In New York State, there are currently no possession limits for hemp-derived CBD products. Although Cannabis was decriminalized to some extent in New York in August 2019, those in possession of CBD products derived from cannabis may be subject to penalties. Medical marijuana patients can legally possess a thirty-day supply of non-smokable, non-edible cannabis-derived CBD products.
Currently the New York State Department of Health and Agriculture is implementing a general enforcement strategy to prevent illegal CBD products from being marketed. Penalties for CBD-infused foods and beverages include voluntary disposal, seizure or destruction of the product, a fine, and failure to conduct a health inspection. CBD oils, lotions, salves, and other topical applications are legal for everyone.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the power to regulate the labeling of CBD products, including therapeutic claims and the use of CBD as a food additive. The FDA maintains that CBD cannot legally be added to foods and beverages, or marketed as a dietary supplement. The agency has also been strict in its position against any labeling that could be perceived as medical claims about CBD. The Farm Bill also gave states the option to regulate and prohibit the cultivation and trade of CBD. New York is a state that has its own regulatory framework for CBD, adopting some FDA directives and avoiding others.
This is a frequently asked question that our customers in various states ask in order to purchase hemp and CBD products. However, there have been changes in the legality of hemp and CBD products in recent years.
New York CBD Possession Limits
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating substance found in cannabis. CBD is the second most prominent cannabinoid in cannabis after THC, which has an intoxicating or psychoactive effect. CBD can be obtained from marijuana or hemp plants and has a wide range of purported therapeutic benefits, such as reducing pain, inflammation, and anxiety, and suppressing seizures. Since the cannabinoid has gained considerable attention for its therapeutic properties, more CBD-rich strains have recently been cultivated.
Cannabis-derived CBD can be legally accessed only if individuals possess a valid New York State Medical Marijuana program card. Medical cannabis has been legal since 2014 in the state of New York.
Under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, all types of Cannabis were classified as illegal, including strains of hemp that do not produce enough THC to cause intoxication. Until then, no substance from cannabis was accepted for any accepted medical use known as list 1.
New York CBD Laws
In 2018, the Agricultural Law reclassified Cañano as an agricultural product and legalized its cultivation at the federal level. The law removed some forms of cannabis from the state from List 1 and creates a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana. Hemp is cannabis with less than 0.3% THC and marijuana refers to cannabis with more than 0.3% THC. With this, the law legalized CBD because it is derived from cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, as long as it has been cultivated with state and federal regulations. However, it does not mean that CBD is universally legal throughout the United States under the 2018 Farm Bill legislation.
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has authority to regulate the production, processing, packaging, and labeling of hemp extract products sold in New York State.
Retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers selling hemp-derived cannabis products must apply for a cannabinoid permit.
The sale of hemp extract from another state intended for human and animal consumption is prohibited, unless it complies with New York standards and regulations, which will be enacted in the future.
All hemp extracts must be packaged and labeled in accordance with New York Department of Agriculture and Markets standards and display a supplemental information panel where applicable, along with a QR code setting out other relevant information. No product can advertise therapeutic claims.
Most experts I spoke with recommend a trial-and-error process of calibrating your own needs, starting with a tiny amount then building up from there. “It’s important to understand that CBD is biphasic in its nature, so in small doses it’s gonna make you feel more alert and activated, and then in larger doses, it’s going to have more of a calming, sedating effect,” said Berg. “With that being said, a large dose may not be suitable for every application of CBD, and that’s why we kind of suggest microdosing. We also suggest that because your absorption rate depends on your metabolic rate. So with larger people it might be the case that they would need more to assimilate.”
Even vape shops see it as their responsibility to educate the public about CBD use and dispel certain rumors. At Cloud99 Vapes on 2nd Avenue, it’s a similar story: “We definitely try to have every staff member very knowledgeable of [CBD],” said James Dinh. “We want to give people the opportunity to get over the fear of it. CBD is one of those things where people think, ‘Oh it’s still THC,’ and all that. But if they are able to get it from a store like this, they feel more comfortable with it. They say, ‘Oh, this is a legitimate thing. I’m not getting it from some guy on the street.'”
There’s no shortage of businesses selling CBD products around NYC in 2018, whether they are bodegas, vape shops, beauty specialists or herbalists. There’s Remedies Herb Shop in Carroll Gardens and MedMen in Midtown and the newly-opened BreadxButta in Crown Heights, but the closest thing to a CBD district in the city can be found in the East Village, where every block seemingly has a store that has integrated the product into their business, such as Cloud99 Vapes, CAP Beauty, and Flower Power Herbs & Roots. And the epicenter of that is The Alchemist’s Kitchen, an upscale herbal and botanical dispensary and apothecary located on East 1st Street.
“Some people want to get their Reiki on, some people want to drink their Reishi,” Sagar added. “It’s all part of the same community, so The Alchemist’s Kitchen is just trying to be a place where you can have the dialogue. Where people can come in who have menstrual cramps or thyroid conditions and ask, is there something I can do? We’re trying to use herbalists to say yeah, there is something to this, why don’t you try this, put it in your tea? And that’s working well.”
CBD can also be found in your ice cream, cocktails, brownies and craft beers. NYC restaurants and eateries, including By CHLOE and Van Leeuwen, offered special CBD-infused food concoctions for 4/20 this year; The James NoMad Hotel launched a CBD-infused room service menu this summer; and coffee shops throughout the city such as Swallow, Caffeine Underground, Oliver Coffee and Flower Power Coffee House have been publicizing their own caffeine/CBD concoctions for months. And out-of-state company Monk started shipping their CBD drinking botanicals to NYC this month.
When it comes to serious ailments, you are still best served by talking to a doctor or medical professional. This is also true if you are taking any medications and want to experiment with some CBD (for example, if you are on blood pressure medication, you should be careful using CBD, which many take on its own as an alternative to traditional blood pressure medication — taking both will make you lightheaded). For otherwise healthy people trying to deal with everyday aches and stresses, with chronic migraines and joint pain and insomnia, you can test the waters on your own, or find someone knowledgable who can guide you through the process — thankfully, there are now resources for that in NYC.
As the conversation around CBD (cannibidiol) has become more mainstream over the last year, more and more New Yorkers have become intrigued by its potential benefits. I’ve heard the same questions pop up again and again around the subject: what exactly does it do? Where do I get it? How much do I take? Is it going to get me stoned? And is it really legal?
Aside from the legality question, the next thing users want to know is how much to take at a time. The problem is that there has been so little peer-reviewed published research done on CBD, it’s hard to point to any specific numbers to guide users. Many suggestions we’ve found online recommend anywhere from 10mg to 1500 mg. “That’s a big problem!” said Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of the NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center who has been closely studying CBD for the last five years. “Outside of epilepsy, we have precious little scientific data on that.”