by checking the third-party lab tests for cannabinoid potency.

Of course, these regulations only apply on a federal scale. You must also ensure that your products meet the standards laid out by federal guidelines and those set by your state.

What are the CBD laws in Tennessee?

Tennessee signed SB 2125 into law in 2016, a bill that clarified the difference between hemp and marijuana by amending marijuana legislation in the state. Under the new bill, any cannabis material with less than 0.6% THC is considered hemp.

Later that year, HB 1044 was also signed into law, allowing cannabis material with less than 0.9% THC to be grown, manufactured, and distributed to qualifying patients by approved state universities.

In 2017, Tennessee further updated hemp laws in the state by passing HB 1164. This bill expanded access to hemp providing that it contains less than 0.3% THC, and enabled the state to officially offer their hemp plan to the USDA for approval.

The USDA approved the plan in July of 2020, setting forth a series of regulations that would affect growers and manufacturers. Some requirements include lab testing to verify THC content and specific labeling requirements. Like most other states (see Illinois, Ohio, Nebraska, and West Virginia), there are still no requirements in place for safety testing.

Thanks to Tennessee’s reclassification of hemp, CBD and hemp-derived products became legal for all consumers after the 2018 Farm Bill passed into law.

Now, consumers will find cannabis with 0.3% THC or less (made in accordance with federal law) all over the state. There are no restrictions as to the type of CBD products that can be sold, but smokable hemp flower must be sold in a sealed container.

Is full spectrum CBD legal in Tennessee?

It’s easy to assume that CBD isolate, which contains no THC, is legal in most places. Laws surrounding full spectrum products that contain some amount of THC are not always so clear. Tennessee law allows for CBD products to contain up to 0.3% THC, which means full spectrum CBD products are legal in the state.

Does Tennessee have a CBD possession limit?

Tennessee laws do not define any possession limits for products that meet the legal requirements for hemp. Products with a slightly higher THC content may be available to qualifying patients as part of the state’s medical CBD program, but the possession limits may differ. Products with higher levels of THC are classified as marijuana products, which are illegal in the state.

Do you need a prescription for CBD in Tennessee?

There is no need for a prescription to access CBD products in Tennessee. In fact, doctors typically cannot “prescribe” CBD products that are sold over the counter, rather they may “recommend” them. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, access usually requires a doctor’s recommendation, not a prescription.

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The exception is for CBD products with more than 0.3% THC but less than 0.9% THC, which require a special recommendation and diagnosis from a Tennessee doctor.

CBD is still new, and only one CBD product has been approved by the FDA to date. This product, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, is designed to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy. Aside from this product (which comes with stringent usage guidelines), many doctors are still learning about CBD. If you’re interested in the benefits of CBD, you may need to spark a conversation with your doctor.

Where to buy CBD in Tennessee?

Tennessee laws regarding who can sell manufactured hemp products are very loose, and you may find CBD products that meet federal and state regulations in stores all over the state.

However, these loose regulations fail to outline any quality testing requirements. Most testing required by the state only concerns the THC content, and not necessarily quality or purity. For this reason, buying CBD can be risky if you don’t take special precautions.

Buying CBD online is a suitable option for most consumers. When you buy CBD online directly from the brand, you get better oversight of the brand’s manufacturing practices. Looking at the brand’s hemp source and lab testing procedures can help ensure that the CBD products you choose are clean, potent, and meet legal guidelines.

Buying CBD directly from a brand instead of from a third-party market may also be less costly since you won’t have to pay the extra fees that are often tacked on by the middle man. Of course, premium CBD can be expensive to manufacture, so you should also be wary of products that offer low-ball prices.

Finally, buying CBD online may be the best way to access many different types of CBD. The most common type of CBD product is an oil tincture, but you can find a variety of CBD edibles, topicals, and other specialty products when you shop online.

For more information on how to find high-quality CBD products, check out our CBD Buyer’s Guide.

Can you buy CBD at 18 in Tennessee?

In theory, CBD should be accessible to people of all ages, especially since it originally gained popularity as a treatment for various childhood illnesses. Of course, some products may not be suitable for people of all ages, like smokable hemp flower or CBD vaporizers.

CBD age limits are mostly undefined, even by federal law. Tennessee does not impose any age restrictions for buying CBD products, but there may still be limitations.

Generally, the minimum age for purchase is decided by the vendor. The legal age for buying tobacco has been increased to 21, and it’s possible that most CBD vendors will require buyers to meet this minimum age requirement as well.

Many CBD brands allow customers who are 18 or older to order online and will ship legal CBD products to Tennessee.

Is CBD legal in all 50 states?

Thanks to federal updates, CBD has the potential to be legal in every U.S. state. CBD is legal in Tennessee, but every state has different regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of CBD. Click here to find out where CBD is legal.

Is CBD Oil Legal In Tennessee

Summary

Tennessee law provides protections for certain individuals with epilepsy who possess cannabis oils that are rich in one of the primary active ingredients in medical marijuana, cannabidiol (also referred to as CBD). That law allows only oils that contain no more than trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC) — 0.9%.

The state’s first CBD-focused law, SB 2531, was passed in 2014. It required that a hospital or state university-affiliated clinic supervise the study of cannabis oil. It also relied on Tennessee Tech to cultivate marijuana. Both requirements rendered the law unworkable in light of federal law. Without authorization from federal law enforcement, which unsurprisingly was not granted, these institutions were unwilling to participate.

In 2015, the legislature changed the law by passing SB 280, which allows a person who obtained cannabis oil out-of-state to possess it in Tennessee. The person was required to have “a legal order or recommendation” from the other state.

In 2016, the legislature modified the law again. It now provides that certain individuals may possess CBD oils with no more than 0.9% THC. To qualify, the person must have “proof of the legal order or recommendation from the issuing state” along with proof that they or an immediate family member have been diagnosed with intractable seizures or epilepsy by a Tennessee doctor. The oils must be labeled by the manufacturer showing they have no more than 0.9% THC.

That revised law also allows all institutions of higher education to participate in research using up to 0.6% THC with cannabidiol and permits research to be conducted on “cancer and other diseases” as well as intractable seizures. However, it requires any study to be “certified by the drug enforcement administration located in the state,” which is extremely difficult and time-consuming. There is currently only one location that is allowed to cultivate marijuana under federal law, and it is located in Mississippi.

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In 2017, the legislature enacted HB 1164, which modified Tennessee’s industrial hemp law to allow the production of hemp with 0.3% THC or less. The law requires hemp growers to be licensed by the Department of Agriculture. It also provides that hemp is not marijuana under the state’s controlled substances act if it is either (a) viable and possessed by a licensed hemp grower, or (b) nonviable and was procured in accordance with department rules.

Limited Access for Patients

Unfortunately, even for the small pool of patients covered by the CBD law, there is not safe, regulated access to low-THC products within Tennessee. While it is possible that some patients could acquire very low-THC cannabis grown pursuant to the industrial hemp law, that law does not mandate testing or labeling to ensure products are free of harmful heavy metals, pesticides, molds, or other contaminants.

In 2018, state officials raided some stores selling CBD products, but ultimately dropped charges since it was unclear the products were made from hemp (which would be legal) or marijuana.[1] However, even if stores purport to sell CBD, buyers must be cautious of these products. Without mandated testing and labeling, products may not be what they appear. More than 50 people were sickened in Utah by fake CBD products.[2]

Low-THC, CBD-Focused Laws Leave Behind Most Patients

In addition to the legal and logistical hurdles presented by the current laws in Tennessee, they also come up short on scientific support and practical application. CBD is one of approximately 85 active compounds — called cannabinoids — found in marijuana.

While low-THC, high-CBD marijuana has been effective at treating some patients’ seizures, the number of individuals treating seizure disorders through medical marijuana programs is a relatively low percent of the total patients who could benefit from medical marijuana. For example, less than one percent in Arizona report seizures as their qualifying condition. At least, ninety-eight percent of patients in most state programs suffer from conditions other than seizures, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, post traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, spasms, or severe nausea. These patients will unfortunately be left behind in Tennessee until a substantive law similar to other medical marijuana states can be adopted.

Higher amounts of THC are needed for relief for many conditions — and higher THC cannabis has been shown to provide relief to patients with Crohn’s disease, chemotherapy-related wasting and nausea, pain, and other ailments.[3] Ironically, the federal government has long since recognized the medical value of THC, which is largely ignored in Tennessee’s laws. In 1985, the FDA approved a prescription drug that is made of synthetic THC — Marinol — for nausea.

THC Has Medicinal Value and May be Necessary

Further, there is some evidence that CBD, like the many cannabinoids in the marijuana plant, actually requires the presence of other compounds contained in the plant for it to be effective, known as the “entourage effect.”[2]

Research is not conclusive on this theory, and it is unclear if the allowable amount of THC in the current laws in Tennessee, less than one percent, is sufficient for patients. Several parents of children with seizure disorders have found that a greater proportion of THC is needed to reduce the frequency and intensity of their seizures.

Most states[3] have workable medical marijuana laws that include access to marijuana, including THC, a well-known cannabinoid. Ironically, the federal government has long since recognized the medical value of THC, which is largely ignored in Tennessee’s laws. In 1985, the FDA approved a prescription drug that is made of synthetic THC — Marinol — for nausea.

Conclusion

While Tennessee has taken a step forward in recognizing the medical value of at least one component of marijuana, its current laws fall short:

  • The law leaves out the vast majority of patients who could benefit from access to medical marijuana;
  • Tennessee law fails to provide for a safe, tested supply of low-THC cannabis oils; and
  • The law does not allow more than trace amounts of THC, which is known to have medical value and may be required in higher amounts for treatment using CBD to be effective.

[1] Michelle Willard, “Store owner wants $500K for ‘Operation Candy Crush’ arrest,” Mufreesboro Voice, September 27, 2018.

[2] “52 people sickened by fake CBD oil in Utah,” CBS News, May 28 2018.

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