do i need a prescription for cbd oil in illinois

Is CBD Legal in Illinois? Ask an Expert

Illinois is now one of the most cannabis-friendly states in America, as the second Midwestern state to fully legalize cannabis, just behind Michigan. Recreational marijuana became legal in the Land of Lincoln at the beginning of 2020. And medical marijuana has been available to Illinois residents since 2013. Yet despite the liberal acceptance of full strength cannabis, there’s still a lot of questions about hemp-derived CBD oil. People are asking, “Is CBD legal in Illinois?”

  • 1) Illinois Hemp History
  • 2) Illinois Cannabis Laws
  • 3) CBD Laws in Illinois
  • 4) Can I Get CBD Oil in the Mail in Illinois?
  • 5) Conclusion

The 2018 Farm bill updated federal law by redefining hemp. The law also declared that hemp-derived CBD products are legal, so long as the products contained less than 0.3 percent delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

Individual states have enacted their own laws and regulations when it comes to cannabis and hemp products. This post will help you understand where Illinois stands when it comes to cannabis, CBD, and hemp-related laws. In short, we will answer the question, “Is CBD oil legal in Illinois?” Text

Illinois Hemp History

Most people don’t think of Illinois as an important state for pre-Drug War hemp cultivation. But in fact, before the Civil War, Illinois was one of the three top producing hemp states in America, along with Kentucky and Missouri. But by 1917, Illinois was only growing 100 acres of hemp, when Kentucky was growing 18,000 acres. 1

Once cannabis prohibition took effect in 1937, Illinois lost connection to its hemp legacy. In the early 21st century, after decades of the Drug War, residents of Illinois began to reclaim their cannabis freedom.

Illinois Cannabis Laws

Medicinal marijuana has been legal in Illinois since 2013, when the General Assembly passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. 2 But freedom isn’t free, and shop owners have complained about the price tag. A license to run a legal dispensary in Illinois can cost a shop well over $400,000 to go through that process.

That’s a steep hurdle, no matter your economic background. But for entrepreneurs of color looking to get into the legal marijuana business, it was nearly insurmountable. So when recreational marijuana began gaining momentum a few years later, so too did the notion of granting an easier path into the business to Black and minority businesspeople.

In May 2019, the Illinois General Assembly passed an act that legalized recreational cannabis effective January 2020. The bill was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on June 25, 2019. The law states that marijuana sale and usage is legal in the state for those who are over 21 years old. 3

The law does set limitations on possession. Currently, the possessor may have up to one ounce of cannabis plant materials. “Adults can have cannabis edibles totaling no more than 500mg of THC and up to five grams of cannabis concentrate products. Any non-Illinois residents will be able to purchase half of those amounts,” according to Horwitz, Horwitz and Associates. 4

That means that tourists visiting Illinois are able to legally purchase a half-ounce of weed and a handful of gummies, as an example, without fear of prosecution. However, crossing state lines with those purchases can be problematic legally, depending on the laws of the states that you enter.

Anecdotal evidence tells us that “weed tourism” is definitely popular in Illinois. Many people have no qualms about taking their “souvenirs” across state lines into places where legal pot is not available. It goes without saying that legal Illinois dispensaries are within driving distance of many places were marijuana is not yet legal.

In the first week of legalized marijuana sales, $11 million worth of cannabis were sold by the state’s 37 legal dispensaries, according to a CNN study. The dispensaries saw over 271,000 sales in that week. Overwhelming demand forced some dispensaries to temporarily shutter in order to restock. 5

A portion of the sales goes into a community reinvestment fund.”The successful launch of this new industry is a historic development for our state that will benefit the very communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the failed War on Drugs,” said Toi Hutchinson, senior advisor to Gov. Pritzker. 6

On New Year’s Eve 2019, the day before the law was set to enter effect, Pritzker pardoned more than 11,000 people with low-level marijuana convictions. 7 That’s the right thing to do. Cornbread Hemp celebrates when prisoners of the Drug War are finally released. That’s why we have partnered with the Last Prisoner Project, to which customers can donate at checkout.

There is a graduated tax system in place for marijuana products sold in Illinois. It breaks down like this:

  • Marijuana and cannabis-infused products with less than 35 percent THC are taxed at 10 percent of the purchase price.
  • Cannabis-infused products with over 35 percent THC are taxed at 20 percent of the purchase price.
  • Marijuana with more than 35 percent THC is taxed at 25 percent of the purchase price.
  • Medical marijuana is not taxed. 8

CBD Laws in Illinois

After decades of Drug War prohibition, the people of Illinois were eager to get back to their hemp roots. Once the Farm Bill of 2104 established hemp-growing pilot programs, the wheels started turning.

In August 2018, Illinois passed the Industrial Hemp Act, which lifted restrictions on industrial hemp and allowed cultivation for commercial purposes. Up until this act was passed, the only people who were able to procure CBD oil were those enrolled in the state medical marijuana program. The 2018 Farm Bill passed a few months later to fully legalize hemp nationally.

In early 2019, Illinois Department of Agriculture adopted temporary rules under the Industrial Hemp Act that made CBD oil available to anyone over the age of 21. Under these rules, the state’s definition of industrial hemp remained consistent with the federal government’s limit of 0.3 percent THC. 9

Hemp crops are randomly tested to make sure that the producers are abiding by the guidelines. Labeling requirements per the law include publication of independent lab tests that show the percentage of THC in manufacturers’ CBD oil products. 10

There are no defined possession limits in place for CBD oil in Illinois. Unlike marijuana, which must be sold at dispensaries, CBD oil is more readily available and can be purchased from retail stores, head shops, pharmacies, and online. Brick-and-mortar retailers are not required by law to test their wares, so it’s up to the consumer to do their own research.

Illinois’s laws remain consistent with the FDA recommendations when it comes to CBD in food and beverages. The Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act prohibits adding even approved drugs to human or animal food in interstate commerce.

Aggressive. Experienced.

Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

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What Is the Legal Status of CBD Oil in Illinois?

by: Andrew Weisberg

CBD oil, which is short for cannabidiol oil, is a cannabinoid extract that has many of the health benefits of medical marijuana (for example, pain relief and anxiety management), but does not have psychoactive effects.

The legality of CBD oil is complex and often murky. This leaves many Chicagoans concerned about its legal status, but more importantly contributes to unregulated production of CBD oil that may be unsafe for consumption.

Fortunately, a new bill being introduced into Illinois state legislature will fully legalize CBD oil, and better regulate its production.

What Is CBD Oil?

Marijuana contains thousands of bioactive compounds collectively known as cannabinoids. Two of the most best-known cannabinoids are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).

While THC has euphoric effects and gets users “high,” CBD has no psychoactive effects.

However, CBD has a variety of medicinal effects, and may in fact be responsible for many of marijuana’s health benefits. Clinical studies have shown that CBD can be used to treat a variety of chronic and inflammatory diseases, including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s
  • Epilepsy
  • Generalized anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Mood and substance abuse disorders
  • Cancer

Clearly, CBD oil has enormous therapeutic value. Moreover, because it is not psychoactive, it has very little – if any – potential for abuse. However, its legality remains controversial and unclear for a number of reasons that we’ll jump into next.

The Difference Between CBD from Hemp and Marijuana

One very important distinction in CBD legality is whether the CBD oil was derived from hemp or marijuana. Marijuana and hemp are both members of the cannabis family and share many similarities, but have one crucial difference: marijuana produces up to 30% THC by weight, while hemp produces a maximum of 0.3% – not nearly enough to get you high.

Because hemp does not have psychoactive effects, the law has no problems with it. Hemp-derived CBD is therefore legal federally and in all 50 states. Hemp is sometimes confused with marijuana plant, so there is still a societal stigma against hemp products, but from a legal standpoint, they are completely legal.

Contrastingly, marijuana-derived CBD products have very murky legality. Marijuana-derived CBD oil is considered a byproduct of marijuana – even if it does not contain THC. The legality of marijuana-derived CBD oil is therefore variable between states.

CBD Oil in Illinois – Is It a Crime?

You may have noticed that a variety of retailers offer now CBD oil for sale over-the-counter in Chicago. Vape shops and head shops in particular offer CBD oil without a prescription or so-called “green card” for medical marijuana.

The difference between CBD oil sold at vape shops versus licensed dispensaries is that all CBD oil sold at vape shops is derived from hemp, while CBD oil sold at dispensaries is derived from marijuana. Even though the active ingredient is the same, the legality is very different, which adds a layer of confusion and just plain absurdity to the legality of CBD oil.

If you are considering giving CBD oil a try, you can be assured that CBD oil offered for sale over-the-counter by local retailers is legal, and that possession of these products will not get you in trouble. However, because these products fall outside the bounds of the Illinois medical marijuana program, they are currently not regulated, so consumers don’t necessarily know

what they’re getting.

Unregulated CBD Oil in Illinois

The danger of CBD oil marketed to the public is that there is currently no testing or quality control. This means that what you’re buying may not actually contain CBD, and potentially that you could be ingesting dangerous additives or contaminants.

A 2016 study in the Journal of Regulatory Science ran quality control tests on 23 products labeled as “hemp oil or cannabinoid” purchased on the internet. The study found that 18 of these compounds tested positive for at least one CBD compound, but that three contained less than 0.01% CBD, and four products labeled as CBD contained no CBD.

Some retailers have more scruples than others. Reputable Chicago retailers may opt to send their products out for testing before offering them for sale to the public. If you’re considering CBD oil, this is a good question to ask.

However, regulation and safety standards should not be optional – and the new legislation brings us one step closer to regulated production of CBD oil.

Understanding Senate Bill 2298

The Industrial Hemp Act, introduced to the Illinois state legislature as Senate bill 2298, would legalize and regulate industrial production of all hemp products, including CBD oil. In order to produce hemp products, growers will need to be licensed by the USDA.

Although the bill does not have a specific provision for CBD oil, it will ensure that hemp products produced in the state of Illinois are produced safely and without contaminants. It also paves the way for future legislation to specifically regulate CBD oil.

In the meantime, if you find yourself facing charges related to CBD oil, the best way to protect yourself is to work with a knowledgeable Chicago drug crimes attorney who understands the nuances off this complex area of the law.

About the Author:

Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.