Yes, most forms of cannabis are legal in Nevada, including hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) may be manufactured and sold if it complies with federal law that defines hemp, and with state law governing licensing and production.
Nevada legalized medical marijuana in 2000 with the Nevada Medical Marijuana Act, and in 2016 voters passed the Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana, or Question 2, ushering in the era of legal adult-use marijuana.
In June 2019, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak approved SB 209, which requires the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to develop and impose regulations on testing and labeling hemp products. The bill also restricts products containing hemp-derived CBD intended for human consumption unless they comply with the protocols and procedures regarding testing and labeling.
CBD oil is legal in Nevada if it doesn't cross into questionable territory. A recent presentation by the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) stated “selling CBD oil that has not been combined with other food appears to be acceptable” as long as there are no medical claims associated with the product.
What is CBD?
CBD is the second-most-prominent cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant after THC. Unlike THC, CBD is non-intoxicating and produces no high. The cannabinoid also shows potential as a therapeutic treatment, thanks to its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, and seizure suppressing properties.
Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
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.
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 0.3%.
Hemp-derived CBD was thus removed from its Schedule 1 designation, but CBD derived from the federally illegal marijuana plant is still considered federally illegal, too. Hemp is considered an agricultural commodity, but must be produced and sold under specific federal regulations, which were not finalized when hemp was legalized.
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, not 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.
Hemp production and sale, including its cannabinoids and CBD specifically, remain tightly regulated federally. The Farm Bill provides that individual states may also regulate and even prohibit CBD cultivation and commerce. States may attempt to regulate CBD in food, beverage, dietary supplements, and cosmetic products independently of the FDA's rules.
Nevada CBD laws
Nevada is developing regulations to comply with the 2018 Farm Bill. As the state works on new regulations to submit to the USDA, the industrial hemp program in Nevada will be “business as usual,” according to the agriculture department, with the state continuing to enforce current regulations and process registration for growers and handlers.
Licensing requirements for CBD
Licensing for hemp growers, producers, and handlers is managed by the NDA. Growers cannot be convicted of a drug-related felony within five years of the application date. If a grower meets all of the necessary application requirements, they are issued a license, which remains valid through the calendar year ending December 31. Once approved, growers must submit to a preliminary inspection of the site where hemp is being grown in the area specified in the application and a compliance inspection to analyze the crop for THC concentration within 15 days of harvest.
The current application fee for growers is a nonrefundable $500 plus $5 per acre for outdoor operations, or $0.33 per 1,000 square feet of indoor operations. Payments are required when the NDA approves the application.
All industrial hemp must be tested to ensure THC content is less than 0.3%. If the crop tests between 0.4% and 1% THC, the grower has the option to retest. Anything that tests higher than 1% THC is considered marijuana. Invoices for all testing costs are sent from the state to the grower, including time for inspection, mileage and sample analysis. Following testing and any applicable retesting, crops found to contain a THC concentration greater than 0.3% will be considered illegal marijuana and will be destroyed by the state.
Although the state has established labeling requirements for marijuana products, there are no established requirements for hemp-derived products, including CBD oil. According to the FDA, CBD oil may not be used as an ingredient in food, beverages, or dietary supplements. Labels also may not make any nutritional or therapeutic claims.
Nevada CBD possession limits
Currently, there are no clear possession limits for CBD oil or other hemp-derived CBD products.
Where to buy CBD in Nevada
CBD oil and other hemp-derived CBD products are available in a variety of retail stores and online, as well as through delivery services. The manufacturing and sale of CBD remain largely unregulated, so it's important to research manufacturers and sellers to ensure the CBD products are from a reputable source.
How to read CBD labels and packaging
Because CBD legality is still a gray area, there are no clear regulations around the production, sale, and labeling of CBD products, including CBD oil. However, most reputable CBD producers will typically include the following information on their CBD product labels:
- Amount of active CBD per serving.
- Supplement Fact panel, including other ingredients.
- Net weight or volume.
- Manufacturer or distributor name.
- Suggested use.
- Full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolate.
- Batch or date code.