In response to questions regarding the legality of Cannabidiol (CBD) oil products, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy (Board) announced that only licensed and operating Medical Marijuana Control Program dispensaries may sell CBD oil products. In June, the Board announced the award of 56 provisional medical marijuana dispensary licenses. All of those provisional licensees will have six months to comply with operational requirements in order to obtain a certification of operation (COO). Until those licensed facilities receive a COO and are operational, no one, including Board licensees, may sell CBD oil or other marijuana related products. H.B. 523, which created the state’s medical marijuana program, did not change the legal definition of marijuana. The Board has determined that CBD oil is covered by that definition. Thus, CBD oil remains illegal outside of the medical marijuana program.

In making this announcement, the Board was not clear on how it will enforce the clarification. At the time of the announcement, many places in Ohio were stocking and selling CBD oil products. The Board stated it will reassess enforcement measures if entities continue selling CBD oil products in violation of Ohio law. A spokesperson for the Board did say that if pharmacies and pharmacists continue to sell CBD oil products, the Board may take administrative or criminal action. The spokesperson also stated that other entities may be referred to law enforcement. This would include commercial retailers, such as convenience and wellness stores where CBD oil products have been sold under the guise the 2014 Farm Bill, which included provisions allowing for the legal production of hemp in the U.S. This opened a gray area for hemp-derived products like CBD. Some of these commercial retailers have openly defied the new clarification. At the time of the announcement, the Board was drafting a field guide for local law enforcement.

Ohio’s medical marijuana law allows individuals with one of 21 medical conditions to buy and use marijuana and marijuana products, such as CBD oil, if recommended by a certified Ohio physician. The program was supposed to be fully operational by September 8, but that deadline has been pushed back. Medical marijuana may not be available until 2019.

To view the Board’s announcement regarding CBD Oil, follow this link here: https://www.pharmacy.ohio.gov/Documents/Pubs/Special/MedicalMarijuanaControlProgram/Clarification%20on%20CBD%20Oil.pdf.