Is CBD legal in Arizona?

If you’re wondering whether CBD is legal in Arizona, the answer is yes – to an extent.

As the potential medicinal advantages of CBD become increasingly well known, demand for the hemp-based product has risen, leaving people wondering where and how they can get it and how much of it they are legally allowed to have. Arizonans are no exception. 

Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is a compound derived from the cannabis plant. While many associate it with the marijuana plant, it is more commonly found in and harvested from another variant of the cannabis plant called hemp.

In contrast to tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC as it is often referred to, the primary chemical compound behind the psychological effects of marijuana, CBD will not get you high. 

It is, however, sought after due to its reputation to function as natural medicine. The remedial benefits of CBD are known to include pain relief and anti-inflammation. It has also been used for therapeutic purposes, such as assisting with anxiety, stress reduction, and natural sleep aid. 

A Brief History of Hemp – Controlling Cannabis 

CBD is most commonly produced by extracting it from hemp, which contains trace amounts of THC. 

Although the hemp plant is different from the marijuana plant, the fact that it’s a type of cannabis plant that possesses THC led to its original labeling as a Schedule 1 substance per the Controlled Substances Act – a federal regulation enacted in 1970. 

Because both hemp and marijuana fell under the cannabis category, the plant and its products, or derivatives, were classified at the same level. This rendered CBD an illegal substance under the premise that cannabis and its properties potentially held cause for abuse and addiction. 

Redefining Hemp and CBD 

Nearly 50 years later, the 2018 Farm Bill, more formally referred to as The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, rescheduled CBD by redefining hemp in written law. 

The separation from marijuana allowed hemp to be recognized as the part of the cannabis plant – yet legal because its extracts or cannabinoids possess a THC concentration of 0.3 percent or less.

The bill also required licensing for agricultural hemp industries in accordance with individual statutory regulations. 

This change removed CBD from the schedule; it is no longer considered a Schedule 1 substance under federal law, provided the cultivation and concentration criteria are met. 

Arizona, Agriculture, and Legislative Acts

In May of 2018, following the Farm Bill, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed SB 1098, a legislative act that established the Arizona Department of Agriculture program.

The program allowed for the cultivation and production of hemp, provided licensing rules and regulations and deemed hemp an agricultural product in Arizona.  

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, also known as Proposition 203, legalized medical marijuana and hemp products throughout the state, except for educational institutions. The act passed in 2010 after cannabis was attributed to seizure reduction. 

This led Arizona to become one of the first states to legalize CBD entirely and allowed for the purchase of CBD without a prescription, provided the product contains less than 0.3 percent of THC. 

Arizona Legalizes Recreational Marijuana 

In 2020 the Smart and Safe Act was voted upon and passed, legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over and for medical patients of any age who qualify for its use. 

Adults may purchase up to an ounce of cannabis with 5 grams permitted to be in the form of concentrate, while patients are allowed to purchase up to 2.5 ounces over 14 days. 

Similarly, Arizona law dictates that adults over the age of 21 grow up to six cannabis plants. That allows for six plants per adult per household. Qualifying patients may grow up to 12 plants. 

Possessing more than is legally allowed can result in drug treatment, fines, probation, or imprisonment. 

The state of Arizona does not allow marijuana consumption in public or when in or operating a vehicle. Neither drivers nor passengers are permitted to be under the influence of marijuana. 

CBD Production, Purchase, and Possession in Arizona 

Today, a wide selection of CBD products are being made and sold in the United States and are available for purchase both online and in-store throughout Arizona. 

Age Restrictions 

Unlike recreational marijuana, there are no restrictions on age when purchasing CBD in Arizona. Still, smoke shops, dispensaries, and liquor stores that sell CBD products will have to continue to enforce age regulations upon entrance and purchase, even for CBD. 

Vaping CBD 

The remaining question on CBD laws in Arizona concerns vaping. The Arizona government is still discussing vaping CBD, and there is yet to be a definitive, legal answer on consuming CBD this way. 

Until a concrete ruling has been made, purchasing and using other forms of CBD is an excellent way to ensure you are following the law. 

The CBD Exception

With the incorporation of hemp into Arizona’s agricultural industry and the passing of Proposition 203, you can legally produce, purchase, and possess CBD products as long as they contain less than 0.3 percent of THC. 

It may seem counterproductive to limit CBD in the wake of legalized marijuana and because Arizona has no absolute limit on CBD possession amounts. So why the 0.3 percent cap? 

CBD is an alternative to marijuana and often used for holistic and natural medicinal purposes. Because this substance is put into products designed and intended for homeopathic use, limiting CBD is important for differentiating from marijuana and THC-oriented products. 

Both federal and state governments want to ensure that hemp commerce is regulated so that products are safe and legal for CBD consumers. 

To continue Arizona’s celebration of CBD, keep the law in mind. The next time you pursue the internet for cannabidiol products, a good rule of thumb might be: 0.3 THC is the CBD for me. 


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Jack Studebaker

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