Brownson Norby attorneys have an in-depth knowledge and extensive experience in advising and counseling clients engaged in the hemp-derived 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.
 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”).