Brownson Norby attorneys have an in-depth knowledge and extensive experience in advising and counseling clients engaged in the hemp-derived[1] cannabidiol (“CBD”) industry. The CBD industry is currently booming, and showing no signs of slowing. However, there are numerous legal issues associated with the product largely due to discord amongst the federal agencies, and also stemming from lack of knowledge and understanding of the product. Our attorneys are highly knowledgeable about CBD and the attendant legal issues and can provide guidance to assist industry members in legally engaging in the industry.

In conjunction with this practice, Brownson Norby attorneys have:

  • written comments to FDA,
  • prepared endorsement contracts,
  • prepared employment-related contracts and documents,
  • prepared distribution and white label agreements,
  • prepared and revised product labels and packaging,
  • provided website recommendations to avoid incorporating elements that violate federal regulations,
  • prepared trademark applications,
  • defended against intellectual property infringement allegations,
  • advised on banking and mailing issues,
  • prepared comprehensive legal status charts, and,
  • provided recommendations to clients on distribution to certain localities based on up-to-date legal issues therein (for example where a state level county attorney issued a public statement that CBD is illegal, though no state law so provides, and initiated seizures of products from retailers).

Due to the current confusion about hemp-derived CBD, it is critical to have informed and knowledgeable legal counsel to avoid violating the law. Many of those legal issues stem from discord among federal authorities, including:

  • DEA currently considers CBD a schedule I substance
    • Several states’ enforcement agencies have seized CBD from stores (on the basis that DEA says its schedule I – sometimes even in states where the law either permits CBD or does not provide that it is illegal)
  • Under the Industrial Hemp Act, passed by Congress in 2014, states have been permitted to enact industrial hemp pilot programs to allow participants to grow hemp
    • Not all states have an industrial hemp program
    • The 2018 Farm Bill was anticipated to pass in September 2018, however, it has been held up. The bill would remove industrial hemp from the Controlled Substance Act and would expand the hemp act and truly open the gates for production.
  • FDA approved a new drug that includes CBD as an ingredient. DEA has since scheduled that new drug in Schedule V; however, DEA has not rescheduled CBD generally.
  • On the international level, CBD is not currently a scheduled substance, and WHO has recommended that CBD continue to remain unscheduled.

Brownson Norby attorneys pride themselves on staying on top of the issues in this dynamic field, and expect to earn your trust and reliance by understanding your business, by staying well-informed, and providing up-to-date legal advice and recommendations.

[1] An important distinction between hemp and marijuana is what gives rise to many of the legal issues and overall confusion about hemp-derived CBD’s legal status. While both plants are part of the cannabis sativa species, they are very different in that hemp has nominal-to-no THC (the component that gives a psychoactive effect, or a “high”).


Presentations and Publications

Brownson • Norby Submits Comment on International Scheduling of Cannabis Extracts

On October 31, 2018, Brownson • Norby, PLLC submitted to FDA a comment in response to FDA's request for input from stakeholders, the cannabis industry, and other interested persons concerning the "abuse liability and diversion of" substances including the cannabis plant and resin, extracts and tinctures of cannabis, and THC. Oct. 10, 2018 Request for Comments. FDA's request for comments was Continue Reading

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North Dakota Supreme Court to Hear Arguments on CBD

On Monday November 26, 2018, the North Dakota Supreme Court will hear arguments in the matter State v. Abuhamda. Background The appeal arises from a criminal matter pertaining, in part, to the sale of products containing cannabidiol ("CBD"). On May 15, 2017, law enforcement seized several products from Abuhamda's stores, and charged him with seven counts, including delivery of a controlled Continue Reading

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Brownson Norby Launches CBD (Cannabidiol) Practice

Brownson Norby, PLLC is pleased to announce the launch of its new CBD Oil practice group. The CBD Oil group has been developed in conjunction with the firm’s existing Regulatory Law practice. The new practice group advises clients  on the rapidly evolving regulatory, legal, transactional, and litigation landscape surrounding the  burgeoning CBD Oil industry. For more, check out our practice Continue Reading

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Minnesota CBD Bills Pending

St. Paul - Minnesota state legislators recently introduced bills that expressly define cannabidiol (CBD) products as legal derivatives of industrial hemp. CBD is not "marijuana" because it does not contain active amounts of THC, the substance that produces a "high". CBD has documented health benefits, yet some Minnesota businesses and consumers are uncomfortable buying, selling or using CBD because state Continue Reading

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Brownson • Norby, PLLC Submits Comment to FDA on CBD

On April 23, 2018, Brownson • Norby, PLLC submitted to FDA a comment regarding cannabidiol ("CBD"). Brownson • Norby, PLLC Comment to FDA. The comment was in response to FDA's April 9, 2018 request for input from stakeholders, the cannabis industry, and other interested persons concerning the abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking, and impact of scheduling changes on availability Continue Reading

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CBD and the Midwest

This week state authorities from Wisconsin and Michigan issued statements regarding the legal status of CBD, which can be found here:   Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Statement and Wisconsin Attorney General Statement Michigan On May 10, 2018, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs issued a statement (which was revised today, May 11, 2018) that states that CBD is Continue Reading

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Earlier this month, on April 9, 2018, FDA published a notice requesting comments from the public on the scheduling of cannabis-related substances ("Cannabis Plant and Resin; Extracts and Tinctures of Cannabis; Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol; Stereoisomers of Tetrahydrocannabinol; Cannabidiol"). See here: FDA Request for Comments. As of today, April 20, 2018--a renowned cannabis holiday--nearly 6,ooo comments have been posted. The deadline to submit comments Continue Reading

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Indiana and CBD – A Legislative Story for the Ages

On Wednesday, March 21, 2018, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed into law Senate Bill 52, which legalized CBD oil (having .3 or less THC content) for all. This comes after a turbulent set of months, which kicked off in November 2017 after the State Attorney General issued an opinion that under the applicable law (HEA 1148) CBD oil was only legal Continue Reading

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