RESEARCH ARTICLES11/10/2021

IS IT LEGAL?

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CBD: Is it legal?

If you’re wondering where in the world CBD is legal – good question. Every country is different and has its specific requirements, and unfortunately, they aren’t as simple as ‘yes, it is legal’ or ‘no, it isn’t’.

This article will provide a guide as to where CBD is legal per continent and where it (currently) isn’t.

[Please note: this article is intended as an overview of the individual country laws around CBD and should not be taken as legal advice. If you are planning on travelling with CBD products, it is important to conduct thorough research.]

Where CBD is Legal

AUSTRALIA

As of 1st February 2021, medicinal cannabis was legalised, and companies were given the green-light to sell low-dose CBD oil over the counter in pharmacies and chemists. However, the products must be registered on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) and must meet various requirements.

In short, manufacturers will have to prove it works before they are permitted to sell CBD-based products. Before February, CBD could only be acquired via prescription.

EUROPE

Naturally, specific CBD requirements vary from country to country, but the overall rule is that yes, CBD is legal in most countries that are part of the EU, but the products must not contain any more than 0.2% THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).

Regarding Brexit:

At present, the same rules apply to CBD in Britain as they do in the rest of the EU.

NORTH AMERICA

North America is currently the leading advocate for hemp and CBD-based products. CBD products are federally authorised, meaning they are legal in all fifty states. The maximum THC limit is 0.3% per product.

Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have legalised the medical use of marijuana (which naturally has a much higher THC content than hemp), while eleven (and counting) states have legalised the recreational use of marijuana.

CANADA

Canada legalised both recreational and medicinal cannabis products back in 2018. CBD is regulated under the Cannabis Act, and it falls under the same regulations as cannabis, regardless of its THC content.

Regarding CBD products, Canada is, however, renowned for its strict and complicated rules regarding the production and sale of the items, particularly from sources outside the country.

SOUTH AMERICA

As with the north, the legality of CBD and other cannabis products in South America varies from country to country. In Uruguay, both recreational marijuana and medicinal cannabis have been legalised, and several other countries have relaxed their laws. In Colombia and Mexico, CBD products can be granted a license for sale, providing they have less than 1% THC.

In Brazil, CBD has only been licensed for medical use, but this is expected to change in the near future.

AFRICA

The CBD market in Africa is relatively new, so there currently isn’t much information on the laws surrounding it. It is safe to suggest that CBD products are illegal in the majority of the north, east, and west African countries, based on their existing laws around cannabis.

However, in South Africa, it is now legal for anyone to sell CBD products. The only restrictions in place (at present – these laws are likely to be revisited) are that products cannot be advertised as a ‘cure or treatment for any specific condition’, and the maximum dose allowed is 20mg per day.

ASIA

Currently, the only country where CBD is legal is India.

In India, CBD oil manufactured under a licence issued by the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, can be legally used, providing they contain a THC level of less than 0.3%. While legal, there is still considerable stigma and controversy surrounding its use.

LEBANON

Most Middle Eastern and Arab countries continue to completely ban the use of cannabis and products derived from cannabis; however, Lebanon became the first Arab country to legalise cannabis for medical and industrial use last year.

The rules surrounding cannabis-based products are ever evolving and CBD products are likely to be legally attainable almost everywhere across the globe within the next fifty years.

Where CBD is Currently Illegal

–          Afghanistan

–          Belarus

–          China & Hong Kong

–          Dominican Republic

–          Fiji

–          Haiti

–          Indonesia

–          Japan

–          Malaysia

–          Panama

–          Russia

–          Serbia

–          Tunisia

–          Vietnam

–          Yemen

(A full list of countries where CBD is not fully legalised can be found here)

James Mackay

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