Considering the fact that CBD is one of the fastest growing markets in the world, it is no wonder that there are so many people eager to try and organize their own CBD growing operations. And with more CBD users than ever before, there is an understandable wave of sudden interest in making CBD products.
Even more so, people are interested in growing CBD so that they can maintain their own personal supply and not have to buy it from third-hand retailers. However, is that actually legal? Are people actually allowed to try and grow their own CBD, whether for personal use or to sell?
Let’s take a look at the legalities behind growing your own CBD, as well as some advice, depending on where you live, so as to make it as easy and straightforward as possible.
How Do You Actually Grow CBD?
Before considering the legalities of growing your own CBD, it is pretty important to figure out what it actually means to grow your personal CBD.
For starters, it is important to realize that you don’t actually grow CBD itself. CBD is one of the major cannabinoids found with cannabis plants, so what you are actually doing when you are growing CBD is growing cannabis plants.
Additionally, there are different types of cannabis plants available to be grown, which differentiate based on their specific cannabinoid content and terpene profile. The primary cannabis types are Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica, which both produce marijuana products with different effects based on their particular genetics.
However, most CBD that is consumed and produced in the CBD marketplace is actually derived from industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is a type of cannabis that lacks any THC content due to rigorous breeding, and it is principally grown for the purpose of industrial textiles.
This precise breeding program that helps breed away any THC whatsoever is also able to keep the CBD content within each plant. Generally speaking, you can expect a wild marijuana strain to possess about one part CBD to every ten parts THC, so by eliminating the THC entirely from the cannabis plant, you can encourage the production of far more CBD.
Something to keep in mind is that many high-CBD strains are not entirely devoid of THC whatsoever – many strains that have been grown for medicinal uses actually do still have a small amount of THC within them so as to help encourage something called the entourage effect. This is when CBD’s effectiveness within the human body is increased thanks to the presence of other cannabinoids.
However, this is exactly the problem when it comes to trying to grow your own cannabis plants.
The Laws on THC & Growing Your Own Cannabis
The problem with trying to grow your own cannabis plants is often not the fact that they are cannabis plants at all, but instead their THC content. You see, many of the governments in the western world determine whether or not any particular cannabis product is dangerous or not based on its inherent THC content, down to the very smallest percentage.
This also applies to trying to grow your own cannabis, because if the strain you are trying to grow contains a level of THC that is considered illegal in your local area, you are completely out of luck and may risk jail time. This becomes even more problematic when you consider the fact that, despite what any online website tells you about any particular strain’s cannabinoid content, there is always going to be some deviation from the norm.
If you try to grow an especially CBD-rich strain, such as Charlotte’s Web, you can reasonably assume that it will have less than 1% THC content. However, in many states in the USA, the legal limit for growing cannabis plants is actually around 0.2%-0.4% THC content. So, even if you are growing a CBD-rich strain and won’t be able to get high off of it whatsoever, you could still run into legal troubles.
This is only compounded by the fact that these maximum THC quantities not only vary state by state but also can change between individual counties inside those states. It is entirely possible that, were you to take a drive across the country with some of your low-THC, high-CBD cannabis, you could be breaking the law in a variety of difficult municipalities, all with different sentences.
In the USA, you also have to contend with the federal government, who set an unusually strict view on THC in any kind of cannabis products, going so far as to prosecute you greatly if you try to bring anything over the state lines. A few years ago, we could rely on the protection of the Cole Memorandum, which was created in the Obama era by the US Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General, James M. Cole. The memorandum specified that all marijuana prosecution issues would be left to the control of individual states, and that the federal government would not pursue any charges against anyone regarding marijuana.
Sadly, this was recently rescinded by the current government, leaving the situation even more confusing for potential cannabis growers.
Without the protection of the Cole Memorandum, this THC maximum is really what governs whether or not you are legally allowed to grow your own cannabis; in most states, you can freely grow hemp, but if there is even the smallest amount of THC within the plant, then you could be risking jail time.
So, How Do You Grow CBD Legally?
In the USA, the best way to be able to grow cannabis legally is in one of two ways; you either live in a fully legalized state that allows all kind of cannabis to be grown and sold, or you need to obtain a government license.
Getting a government license can be pretty tricky, and there is a finite number of available licenses sold every year. If you can get yourself a license, it means that the government trusts you to reliably grow cannabis every year to supply their state’s medical marijuana patients. You need to comply with a variety of different governances and ordinances, as well as submitting to frequent inspections and control methods.
This can prove extremely frustrating for those that are just looking for an easy way to grow their own CBD cannabis, so going down the government license route probably isn’t the best for casual use.
If you just want cannabis for your own use, then moving to a US state that allows for complete marijuana consumption – recreational and medical – makes it a lot easier, as cannabis is then considered a regular agricultural crop and you can grow it as and when you like.
However, there are also a few different locations in the western world wherein growing cannabis is somehow even more difficult than in the USA.
A Special Case: Growing CBD Legally in the UK
The UK is known for many things, not the least of which is their almost persistent rigidity when it comes to changing their minds. One thing that the British government refuse to change their minds about is cannabis, still considering it a surprisingly dangerous and harmful drug despite all the recent studies and evidence that point to the contrary.
This means that cannabis is still massively regulated in the UK, so much so that they have a special, never before seen licensing system when it comes to determining who can grow hemp.
Although marijuana is still illegal, with medical marijuana still being quite far off in the UK, there is still plenty of hemp grown in the UK so as to meet industrial demands. Hemp is, after all, one of the world’s best textile goods, so the UK needs to remain competitive in the EU market.
However, if you want to be one of the limited numbers of hemp growers in the UK, you need to obtain an exclusive UK license, something that only a few farmers every year have access to. These permits entitle you to grow hemp, but without it, even growing a single hemp plant by yourself will result in serious jail time.
One of the very best parts is that the largest grower of hemp in the UK, and thus the holder of the most significant hemp license and government contracts, is Paul Kenward, the husband of the UK drug minister, Victoria Atkins.
It certainly is convenient if you know the right people, isn’t it?
Final Thoughts on Growing CBD Legally
Despite all the progress that has been made in recent years, there is still a huge amount of uncertainty and confusion in the cannabis world. In some states it is fully legal, in others it is only legal with a valid medical license, and some states which require a medical license pretty much hand them out freely.
The ultimate answer to the question of whether or not you can legally grow CBD is…probably. If you live in one of the thirty-three states in the USA that allows some form of legalized cannabis, then you can certainly obtain a license, or in the very least grow your own cannabis.
Other than that, you are going to be running into serious risk if you try and grow any CBD-rich cannabis strain yourself.
If you want to give CBD products a try, the safest thing to do is to probably just buy it from a CBD retailer; at least then you know that you will be getting a quality, legal product.
Plus, you don’t have to deal with the headache that is the government.