The cannabis plant is in a sorry state around the world. Once renowned for its remarkable medical properties, cannabis is now often shunned as a dangerous drug, a painful misnomer that has separated people from their medicine for far too long.
CBD took the first steps toward changing that. Legitimizing cannabis in the hearts and minds of the world under the name “hemp,” CBD proved that cannabis can be mild, non-intoxicating, and amazingly medicinal.
Now, the hemp revolution has spread worldwide, and only a sliver of hard-fought resistance prevents a tidal wave of cannabis prosperity from crashing across the entire globe. What is the current status of CBD law in the United States, and how is the USA’s stance affecting the rest of the world?
Most importantly to our current topic, how is hemp flower being received both at home and abroad? We’ll provide satisfying answers to all these questions and more throughout this in-depth guide.
1.) Is CBD legal in the United States?
Yes, most legal experts would contend that CBD has achieved legal status in the USA. The complexities of US CBD law are arcane, but the most important factoid is that the 2018 Farm Bill separated cannabis with more than 0.3% THC from cannabis containing less than this threshold.
CBD laws in the United States
Low-THC cannabis is thusly now (usually) called “industrial hemp” in the United States while high-THC cannabis is still federally defined as the Schedule I illegal drug “marijuana.” Matters have become confused considerably by the rise of THC analogs like delta 8 and THCV, but the US federal government still hasn’t taken any steps to remedy the situation.
Is CBD flower legal in the United States?
Most people interpret US CBD law as designating CBD flower as “industrial hemp,” making it no different from any other CBD product containing less than 0.3% THC from the perspective of federal law. Some states and counties have objected to this classification, and there isn't any consensus yet in the United States regarding exactly what to do with hemp flower, which looks and smells exactly like weed.
Important to note is the fact that the United States, unlike other countries, has done nothing to disincentivize the production or sale of CBD flower. Most producers take this as tacit acceptance of the smokable hemp industry by the US federal government.
2.) Is CBD legal in Europe?
Europe comprises more than 40 distinct nations, each with their own unique perspective toward hemp and cannabis. In general, though, European countries have adopted the European Union’s perspective toward industrial hemp, allowing the sale of CBD products as long as they contain less than 0.2% (yes, lower from the USA’s threshold) THC.
CBD laws in Europe
The three major nations of Western Europe, the UK, Germany, and France, have all adopted similar stances toward CBD. The UK has allowed sales of CBD for the longest, and France only recently overturned a ruling that CBD sales were illegal. Germany, the darling of the EU, of course toes the party line with its 0.2% THC threshold requirement in hemp products.
Is CBD flower legal in Europe?
CBD flower laws in Europe are far from uniform. The majority of European nations simply haven’t dealt with the problem at all or have laws like those in the United States that treat all hemp products as equal.
The notable exception is the UK, which has banned CBD flower specifically because it is a part of the cannabis plant. For whatever illogical reason, UK law allows CBD if it's extracted and processed but not when it’s in the plant it originally came from. CBD flower remains widely sold throughout the UK in open defiance of the Home Office’s rules.
3.) Is CBD legal in Asia?
Asia is the world’s most cannabis-phobic continent. Japan and South Korea are two notable Asian nations that have at least made hemp-friendly overtures, but despite being the world’s biggest grower of hemp, China still punishes its citizens brutally for using or possessing cannabis.
CBD laws in Asia
Asia comprises dozens of counties, but there is not a single Asian nation that has wholeheartedly embraced cannabis in its modern forms. It’s possible that select Asian nations may open up to cannabis trade in the near future, but cultures in Asia have long memories: including memories of unforgivable atrocities like the Opium Wars at the hands of the West.
Is CBD flower legal in Asia?
If possessing CBD is likely to get you in trouble in most Asian nations, consider holding CBD flower as tantamount to a death sentence. It’s highly unlikely that law enforcement officials in Asia will care at all which cannabinoids your cannabis flowers contain: all they’ll be interested in is the fact that it’s cannabis.
4.) Is CBD legal in Africa?
Africa is home to the world’s largest illicit cannabis market, and in many parts of the continent, Africans grow cannabis openly despite the practice being technically illegal. The omnipresent lack of reliable law enforcement in Africa is both a blessing and a curse.
In this case, the situation generally allows Africans to use cannabis of all kinds peacefully and without undue oppression. If you get on the wrong side of a local warlord, though, there are no inalienable rights to protect you from mob justice.
CBD laws in Africa
Generally speaking, CBD laws in Africa are nonexistent. Most African nations at least make a pretense of banning cannabis, but any resulting laws are largely empty gestures.
The main exception is the lone remaining Westernized nation in Africa, South Africa. CBD and cannabis laws in this massively divided country remain bizarrely restrictive, but at least they’re arcane enough bear the unmistakable fingerprint of Western minds.
Is CBD flower legal in Africa?
Most places in Africa, people won’t look twice at what you’re smoking. Africans generally have bigger fish to fry than caring what you choose to light on fire and inhale.
If you happen to be in or near a major African metropolis, though, consider snuffing out that hemp joint. Even though they don’t make sense and have very limited geographical reach, ultra-restrictive African cannabis laws might actually be enforced in large cities.
5.) Is CBD legal in Australia & New Zealand?
Australia and New Zealand are going in the right direction when it comes to cannabis and CBD laws. In both Oceanian nations, medical cannabis is legal in varying capacities, and efforts are underway to make both Western countries fully cannabis-friendly. Things still might get a bit tense, though, if you try to smoke CBD flower Down Under too openly.
CBD laws in Australia & New Zealand
CBD is more legal in New Zealand than it is in Australia. The Kiwi government has essentially given CBD products the green light, but the Aussies are taking a more conservative approach. While CBD products should, in theory, be available over-the-counter in Australia, reports indicate that availability is very limited. It is illegal to carry CBD products from other countries into either Australia or New Zealand.
Is CBD flower legal in Australia & New Zealand?
Both Australia and New Zealand have taken largely allowing and friendly stances toward cannabis as a whole. When it comes to regulating and selling CBD products, though, laws are much stricter. If you don’t have medical cannabis authorization in Australia or New Zealand, you should probably refrain from even smoking hemp while you’re in the Antipodes.
CBD around the world: FAQ
In which countries is CBD legal?
CBD is legal in quite a few countries worldwide, but don’t assume you can use CBD in a particular nation just based on what you’ve heard. Thoroughly research the laws regarding CBD in the specific nation where you intend to travel. To get you started, here’s a list of countries around the world where CBD is at least somewhat legal:
- United States
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Slovak Republic
- United Kingdom
Is CBD legal everywhere in the world?
No, CBD is certainly not legal everywhere in the world. The United States, Canada, and the UK are among a handful of exceptions globally that take passive or accepting stances toward hemp and CBD. While sentiment is rapidly shifting, most of the world’s nations remain strongly anti-hemp and anti-cannabis.
Can you ship CBD flower internationally?
In general, it is not advisable to ship or carry CBD hemp flower outside the United States. Some nations may allow hemp imports, but most places you go around the world will construe any CBD hemp shipments as illegal drug smuggling. Consult with relevant authorities in the nation you’ll be visiting to determine if sending CBD ahead by mail is a good idea or not.
Can you ship CBD to Japan?
Some foreign CBD products have been cleared for import to Japan, but approval is provided on a case-by-case basis. If you send CBD to Japan without clearing your shipment with customs authorities beforehand, your shipment may be subject to seizure.
Is CBD banned in Dubai?
CBD does not appear to be fully banned in the UAE country of Dubai, and it now appears at least one brand of CBD beauty products is legal in the Emirate nation. Even so, visitors to Dubai should still be cautious when importing or using cannabis-related products. Dubai law enforcement would be more than happy to throw you in prison indefinitely for possessing anything the Islamic nation can construe as “marijuana” if you don’t have enough cash to bribe the relevant officials.
Is CBD legal in Chile?
Cannabis laws in Chile are practically nonexistent. The Chilean government basically doesn’t care if you smoke weed of any variety, so its stance toward hemp use is similarly lax. If you use cannabis in a way Chilean officials don’t like, though, you might be slapped with a small fine.
Is CBD legal in Serbia?
No, all forms of CBD are illegal in Serbia. The average sentence for cannabis or hemp possession in Serbia is 3 years in prison. In short, do not use cannabis of any kind in Serbia if you value your freedom.
Is CBD legal in Ukraine?
CBD products are legal in Ukraine as long as they do not contain any traces of THC whatsoever. Under Ukrainian law, the presence of even a single THC molecule makes what would otherwise be a hemp product marijuana instead. These rules mainly apply to imports and production, though, and prosecution of individuals for using CBD in Ukraine is very rare.
Is CBD legal in Bosnia?
Cannabis and hemp products are illegal in Bosnia. Visitors to this nation are advised not to bring CBD products of any type since they will likely be viewed as cannabis by local authorities.