- Based on federal laws, Alabama consumers 18 years and above are allowed to buy CBD oil (cannabidiol) and other CBD products that comply with the 2018 Farm Bill(1).
- Licensed hemp growers and processors based in Alabama can legally harvest, produce, and sell industrial hemp products.
- Consumers can purchase CBD products without a prescription, granted that the products contain less than the federally legal amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): 0.30% by dry weight(2).
- Through Carly’s Law, patients with debilitating epileptic conditions who have obtained CBD prescription from the University of Alabama-Birmingham Department of Neurology are protected from criminal offenses regarding CBD possession(3).
Is CBD Oil Legal in Alabama?
Hemp-based CBD products are only legal to a federal degree in Alabama. Historically, hemp, marijuana, and other cannabis varieties were categorized under Schedule I drugs of the 1970 Federal Controlled Substances Act(4).
The law defined Schedule I drugs as substances or chemicals that have a high potential for abuse, have no accepted medical use as a treatment in the US, and lack guaranteed safety even when they are used under medical supervision.
The law at the federal level mainly targeted marijuana, although cannabis as a whole was affected. Eventually, congress removed cannabis from the Schedule I list.
Congress legalized hemp cultivation in 2018 through the Farm Bill(5). This law differentiated hemp from marijuana, defining the former as cannabis with less than 0.30% of THC concentration by weight, while the latter has more than the acceptable amount.
With new definitions, CBD derived from hemp plants was removed from Schedule I. Still, marijuana-derived CBD remains illegal due to the high concentration of the psychoactive THC.
Currently, hemp cultivators are allowed to produce and sell the agricultural commodity under specified federal conditions, which congress has yet to finalize(6).
The 2018 Farm Bill passage also allowed the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate CBD’s circulation in the market.
Although the FDA continues to reevaluate its stance on CBD products, companies cannot market CBD products as dietary supplements or make any claims regarding CBD’s health benefits(7).
The FDA has previously issued memorandums warning companies that made unproven claims about CBD as a treatment for medical conditions(8). Companies in the CBD industry now include disclaimers on their websites, clarifying that CBD is not medicine.
Alabama CBD Laws
Shortly after the 2018 Farm Bill’s passage, the office of Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall issued a public notice affirming the legality of CBD products with less than 0.30% of THC content by weight and are distributed through licensed vendors only(9).
He emphasized that consumers must exercise caution when purchasing CBD products, since the state of Alabama still needs to draft the specific labeling and testing of such cannabis products.
The following laws are related to the legalization of CBD in the state of Alabama:
Carly’s Law (SB 174)
Former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed Carly’s Law or Senate Bill 174 on April 1, 2014(10). This restrictive law granted protection to individuals who use CBD products for debilitating epilepsy and seizures under certain conditions.
Patients can possess and use CBD products, granted they receive a prescription solely from the University of Alabama–Birmingham. However, “prescription” can be confusing since doctors can only recommend medical marijuana where state laws permit its use.
Leni’s Law (HB 61)
On May 4, 2016, Bentley signed Leni’s Law or House Bill 61(11). Named after Leni Young, who successfully treated seizures through the use of CBD, this law expanded the definition of conditions that qualify as seizure-inducing debilitating conditions.
With this broader definition of seizure-inducing conditions, individuals who need special treatment can use CBD. Still, public access to CBD remained restrictive as the only FDA-approved CBD treatment for childhood epilepsy is Epidiolex.
2016 Alabama Industrial Hemp Research Program Act
This law tasked the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) to conduct a licensing and inspection program for industrial hemp production(12).
It also highlighted that industrial hemp comes from Cannabis sativa L., the same source of marijuana. However, hemp contains trace amounts of THC only.
Senate Bill 225
Governor Kay Ivey signed SB 225 in June 2019(13). This law allowed Alabama pharmacies to redistribute CBD products.
The Alabama Industrial Hemp Research Program requires applicants who want to grow, process, or handle hemp in Alabama to pay an application fee of $200. Upon licensure, they should pay a participation fee of $1,000.
Through Kelly Registration Solutions, individuals who apply online may receive a $50 discount on fees.
More information is available at the official Alabama Hemp Program website:
The ADAI requires companies selling CBD products to regularly submit third-party lab results, confirming that their products contain less than 0.30% THC concentration. Companies should shoulder the testing fees.
Buying CBD Legally
Before buying CBD oil in Alabama, customers must be wary of products that use marketing terms like “100% organic” or “pure CBD oil” without clear proof.
They should inspect the product label to see if the company provided the amount of CBD per serving, net weight, manufacturer’s name, batch number or code, list of ingredients, suggested usage, and type of CBD.
Consumers should also look up a CBD brand before purchasing its products. A credible brand features comprehensive lab test results of its products on its website.
Third-party lab results confirm the potency and contents of CBD products. These results typically include cannabinoid and terpene profiles for consumers to see the exact amount of CBD present and compare these findings with what is on the label.
Most lab results also include contaminant profiles that detail whether a brand’s CBD product lacks harmful contaminants, such as pesticides, heavy metals, or solvents.
How to Choose Which CBD Products to Buy
Besides traditional oil tinctures, companies infuse CBD in many products, such as topicals, gummies, edibles, and capsules.
Reliable brands include comprehensive information about their products, helping consumers identify the ideal CBD product they should try.
For example, a company that offers CBD-infused topicals may recommend a salve to relieve chronic pain in athletes or individuals who are generally physically active.
Reliable CBD brands are also transparent with their accreditation and licenses.
Companies with membership to hemp organizations, such as the Alabama Hemp Growers Association, is another factor to consider when gauging a brand’s reliability.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) also gathers consumer reviews and reports on CBD stores in Alabama(14). The BBB only accredits credible stores and businesses within a state.
As of November 2020, all BBB accredited CBD stores in Alabama have no consumer complaints(15).
Where to Buy CBD Products Legally
Customers can typically purchase quality products from health and wellness dispensaries or retailers.
Consumers may also buy CBD online directly through a specific brand’s website.
Some of the highest–rated, BBB–accredited CBD stores in Alabama include the following:
Magic City Organics, LLC
Phone: +1 205-567-0334
CannaBama: The CBD Store
Phone: +1 251-545-8375
American Cannabis Company, Inc.
Phone: +1 251-725-6521
What Is CBD?
CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid or molecule found in cannabis plants.
Most CBD products sold on the market are derived from industrial hemp plants, as hemp has less THC than marijuana.
CBD may be taken in different forms, including tincture oils, topicals, gummies, capsules, and vape juices.
Some studies have found therapeutic benefits in CBD, including anti-anxiety(16), anti-inflammatory(17), anti-seizure(18), and analgesic properties(19). Still, those who want to take CBD products should consult their doctor.
What Is the Difference Between CBD and THC?
CBD is non-psychoactive, while THC is psychoactive and can get individuals high upon usage.
THC is more abundant in marijuana plants than in hemp plants, making the use of marijuana-based products illegal.
What Are the Different Types of CBD?
CBD comes in different types: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolates. Before making any purchase, consumers should ensure that the CBD type is explicitly stated on the product labels.
Full-spectrum CBD contains all the components of the hemp plant, including THC. As long as the product contains a THC concentration within the FDA-approved amount, the product is federally legal to purchase and possess.
Broad-spectrum CBD contains most of the components of the hemp plant, except THC.
CBD isolate contains pure cannabidiol only.
Following the 2018 Farm Bill’s passage, CBD purchase is legal in all 50 US states.
The primary qualifying condition for a CBD product’s legality is that its contents should have less than 0.30 percent THC content on a dry weight basis.
Consumers should remember that CBD products are not cure-all medicines. Despite the many studies that link CBD to several health benefits, the US FDA has approved CBD use for epilepsy only.
Even the Alabama attorney general urged consumers to be cautious when purchasing CBD products, as the drafting and revision of laws surrounding hemp are still underway.
*All the information mentioned in this article was retrieved in November 2020. Changes may occur when new information comes in.
- Farm Bill. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/farmbill
- FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). U.S. Food & Drug Association. 2020 Oct 1. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd
- Marshal, Steve, Alabama Attorney General; Taylor Hal, Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency; Matson, Barry, Executive Director of the Office of Prosecution Services; Della Manna, Angelo, Director of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. Public Notice. State of Alabama Office of the Attorney General. 2018 November 20. Retrieved from https://www.alabamaag.gov/Documents/News/PUBLIC%20NOTICE%20RE%20CBD.pdf
- Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. FindLaw. 2019 February 4. Retrieved from https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/comprehensive-drug-abuse-prevention-and-control-act-of-1970.html
- Hudak, John. The Farm Bill, hemp legalization and the status of CBD: An explainer. The Brookings Institution. 2018 December 14. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/12/14/the-farm-bill-hemp-and-cbd-explainer/
- FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). Op cit
- Warning Letter – Curaleaf, Inc. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. 2019 July 22. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/warning-letters/curaleaf-inc-579289-07222019
- Marshal, Steve, Alabama Attorney General. Op cit
- Alabama Senate Bill 174. LegiScan. Retrieved from https://legiscan.com/AL/text/SB174/id/993624
- Alabama House Bill 61. LegiScan. Retrieved from https://legiscan.com/AL/text/HB61/id/1944656
- Applications Now Available For Pilot Industrial Hemp Production. Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries. 2019 January 22. Retrieved from https://agi.alabama.gov/u/news/2019/01/22/applications-now-available-for-pilot-industrial-hemp-production
- Alabama Senate Bill 225. LegiScan. Retrieved from https://legiscan.com/AL/bill/SB225/2019
- Mission and Vision. Better Business Bureau. Retrieved from https://www.bbb.org/mission-and-vision
- Better Business Bureau. Retrieved from https://www.bbb.org/search?filter_ratings=A&filter_state=AL&find_country=USA&find_entity=81000-800&find_id=81000-800&find_text=CBD%20Oil&find_type=Category&page=1&sort=Distance&touched=1
- R de Mello Schier, A., P de Oliveira Ribeiro, N., S Coutinho, D., Machado, S., Arias-Carrión, O., A Crippa, J., … & C Silva, A. (2014). Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa. CNS & Neurological Disorders-Drug Targets (Formerly Current Drug Targets-CNS & Neurological Disorders), 13(6), 953-960.
- Leizer, C., Ribnicky, D., Poulev, A., Dushenkov, S., & Raskin, I. (2000). The composition of hemp seed oil and its potential as an important source of nutrition. Journal of Nutraceuticals, functional & medical foods, 2(4), 35-53.
- Silvestro, S., Mammana, S., Cavalli, E., Bramanti, P., & Mazzon, E. (2019). Use of Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Efficacy and Security in Clinical Trials. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(8), 1459. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24081459
- Maayah, Z. H., Takahara, S., Ferdaoussi, M., & Dyck, J. R. (2020). The anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of formulated full-spectrum cannabis extract in the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis. Inflammation Research, 1-10.