Navigating Hemp-Derived CBD Laws by Zoe Rose Lambert

Hemp-derived CBD has recently gained a lot of attention, but there’s still a lingering cloud of uncertainty about the legal status of CBD products (tincture, topicals, etc). Hemp-derived CBD products can be shipped across state lines, to all 50 states and many countries. Businesses are having a hard time finding credit card processors that will work with them, because they are deemed high-risk. This has not stopped dozens of CBD companies popping up all over the country. A quick online search will offer many conflicting opinions on whether hemp extracts are legal to purchase in Arizona, in retail stores or online. This article is meant to be a brief overview on the legal status of CBD, and current legislation surrounding it.

An AZ state appeals court recently ruled that cannabis concentrates are not protected under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. This means that medical dispensaries throughout the state are no longer allowed to sell concentrated cannabis products, which makes up roughly 40% of medical cannabis market. The ruling makes no mention of hemp or CBD directly, but focuses entirely on cannabis extracts in concentrated forms (shatters, vapes, hashish, and edibles). While this ruling is already being challenged, it has filled the community with confusion about what this means for the future of medical cannabis and for CBD.

A Future for Hemp
In regards to hemp, Governor Doug Ducey very recently signed a law allowing a hemp pilot program to launch in Arizona in 2019. Soon hemp will be legal to grow and process into CBD extracts. In addition to CBD, hemp can be made into textiles, building materials, food products, plastic replacements, and much more! The FDA also very recently approved a CBD-based pharmaceutical drug called Epidiolex, which helps treat rare forms of epilepsy. The hemp-CBD industry is unsure of what this will mean in the long run, but CBD may now be recognized as having medical value.

On the federal level, hemp is receiving overwhelming bipartisan support. Hemp legalization is a part of the 2018 farm bill, which is currently undergoing reconciliation between the house and senate. Hopefully, within the next few months we will see sweeping progress and the start of a hemp boom in the United States. This will open the doors for more than just the CBD industry, many can benefit from the many uses of hemp!

This is by no means legal advice, and it’s always a good idea to do your own research before you buy CBD products. If you want to stay up to-date with the latest hemp legislation, visit

Zoe Rose Lambert is a Tucson native who has been working in the health and wellness industry for almost a decade. In 2017 she started Sonoran Apothecary, a website dedicated to teaching others about the hemp­derived CBD industry. She currently makes CBD ­infused topicals which are available at the Co-op, and teaches workshops about the benefits of CBD. Zoe will be teaching CBD & All Levels Yoga classes as well as CBD Edibles classes in September.