Some of the hemp curing and drying in Lowery’s green house will be turned into what called delta-8 products. That’s a cannabis compound that has become popular because of its similarity to Delta-9 THC. That’s the main compound in cannabis that gets you high.
Right now, hemp-derived delta-8 THC is legal in Alabama under state and federal law. This means you can purchase, use, possess, sell, distribute, and produce delta-8 in Alabama without running afoul of the law. However, there’s already been an attempt to change that.
“A lot of help farmers and CBD people in Alabama. You know, we rode in and was like, this will kill the industry. We need this because CBD had slowed down,” she said. “So much delta eight saved the industry. I’m expecting to see a bill next session to try to ban it.”
CBD product labels should not make claims about any therapeutic or medical results, which the FDA would classify as a drug and in violation of current regulations. Reputable CBD companies typically adhere to stricter labeling standards voluntarily to give their consumers better understanding and access to higher-quality products. Buzz words, such as “pure” or “organic,” have no scientific meaning for hemp and could be misleading marketing slogans.
In 2018, Congress passed the Farm Bill and legalized hemp cultivation, creating a pathway to remove cannabis from Schedule 1. The Farm Bill defined hemp as cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC by weight and marijuana as cannabis with more than that amount. Hemp-derived CBD was thus removed from its Schedule 1 designation, but CBD derived from the marijuana plant is still considered federally illegal because of marijuana’s federally illegal status. Hemp is considered an agricultural commodity, but still must be produced and sold under specific federal regulations, which were not finalized when hemp was legalized.
Following the 2014 Farm Bill passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama, the Alabama Legislature passed the Alabama Industrial Hemp Research Program Act in 2016, tasking the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) with the development of a licensing and inspection program for the production of industrial hemp. The ADAI slowly drafted and finalized regulations in September 2018, only months before the 2018 Farm Bill was signed, which broadly legalized CBD and CBD products that contained less than 0.3% THC by weight.
Even though industrial hemp doesn’t produce enough THC to intoxicate consumers, all varieties of cannabis, including hemp, were swept into the category of Schedule 1 narcotics by the 1970 Federal Controlled Substances Act. The law defined cannabis as a substance with no accepted medical use, a likelihood for addiction, and a high potential for abuse.
Where to buy CBD in Alabama
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating substance found in cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
To meet federal legal criteria, CBD oil must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, Republican Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall affirmed the legality of CBD products that are sold by a licensed vendor and contain no more than 0.3% THC by weight. However, Marshall cautioned buyers to be careful when purchasing, as Alabama has yet to draft regulations for the testing and labeling of CBD products.
The Farm Bill also endowed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the ability to regulate CBD’s labeling, therapeutic claims, and presence in foods or drinks. Despite the Farm Bill’s passage, the FDA has issued a directive that no CBD, even hemp-derived, may be added to food or beverages or marketed as a dietary supplement. As time passes, the FDA has begun re-evaluating that stance on CBD products but has yet to revise rules or specifically regulate CBD products. The FDA’s slow movement has created further confusion on the state level. The FDA has historically been strict when it comes to health claims or content that could be understood as medical advice — and makes no exception for CBD. In July 2019, the FDA sent a letter to Curaleaf warning that the CBD maker was making unproven claims about its effectiveness in treating such conditions attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and opioid withdrawal. In April 2019, the FDA also warned three other CBD makers over making unproven health claims.
There are no possession limits on CBD products in Alabama, as long as the product contains no more than 0.3% THC.