Legalization of CBD Oils

Cannabidiol (CBD) oils, made from extracts of the marijuana plant’s leaves, have been shown effective in treating seizures. Accordingly, state laws legalizing such treatments are springing up all over the country—including in states like Utah, Arkansas and Iowa where you’d least expect medical marijuana legislation to pass.

In addition to these CBD-oils-only laws, it could be argued that use of CBD oils is a form of “useable marijuana” made legal under state medical marijuana laws—especially in the majority of medical marijuana states that define “useable marijuana” to include the leaves, buds and flowers of the marijuana plant and any “mixture or preparation” thereof. (Many states exclude the stalks, roots and seeds from the definition of “useable marijuana.”)

The argument: CBD oils from marijuana leaves are a “mixture or preparation.” It’s not just speculation; it’s actually happened—last March in Arizona in a prosecution for administering medical marijuana as a liquid. The parents of a five-year-old boy with seizures prepared the liquid tincture because their son could not down the crushed marijuana leaves in his pudding. The judge tossed out the case, citing the “mixture” language and common sense. What possible sense would it make to legalize marijuana as a treatment but only allow it in one form, the judge asked.

Here’s a visual look at what’s going on with CBD oils across the U.S.:

  • The dark blue states are states where CBD oils are likely legal under the state medical marijuana law, as in the Arizona case;
  • The light blue states are ones that have adopted limited laws allowing CBD oils for treating seizures;
  • The blue stripes are states where CBD oil legislation is being considered
  • Black states are ones where CBD is still illegal; and
  • The gray states are special cases explained by the notes below. :


(1) Georgia’s legislature killed a CBD bill but the state is funding CBD oils research

(4) Because they’re made from marijuana, a Schedule I substance, CBD oils are illegal under federal law

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