• Randy Shaffer

How To Contact Your Local Representatives About the CBD Ban


Many Ohioans have recently expressed grave concern over the Ohio Board of Pharmacy's recent ruling that CBD is illegal unless obtained in a medical marijuana dispensary, and they have been seeking a way to rectify the regulation. We at Ohio Marijuana Card fully understand and share this frustration. Though our certified doctors can recommend medical marijuana to qualifying patients, not every patient qualifies for medical marijuana in Ohio. We also understand that many patients simply want CBD, a compound that, up until this week, was perfectly legal to buy in stores. Even some coffee shops in Cleveland were offering CBD shots in their coffee!


This new rule has a lot of people scratching their heads, from store owners who are no longer sure the CBD they have on their shelves will get them in hot water with authorities to patients who use CBD regularly to calm their anxiety, help them sleep better at night or ease their emotional or physical pain. Naturally, a lot of our readers have expressed anger and frustration over this new regulation.


The Ruling Against CBD

Ohio has taken measures to ban CBD sales throughout the entire state, effective immediately. They view all forms of CBD, either from traditional cannabis or industrial hemp, as illegal under federal law, and therefore only legal through Ohio's House Bill 523, which authorizes marijuana use to qualifying patients (and qualifying patients only). Even though CBD does not contain any of the psychoactive components found in marijuana, it is still being treated as a deadly and dangerous drug.







Below is the full text of the Ohio Board of Pharmacy's CBD FAQ:


1. Is CBD (cannabidiol) oil legal under Ohio law?

  • CBD is not lawful outside the confines of House Bill 523 and the rules promulgated under the Bill. CBD is considered marijuana under Ohio law. This means that it can be only be sold legally if it is “cultivated, processed, dispensed, tested, possessed, or used for a medical purpose” under the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, as per Section 3796.01(A)(2) of the Ohio Revised Code. Section 3719.01 of the Ohio Revised Code defines marijuana as: “all parts of a plant of the genus cannabis, whether growing or not; the seeds of a plant of that type; the resin extracted from a part of a plant of that type; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of a plant of that type or of its seeds or resin.” CBD is a compound of marijuana and therefore considered marijuana under Ohio law.


2. Is CBD oil legal under federal law?

  • No. CBD is considered marijuana under federal law. Section 21 U.S.C. 812 of the Controlled Substances Act establishes marijuana as a Schedule I substance. The DEA cites scientific literature when saying that cannabinoids such as CBD are, “found in the parts of the cannabis plant that fall within the CSA (Controlled Substances Act) definition of marijuana.” Therefore, CBD oil is considered marijuana and a Schedule I substance under federal law.


3. Is CBD extracted from hemp legal under Ohio law?

  • CBD extracted from hemp is not lawful outside the confines of House Bill 523 and the rules promulgated under the Bill. Ohio law does not make a distinction between CBD extracted from hemp and CBD extracted from marijuana. Section 3719.01 of the Ohio Revised Code defines marijuana as, “all parts of a plant of the genus cannabis, whether growing or not; the seeds of a plant of that type; the resin extracted from a part of a plant of that type; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of a plant of that type or of its seeds or resin.” No exception to this definition exists in Ohio law for hemp. Hemp is therefore considered marijuana under Ohio law.


4. Is CBD extracted from hemp legal under federal law? And how do I know if CBD/hemp oil has been extracted from an illegal part of the genus cannabis plant?

  • The DEA cites scientific literature in stating that: “Cannabinoids are not found in the parts of the cannabis plant that are excluded from the CSA definition of marijuana, except for trace amounts (typically, only parts per million) that may be found where small quantities of resin adhere to the surface of seeds and mature stalk. Thus, based on the scientific literature, it is not practical to produce extracts that contain more than trace amounts of cannabinoids using only the parts of the cannabis plant that are excluded from the CSA definition of marijuana, such as oil from the seeds. The industrial processes used to clean cannabis seeds and produce seed oil would likely further diminish any trace amounts of cannabinoids that end up in the finished product.


5. Can my business sell CBD oil products?

  • No. Marijuana products, including CBD (Cannabidiol) oil, can only be dispensed in a licensed Medical Marijuana Control Program dispensary. Those marijuana products will have to comply with the rules and regulations of the program. All products must have a known source, as well as known quantities of active ingredients. Testing procedures will be conducted by testing laboratories licensed by the Ohio Department of Commerce.


6. What are the consequences for selling CBD oil outside of a licensed medical marijuana dispensary?

  • Violations of Ohio Revised Code or Ohio Administrative Code can subject a licensee (person or entity) to administrative and/or criminal action.


7. Does the State of Ohio have a hemp program?

  • At this time, the State of Ohio does not have a hemp program.


8. How does the Board plan to enforce this clarification?

  • The Board’s efforts at this time are informational. If CBD continues to be illegally sold despite entities having accurate information, the Board will reassess at that time.


9. How is a DEA licensee allowed to dispense Marinol and Epidiolex (once approval is final)?

  • Marinol and Epidiolex (once approval is final) would both be considered dangerous drugs, which have received FDA approval for use as a prescription medication. “Dangerous drugs” are defined in Section 4729.01(F) of the Ohio Revised Code.


What can I do to help legalize CBD in Ohio?

Clues from other states seem to paint a positive picture for CBD in Ohio, but it will take your help to realize that future, and it will take time. Indiana, for example, had a similar ruling about CBD, but lawmakers were quick to take action and pass pro-CBD legislation.


As of this writing, the 2018 mid-term election season is just around the corner. Because of this, now may be a good time to contact your local representatives and let your frustration be known.


Finding Your Government Representatives

Firstly, you are going to need to find all of your local representatives. Each city has local government officials, and though many support marijuana legalization, many also do not. It is helpful to know which government officials are on your side with this issue, and which are not.


Even if a rep is pro-marijuana, that does not mean they know about the recent CBD ruling, and therefore they could be an even greater voice for you if you contact them and let them know how upset you are about the CBD ban. Some politicians may not support marijuana, but do support industrial hemp as a farming issue, so don't rule out contacting someone who may be anti-pot.


The Cannabis Voter Project has compiled a comprehensive website that lets voters know exactly where their politicians stand on the issue of marijuana. This resource would be a good starting point for seeing where your locals reps stand. Click here to give that a look.


There is also this handy utility to search for your reps. This website combines all sections of government and allows you to search each branch individually.


Once you have your reps in hand, it's time to reach out!


Calling Your Representative

If you are feeling ambitious, you can call your representative. Sometimes, you will get to speak with a secretary, intern or office manager. Sometimes, if you are really lucky, you will even get through to your local representative. Usually, however, you will be sent to voicemail. State your name, your address and the specific issue to which you are calling.


Always be mindful that your reps are (generally) decent people dedicated to serving the people, and they are very busy individuals. As such, be respectful and courteous, even if you vehemently disagree with their political stance. State why you feel CBD should be legal in Ohio. You may also point to other states who have made similar measures, like Indiana. Or tell a story about how CBD has helped you with your life, and why you feel Ohioans deserve pro-CBD legislation.


You can also use this website to call your representatives quickly and easily, or call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 if you already know your representative's name.


Emailing Your Representative

If email is your preferred method of communication, by all means, send your representatives an email! Once again, always try and be respectful, even if the political stance of the person you are emailing is not the same as your position. Express why you feel the way you do. Tell a story, a testimonial. Talk about why you feel Ohioans deserve CBD legality.


And remember, a person can explain his/her position with more conviction and understanding when they are not shouting or ALL CAPSING their views, or looking down on others for their opposing views. No one likes to be called stupid or dumb, so refrain from language that would disqualify your passion for the position. Clearly state your name, address and a positive statement of support for pro-CBD or pro-legalization measures. A little kindness goes a long way!


Sending a Letter To Your Representative

You may also draft a formal letter and send it off to your representative. This method, quite naturally, is very slow moving as each piece of mail must be examined to prevent harm. This method can often count more to a representative because of the extra time and effort that goes into a formal letter.


Once again, draft your response with compassion rather than anger, and appeal to a politician's better instincts (survival in an election season). Tell a story about someone you know who has been positively effected by CBD use. State why you feel pro-CBD legislation should be passed immediately.


Can I Really Make A Difference?

Yes! Absolutely, you can! The most difficult political battles throughout history were each hard fought with the blood, sweat, tears and undying passion of this country's great citizens, so speak out and let your voice be heard! The more people who reach out to their local politicians, the higher probability a politician will make pro-CBD legislation part of their political platform.


As always, Ohio Marijuana Card will do our best to keep our readers, customers and patients well informed on all things THC, CBD and medical marijuana. If you have one of the 21 medical conditions that qualifies you for a medical marijuana card in Ohio, please contact us today 1-866-457-5559, or visit us online at ohiomarijuanacard.com and schedule an appointment.