• In Connecticut, the cultivation of hemp and sale of hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Senate Bill 893(1).
  • Qualified patients may have legal access to marijuana-derived CBD through Connecticut’s medical marijuana program(2), regulated by the state’s Department of Consumer Protection.
  • Under House Bill 5450 allows, patients under 18 years old with qualifying medical conditions are allowed access to marijuana. However, it should not be inhaled, smoked, or used in a vapor form(3).
  • Individuals who intend to cultivate, process, or manufacture hemp may apply for a license issued by the Commissioner of Agriculture(4).

In May 2019, hemp cultivation and sale of hemp-derived CBD products in Connecticut became legal under Senate Bill 893(5). This bill is also known as “An Act Concerning A Pilot Program For Hemp Production.” 

The regulations under Senate Bill 893 are aligned with the 2018 United States Farm Bill, which allows the growth, cultivation, and manufacturing of hemp plants(6)

According to the Farm Bill of 2018, cannabidiol products with no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by dry weight are federally legal in all 50 states(7)

Following the legalization of hemp, industrial hemp was removed as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act(8). The law also allowed the sale of hemp-derived products, such as CBD oil

Connecticut CBD Laws

Under Senate Bill 893, the cultivation of cannabis for personal and medical use is now allowed. According to Governor Ned Lamont, this legislation provides Connecticut farmers with an opportunity to “bolster their profits with hemp(9).”

The new law for the commercial hemp program’s new law replaced the research pilot program signed by the then CT governor, Dannel Patrick Malloy, in July 2015. 

The previous hemp legislature amended statutes allowing higher education institutions or the state department of agriculture to grow industrial hemp for research purposes.

Senate Bill 893 defined hemp products as products with a THC concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis. Hemp products are made by processing hemp plants or hemp plant parts.

Moreover, hemp-derived CBD products intended for ingestion are considered foods, not controlled substances or adulterated products. 

Under Connecticut law, it is prohibited to market or label consumable hemp products by claiming health impacts, medical effects, and physical or mental benefits(10).

House Bill 5389

Consumers may acquire marijuana-derived CBD through the state’s medical marijuana program

Medical cannabis was legalized in Connecticut under House Bill 5389 in 2012(11)

The law allows individuals who have been diagnosed with a medical condition to possess a certain amount of cannabis a month for their personal use. 

Registered patients must have a state-issued medical marijuana card to purchase cannabis products at medical marijuana dispensaries.

To be qualified under Connecticut‘s medical marijuana program, an individual must meet the following requirements(12):

  • Diagnosis of the qualifying patient’s qualifying medical condition by a licensed physician
  • 18 years of age
  • A state resident with valid proof of identification
  • Not an inmate in a Department of Corrections institution or facility

According to House Bill 5389, qualifying medical conditions include the following(13):

  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe or chronic pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Cancer
  • Intractable spasticity
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Any health condition approved by the Department of Consumer Protection

House Bill 5450

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) regulates the medical marijuana program. 

In May 2016, DCP passed a law that allowed minors with qualifying medical conditions access to marijuana, provided that it is not inhaled, smoked, or used in a vapor form(14). Governor Malloy signed the law. 

Under House Bill 5450, patients under 18 years old must have a written statement of consent from a parent or guardian and a written certification from two doctors. 

Minor patients may use medical cannabis for these conditions(15):

  • Brittle bone disease (osteogenesis imperfecta)
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Severe or intractable epilepsy
  • Intractable neuropathic pain
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Spinal cord injury (irreversible)
  • Terminal illness
  • Tourette syndrome

CBD Possession Limits in Connecticut

Currently, there are no established limits for hemp-derived CBD possession in Connecticut. However, there are possession limits for cannabis-derived CBD. 

An individual with a medical marijuana card may purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis products per month(16). Medical marijuana patients can buy these products containing CBD and THC at licensed dispensaries

Individuals found to possess cannabis without a medical marijuana registration card are subject to penalties. 

For their first offense, those who possess less than half an ounce may receive a  maximum fine of $150. For the second offense, the maximum penalty is $500(17).

Individuals found with more than half an ounce in their possession may be charged with a misdemeanor, receive a one year sentence in prison, and a maximum fine of $2,000(18).

CBD Licensing Requirements

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture is responsible for overseeing the state’s hemp program. 

Those who are interested in cultivating, processing, or manufacturing hemp must first apply for a license. In Connecticut, licenses are issued by the Commissioner of Agriculture(19).

The application involves different requirements, such as the GPS coordinates of the intended plot location and written consent to allow random and scheduled inspections from the Commissioner of Agriculture.

Additionally, the hemp seeds used by the growers must be certified by the Commissioner of Agriculture. 

Those without felony convictions are eligible to obtain a grower’s license. The application fee costs $50(20).

Individuals who are licensed to grow hemp must pay a grower’s fee of $50 per acre every two years. Meanwhile, processors are required to pay an annual fee of $250(21).

Individuals who grow, process, or manufacture hemp without the applicable license may be subject to a $250 fine(22).

Testing Requirements

The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) regulates hemp manufacturing in Connecticut and is responsible for setting testing standards for manufactured hemp products(23)

A manufacturer must obtain a copy of hemp testing results from the grower before receiving any hemp batch coming in or out of the state. 

Results should indicate that the batch contains not more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. The initial hemp testing conducted by the grower is only for verifying the THC concentration. 

The manufacturer must ensure product safety by contracting with an independent laboratory to perform additional batch testing. 

Every batch must undergo third-party lab testing before converting the hemp into a consumable product. Batches of hemp must also undergo a random sampling test.

Third-party laboratories conducting additional testing must be registered with DCP as a controlled substance laboratory.  

Buying CBD Legally

CBD oil is derived from hemp extract. Thus, hemp’s quality plays an essential role in the end product. 

Good-quality hemp is grown in areas with high standards and strict regulations. 

For instance, hemp farms participating in pilot programs have a more stringent set of requirements and process control to ensure a high-quality end product.

How to Choose Which CBD Products to Buy

The state of Connecticut allows consumers to buy an extensive range of CBD products, including tinctures, gummies, topicals, and vape oils. 

The only requirement for any CBD product in the state is that CBD should be sourced from legally grown hemp with 0.3% or less THC by weight(24)

When choosing CBD products, opt for the one with the US Hemp Authority symbol. It indicates that the CBD provider’s farming and industry practices are compliant with the applicable regulations. 

Another thing to check in a CBD product is the third-party lab result. Lab reports or certificates of analysis (COAs) indicate the total amount of cannabinoids in a CBD product

The COA also notes contaminants, such as pesticides, bacteria, heavy metals, and residual solvents. 

Lastly, consumers need to check the CBD company’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating or accreditation. 

BBB’s official website provides reviews, consumer complaints, a scam tracker, and a BBB-accredited business locator.

Companies accredited by BBB have been evaluated and held to higher standards of transparency, customer service, and ethical business practices.

Where to Buy CBD Products Legally

Consumers may find some of the best CBD oil shops in prominent Connecticut locales. 

  • Artisan Vapor & CBD – West Hartford and New Haven
  • Brand Cigars Newtown – Newtown 
  • Your CBD StoreMilford, Danbury, and Bridgeport

Aside from health and wellness retailers and local dispensaries, CBD oil products in the state are also available in smoke shops, distilleries, and coffee shops. 

CBD products can also be purchased directly from the brand’s official online store. Most brands offer a variety of hemp-based products to consumers. 

Before buying any CBD product, it is advisable to research CBD’s potential benefits. First-time users should also consult a medical professional to determine the proper usage and dosage of the CBD product

FAQs

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound extracted from the cannabis plant. Unlike marijuana, CBD has low THC levels that do not produce mind-altering effects.

The three types of CBD are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolates. 

Full-spectrum CBD contains all the naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes in the hemp plant.

Broad-spectrum CBD contains multiple cannabinoids and terpenes, except for THC

Meanwhile, CBD isolates only contain cannabidiol

What is the Difference Between Hemp- and Marijuana-Derived CBD?

CBD can be derived from hemp plants and marijuana plants. Hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.3% THC may be manufactured and sold in Connecticut(25).

Marijuana-derived CBD containing more than 0.3% THC is considered a controlled substance under Connecticut law(26)

What Are the Benefits of CBD Oil?

Studies have suggested that CBD has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties(27)

CBD’s potential benefits include managing pain, reducing stress and anxiety, promoting sleep, and alleviating cancer-related symptoms(28).

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently has one approved CBD treatment for epilepsy, Epidiolex. 

Epidiolex is a purified form of CBD used to treat rare conditions of epilepsy, such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome(29)

What Are the Side Effects of CBD?

CBD is generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile(30). However, CBD has possible adverse effects, which include(31):

  • changes in alertness
  • diarrhea
  • dry mouth
  • drowsiness
  • fatigue
  • liver damage
  • loss of appetite and gastrointestinal problems 
  • mood changes
  • nausea
  • potential drug interactions

How to Read CBD Labels and Packaging

CBD regulations constantly change. Still, the FDA requires companies to label their products correctly, without unsubstantiated therapeutic claims(32)

The information shown on the label, especially the CBD and THC content, must match the value indicated on third-party lab results.

Consumers should also take note of the following information on the CBD product label:

  • CBD concentration and amount of CBD per serving
  • Ingredients listed on the supplement facts
  • Net weight
  • Suggested use and dosage
  • Name of the CBD manufacturer or distributor
  • Type of CBD (full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate)
  • Product or batch code

Conclusion

As of 2020, hemp-based CBD oil is legal in all 50 states. As state laws differ, consumers should be aware of the varying degrees of restriction regarding the manufacturing, distribution, sale, and possession of CBD.

In Connecticut, the cultivation of hemp and sale of hemp-derived products with no more than 0.3% THC is legal. 

Patients may have legal access to marijuana-based CBD products under the state’s medical marijuana program

Minor patients with qualifying conditions are also allowed to access medical marijuana under House Bill 5450. 

Consumers should purchase from trusted and accredited sources to ensure the safety and quality of CBD products.

*The information shared in this article was based on findings retrieved on November 6, 2020. The legality and regulations for CBD may change without notice.  


  1. Connecticut General Assembly. (2019). “An Act Concerning A Pilot Program for Hemp Production”. Retrieved from: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2019/lcoamd/pdf/2019LCO07520-R00-AMD.pdf
  2. Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. Medical Marijuana. Retrieved from: https://portal.ct.gov/DCP/Drug-Control-Division/Drug-Control/Medical-Marijuana
  3. Connecticut General Assembly. (2016). “An Act Concerning The Palliative Use of Marijuana” (House Bill 5450). Retrieved from: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2016/ACT/PA/2016PA-00023-R00HB-05450-PA.htm
  4. Connecticut Department of Agriculture. Connecticut Hemp Research Pilot Program. Retrieved from: portal.ct.gov/DOAG/Regulatory/Regulatory/Hemp-Home-Page
  5. An Act Concerning A Pilot Program for Hemp Production. op. cit.
  6. Farm Bill. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved from: https://www.usda.gov/farmbill
  7. Ibid. 
  8. Hudak, J. Brookings.edu. (December 2018). The Farm Bill, hemp legalization and the status of CBD: An explainer. Retrieved from: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/12/14/the-farm-bill-hemp-and-cbd-explainer/
  9. Connecticut.gov. Governor Lamont: Final Approval of Hemp Legislation Is Good News for Connecticut Farmers. Retrieved from: https://portal.ct.gov/Office-of-the-Governor/News/Press-Releases/2019/05-2019/Governor-Lamont-Final-Approval-of-Hemp-Legislation-Is-Good-News-for-CT-Farmers
  10. “An Act Concerning A Pilot Program for Hemp Production”. op.cit.
  11. Connecticut General Assembly. (2012). “An Act Concerning The Palliative Use of Marijuana” (House Bill 5389). Retrieved from: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2012/FC/2012HB-05389-R000597-FC.htm
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid. 
  14. “An Act Concerning The Palliative Use of Marijuana” (House Bill 5450). op. cit.
  15. Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. Qualifying Conditions for Minor Patients. Retrieved from: https://portal.ct.gov/DCP/Medical-Marijuana-Program/Patients-Under-18
  16. Americans for Safe Access. Becoming a Patient in Connecticut. Retrieved from: https://www.safeaccessnow.org/becoming_a_patient_in_connecticut 
  17. NORML.org. Connecticut Laws and Penalties. Retrieved from: https://norml.org/laws/connecticut-penalties/
  18. Ibid.
  19. Connecticut Hemp Research Pilot Program. op.cit. 
  20. Connecticut Department of Agriculture. Hemp Research Pilot Program (HRPP) FAQS. Retrieved from: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DOAG/Hemp/FAQ-CT-Hemp-Law-HRPP-51419.pdf
  21. Ibid.
  22. Ibid.
  23. Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. Hemp Manufacturer Testing Standards. Retrieved from: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DCP/Hemp/Hemp_Laboratory_Testing.pdf?la=en
  24. Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. Hemp Manufacturing in Connecticut: Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DCP/Hemp/CBD-HempFAQs_DCP.pdf
  25. An Act Concerning A Pilot Program for Hemp Production”. op.cit.
  26. Hemp Manufacturing in Connecticut: Frequently Asked Questions. op.cit.
  27. Crippa, J. A., Guimarães, F. S., Campos, A. C., & Zuardi, A. W. (2018). Translational investigation of the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol (CBD): toward a new age. Frontiers in immunology, 9, 2009.
  28. Corroon, J., & Phillips, J. A. (2018). A cross-sectional study of cannabidiol users. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 3(1), 152-161.
  29. Rubin, R. (2018). The path to the first FDA-approved cannabis-derived treatment and what comes next. Jama, 320(12), 1227-1229.
  30. World Health Organization (WHO). (2018). Cannabidiol (CBD) Critical Review Report. https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CannabidiolCriticalReview.pdf
  31. Machado Bergamaschi, M., Helena Costa Queiroz, R., Waldo Zuardi, A., & Crippa, A. S. (2011). Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent. Current drug safety, 6(4), 237-249.
  32. FDA.gov. (October 2020). FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). Retrieved from: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd
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