The Legality of CBD Oil in New York

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First thing’s first: is CBD oil legal in New York? As with many things surrounding the legality of CBD oil (cannabidiol) throughout the US, the answer is complicated. As medical cannabis and cannabis products are still illegal at the Federal level, then CBD oil is likewise illegal in the state of New York, regardless of what state laws may say.

On the other hand, the Federal government has more or less stepped down its prosecution of marijuana-related crimes in the past decade, creating an uneasy limbo where they sometimes look the other way and they sometimes don’t, depending on the situation. In practice, it has not actively made trouble for states that have legalized some or all cannabis use, including the state of New York.

While not ideal, this is quite an improvement from the state of CBD and cannabis regulation in the past eight decades. Support for the flawed and arguably racist reasoning that gave rise to marijuana prohibition is starting to become less and less part of the mainstream in America, and certainly in New York. Thankfully, prohibition seems to be finally coming to a protracted and painful end.

However, it isn’t quite over yet. The definite end is frustratingly close and always just beyond reach, even in New York. 

Did the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 legalize CBD oil?

The landmark Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, was signed into law by President Trump that same year. In its aftermath, several New York state officials declared the legality of procuring, producing, and selling products containing CBD.

Despite what individual officials may have said in their personal capacity at the time, however, there is still no official stance from New York state making CBD products officially legal. As a matter of fact, there have been several raids by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene of establishments selling CBD products. Even more confusingly, many of these restaurants started openly selling CBD products again shortly after.

New developments in New York Cannabis legalization

In late 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed Bill A7680-A / S6184-A into state law. Many interesting parts of this law are sure to be tested in the following months. 

The law includes significant amounts of red tape, such as twice-yearly licensing and permit requirements that are sure to adversely impact smaller businesses. Some clauses heavily favor New York-based cannabis producers, which have been criticized as protectionist. There are also regulations on the specific quantities of CBD that could be infused into beverages, among others.

The law also provides for the creation of the

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