The cannabis industry is ever-evolving as new legislation is passed in countries by the day. Canada and Uruguay are the only two countries in the world where cannabis and cannabis products are completely legal for both medical and recreational use, and you can buy cannabis products legally at local dispensaries. While in countries like Colombia, Netherlands, Italy, South Africa, and others, medical marijuana is legal, the use of marijuana recreationally as well as for cultivation is allowed for only a certain amount of weed.
Importing and exporting laws concerning raw materials like industrial hemp, hemp seeds, hemp, and cannabis-related products also vary from place to place. Countries in Europe may have a different approach to this legislation compared to the United States. Therefore, anyone who wants to work with import and export in the cannabis industry should know what the laws are for the country they want to import and export from.
Below we’ll focus on the current laws that concern the export of CBD products from the USA, and the aspect of legality when it comes to exporting CBD.
CBD and THC – the Main Cannabinoids Found in Cannabis
When talking about the cannabis plant, we need to know the difference between the two main cannabinoids, the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and the non intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD). Apart from these two, weed contains a number of other cannabinoids and terpenes which are different in each marijuana strain. While THC is mostly illegal in most countries, CBD is allowed for medical use in a lot of countries around the world, as a treatment for anxiety, stress, and pain.
What’s important to know is that CBD can be sourced from the cannabis plant, it can be sourced from hemp plants that usually have a lower THC content than the CBD derived from the cannabis plant, and it can also be produced in a lab. Medical marijuana users can choose from a wide array of CBD products that come in all shapes and sizes, from CBD oil and CBD tinctures, to nasal sprays, topicals, edibles, and drinks.
Current Situation With Medical Cannabis in the United States
The United States has different legalization laws in each state when it comes to cannabis. And so, “the use and possession of cannabis are illegal for any purpose under federal law, by way of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.” So there’s a conflict between state law and federal law.
But there are some liberations to the Controlled Substances Act, and hemp growers can benefit from them since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill legalized hemp production across the United States at the federal level. Farmers and hemp producers can grow hemp and produce hemp-derived CBD products only if the products contain less than 0.3% THC, meaning that those products aren’t federally controlled substances (a.k.a. drug).
Confirmation that CBD products are on the rise in the US are these following statistical data:
- 26% of Americans have tried a CBD product, and out of them, one in seven uses CBD each day.
- 43% of consumers purchase CBD through online retailers like e-commerce websites, while 49% purchase them at a drugstore.
- A statistical analysis by the CBDA concluded that the US CBD market (both hemp-derived and marijuana-derived) is expected to reach $20 billion by the year 2024.
Can You Export CBD Oil and CBD Products From the USA?
When it comes to exporting THC from the United States, there are certain regulations involved. As each country in the federation has its own regulations when it comes to medical marijuana, it’s normal that they would have different laws when it comes to import/export.
In many countries cannabis with THC levels above 0.3% is illegal, so if you’d like to sell CBD products, your best bet would be to check specific state laws. Moreover, there’s the regulations that must meet the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) criteria. The FDA generally steps in if false claims are marketed on the products (if the product doesn’t help with depression, the label shouldn’t say that it does). With that being said, it’s legal to ship CBD in the mail locally, across the United States.
However, if you want to ship CBD internationally, the state where the package is shipped needs to have laws that allow the import of CBD and CBD products. As the cannabis market is expanding and countries like Switzerland have legalized low THC cannabis as an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, it’s a fact that this market is booming, and as such it might expand much more in the future.
Carrier Shipping Regulations for CBD Products from the USA
While some carriers like FedEx don’t allow shipping CBD, hemp plants, hemp seeds, or hemp oil, there are a number of carriers that do. A lot of shipping carriers have adapted to the growing legalization of cannabis around the world, and you can ship CBD with a number of them, if it conforms to the regulations of the shipping carrier in question, and if the package is allowed for import at the country where it’s shipped.
You can ship CBD with USPS as long as you’re selling legal CBD from a supplier that has a license, the CBD is derived from industrial hemp plants, and it doesn’t have a THC content higher than 0.3%. All of this information should be listed on a signed certification statement and provided to USPS so they can ship your package.
In order to be allowed to ship CBD with UPS, you need to provide documentation where the raw materials grew, how they were obtained, and how they were processed. UPS doesn’t accept shipments that contain hemp in plant form, or hemp products from locations that sell marijuana or marijuana products.
DHL has stricter regulation when it comes to shipping CBD products. On their official page, it’s stated that DHL ships CBD products locally, but only if the shipper meets certain regulations. In order to accept your shipment, the hemp or hemp-based products should contain less than 0.3% THC, appropriate laboratory test results and licenses should be provided, no branding or labeling should be displayed on the package, and the package should comply with federal, state, and local laws.
Final Thoughts on Exporting CBD From the USA
Exporting hemp and CBD products is a process that shouldn’t be taken lightly as it involves international laws. Before you dive into this business, make sure you know all there is to know about national and international law when it comes to selling CBD and CBD products.
If you do decide to export internationally, make sure that the importing laws for CBD of the country where you’re exporting allow the import of CBD. Otherwise your package may face scrutiny from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, which regulates international commerce, and it might not reach the desired destination. Even though the standard response of Customs and Border Protection is unclear, confiscation and destruction of the package may happen.