Now that CBD is legal in all 50 states, shipping CBD products is the next frontier in fulfillment. Here's your guide to safely ship CBD. Need to send CBD products to your customers? Make sure you do it the right way. Follow this guide on the legalities of shipping and mailing CBD. Discover where you can legally ship CBD oil in the states and internationally with our shipping CBD oil guide that includes regulations and tips.
Your Guide to Shipping CBD Products
Cannabis has gone mainstream, and business is, to put it bluntly, booming. As of this writing, marijuana products are fully legal in 16 U.S. states, Washington D.C., Guam, and Canada. Cannabis is legal for medical use and/or decriminalized in another 24 states. Marijuana remains illegal in only six U.S. states.
Cannabidiol or CBD, which is derived from the cannabis plant, is legal at the federal level. CBD products that comply with federal regulations can be sold in the vast majority of U.S. states. The logistics of eCommerce fulfillment for CBD oil and other CBD products continue to get easier. Now is a great time to grow a CBD business.
Shipping CBD lets you reach consumers who live in states where CBD products are hard to find in stores. If you run an eCommerce business that sells CBD oil or other CBD products, your growth prospects are good. The industry is predicted to hit $22 billion in sales by 2022.
However, a few states continue to prohibit CBD sales, and a patchwork of other regulations and carrier restrictions across the US can make shipping CBD a challenge. For these reasons, as of this writing, Red Stag Fulfillment doesn’t accept CBD products, but we are constantly monitoring the legal landscape and always evaluating whether to serve this growing and exciting industry. Here is a summary of what we’ve learned so far.
What Is CBD?
CBD is present in both marijuana plants and hemp plants. Unlike THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD doesn’t have psychoactive properties. THC is the part of the marijuana plant that causes intoxication.
According to its supporters, CBD has a long list of health benefits, including pain relief, reduced anxiety, and even curing acne. However, because there were strict federal limits on the use of marijuana and hemp plants for scientific study until a few years ago, the evidence for uses of CBD is still coming in. However, early studies have shown that it can help combat insomnia and reduce inflammation in a topical ointment.
The most successful pharmaceutical application of CBD is for the treatment of severe forms of childhood epilepsy. A cannabidiol-based anti-seizure medicine is the first cannabis medication to get FDA approval.
Can You Mail CBD Oil?
CBD oil has a broad range of applications beyond merely medicinal. Manufacturers are producing everything from CBD-infused soda to CBD massage oil to CBD gummy bears.
Here’s what you need to know to make sure that your CBD order fulfillment complies with federal law.
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018
Under the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, legal CBD is defined as cannabidiol derived from strains of hemp that have less than 0.3% THC.
HEMP.—The term ‘‘hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds there- of and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
– Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, Sec. 297A (1), as amended by the Hemp Farming Act of 2018
CBD can be extracted from plants that contain higher levels of THC. However, products using CBD made from marijuana rather than hemp can only be legally sold in some places. In states where medical or recreational cannabis is legal, CBD products are less regulated. If you are interested in shipping CBD products across state lines, you’ll need to use only CBD refined from low-THC hemp.
One exception to the rule against shipping cannabis that contains significant levels of THC is farm feed made from the stalks or other parts of the plant. So, federal law allows cows to get high, just not humans.
Which Carriers Are Best for Shipping CBD?
In the states where marijuana is legal, you can sell a wide variety of CBD products in brick-and-mortar retail settings and cannabis delivery businesses deliver both CBD and THC products locally. This includes products that contain THC as well as CBD. However, if you are selling CBD online and shipping via carriers, you need to comply with carrier requirements and federal rules. You can’t mail a marijuana-derived product from Boulder to Denver, even though cannabis is legal throughout Colorado. You definitely can’t ship that product from Boulder to Boston. Sending CBD via one of the major carriers is highly regulated and even intrastate shipments are subject to carrier rules.
USPS CBD Mailing
In June 2019, USPS issued a revision to its Publication 52 to provide guidance on shipping CBD products through the mail. Federal regulations to implement the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 were released in March 2021, so look for a possible update to USPS policies to incorporate the federal rules.
For now, the USPS requires eCommerce businesses shipping CBD to follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws, including but not limited to the THC caps and the licensed grower requirements. Your business must keep paperwork showing this compliance. Contrary to earlier guidance, you don’t have to include a statement of compliance inside each package you ship.
UPS and Shipping CBD
UPS guidelines clearly state that the carrier will not ship any marijuana products or even pick up CBD products from a business that sells marijuana products. However, UPS does ship CBD and other hemp products, as long as you comply with federal law. If you send any other marijuana products via UPS, the carrier may throw out your shipment.
If you run a business that sells marijuana products as well as federally-sanctioned CBD items, you can still ship your CBD products via UPS. Simply use a third-party logistics company. That way, UPS will pick up from the warehouse, rather than your business location.
FedEx CBD Restrictions
FedEx is the only major carrier that still won’t ship CBD products and includes CBD on its list of prohibited items. However, it makes two exceptions: farm feed that contains cannabis plant materials and synthetic cannabinoids.
Rules for Shipping CBD Across State Lines
In the past, shipping CBD across state lines, especially when shipments traveled through states where it’s not legal, was hazardous. The Canna Law blog reported on a shipment of industrial hemp that was seized in Idaho in 2019. The shipment originated in Oregon, where cannabis is legal, it met the federal definition of legal industrial hemp, and was on its way to a Colorado company that makes CBD products. Because Idaho had not legalized cannabis (and still hasn’t), state authorities refused to let the shipment pass.
That incident happened before the USDA issued federal regulations to detail how to implement the law Congress passed in 2018. The new rules, which became official on March 22, 2021, should make the safe passage of 0.3% CBD products in interstate commerce easier.
Tips for ECommerce Businesses to Ship CBD Products
Lawmakers have repeatedly introduced bills to make cannabis legal at the federal level. However, it may take a while before cannabis legalization goes national. Until then, it can be tricky to figure out how to stay on the right side of the laws around shipping CBD.
Here are some things you can do to protect your business while participating in the booming market for CBD products:
- Know your suppliers. Make sure your suppliers have all relevant licenses for industrial hemp production. Obtain copies of their certifications and keep them in your files.
- Get your CBD products tested. Periodic lab tests will ensure that the THC level in your CBD products is within legal limits.
- If you’re considering selling food, drink, or supplements containing CBD, pay special attention to the FDA’s rules and regulations.
Arm yourself with knowledge about cannabis law as it evolves. Don’t let worries about shipping CBD slow the growth of your business.
More about shipping regulated items:
The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice or professional opinions. If you are considering manufacturing, buying, shipping, storing, or selling CBD products, you should not rely on the above information, but instead must make your own judgments regarding the legality of your proposed actions. Red Stag Fulfillment, LLC disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this article. Contact a reputable attorney to obtain legal advice.
Shipping CBD Oil With USPS: Is CBD Shipping Legal?
The CBD industry is an industry on the rise. With increasing legalization, both local dispensaries and online sellers have been scrambling to grab a portion of the profits. In fact, Forbes anticipates that the CBD market could reach $20 billion by 2024.
Before you jump on the bandwagon of selling CBD online, you need to thoroughly understand the legalities and safety protocol behind selling and shipping CBD.
In this guide, we’ll cover how to handle shipping CBD oil in a way that’s safe and legal for you and your customers.
Note: This article is solely for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice.
What is CBD?
You may have heard CBD referred to as “cannabis without THC.” The truth is that CBD (otherwise known as “Cannabidiol”) is simply one active component of cannabis.
Cannabis as a whole contains many different ingredients; Cannabidiol is one of them. CBD’s growth in popularity is a result of its ability to alleviate an array of symptoms without the psychoactive effects that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) provides.
THC is the ingredient that is still illegal in several countries and in many US states. CBD, on the other hand, simply acts as natural medicine and has been touted to ease pain, soothe anxiety, prevent epileptic seizures, and more.
Because of this, CBD is more widely accepted and legalized than its sister strain, THC. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t still closely monitored and regulated.
Is CBD shipping legal?
The short answer is that, yes, CBD is legal nationwide in the United States. But legality can differ from state to state in different ways. When it comes to selling CBD oil and products, you’ll want to check with your state to see what your state-specific laws are around CBD.
CBD, like alcohol, has certain “limits” on it in terms of how much THC can be found in the oil. For some states, the limit is zero. They only allow CBD oil sourced through industrial hemp, which doesn’t contain any THC.
In other states, you’re allowed to use marijuana-sourced CBD, but that means your legal limit of THC allowed in your product is 0.3%. Any more than that and the authorities could get involved and you could find yourself in trouble.
How can I know my supplier’s CBD is legal to ship?
Now that you understand selling CBD can be a little complicated, you’re left with an important first step. It’s time to discover if your supplier’s CBD is actually legal to ship.
There are three criteria you’ll want to look for:
1. Their CBD’s THC levels are under 0.3%
Check your supplier’s CBD levels by going to their website, reading their product info, or contacting them directly. It’s important that wherever you get the CBD from doesn’t have THC levels above the legal limit of 0.3%.
For CBD to be considered legal, the THC level has to be under 0.3%. If your supplier uses industrial hemp for their CBD, you’re safe from crossing this boundary. If they don’t, you’ll want to make sure you keep a close eye on making sure your supplier consistently hits this standard.
2. They are licensed
You also want to make sure your supplier is actually licensed to grow and produce CBD. If they’re not licensed, you’ll face the risk of your supplier getting shut down and some legal troubles of our own.
If your supplier gets shut down, it renders you helpless on revenue and order fulfillment. You will either get backed up on orders or be forced to shut your business down, at least temporarily.
If they’re not hitting the legal standards for THC and you were to get audited for any reason, you could be held accountable for selling product that’s in fact illegal, even if you didn’t know it.
If you go through a licensed supplier, this greatly decreases the risk. The government has already approved the production and facility, among other factors, so you can rest assured that the product will meet standard and the supply will be more consistent.
3. They have third-party testing
Your supplier is allowed to test in-house to make sure the CBD:THC ratio is on par. But there are also third-party options your supplier can go to for testing.
While third-party testing isn’t required, it is highly recommended to source from a supplier that goes the extra mile to get it anyway. It often helps to have an outside, unbiased party to make sure your product is meeting quality standards.
What carriers allow you to mail CBD oil?
Mailing CBD oil is a complicated issue. While it is legal, there are regulations by the state on what type of CBD oil you can sell. And shippers are releasing their own regulations for how CBD travels through their systems.
You can mail CBD oil if it is legal, sent to the places that allow it, and conforms to the regulations of the following shipping carriers:
USPS is one of the best options you can go through for shipping CBD.
To mail CBD through the appropriate USPS mail type or service, you need to have a signed self-certification statement verifying that you are selling legal CBD. This is the statement:
“I certify that all information contained in this letter and supporting documents are accurate, truthful, and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information or omits information relating to this certification may be subject to criminal and/or civil penalties, including fines and imprisonment”.
You also need to verify that your CBD supplier uses industrial hemp. They need to possess a license from the Department of Agriculture of the state from which you are shipping. Finally, you’ll want to verify that the CBD you sell is made from industrial hemp with a THC concentration of no more than 0.3%.
If you can do these things, USPS will have no issue shipping your orders for you.
The criteria for shipping CBD through UPS is a little different.
First, you must be able to state where your raw materials (hemp plants or cannabis plants) grew. You’ll have to answer for how they were processed in the manufacturing of the end-product. Lastly, you’ll need to verify who shipped the product to the supplier and how that supplier got it to the customer after the fact.
DHL eCommerce Solutions allows the shipment through its network of hemp, and hemp-based products, including CBD, as long as the shipper complies with all of the following:
- The shipment contains hemp or hemp based products that contain 0.3% or less of THC on a dry weight basis.
- The shipper complies with all applicable federal, state, and local laws.
- The shipper retains records establishing compliance with such laws, including laboratory test results, licenses, or compliance reports.
- Packaging does not contain any branding, or labeling that indicates the content of the item.
Compliance with these restrictions is the shipper’s responsibility. A shipper is not required to present documentation at the time of shipping, but such documentation, including certificates, or any other required document, may be requested at any time. DHL eCommerce Solutions reserves the right to hold shipments that are not compliant with law, or any other DHL eCommerce Solutions policy.
Generally speaking, FedEx has kept their language around CBD pretty vague, and there is a long list of products in its 2019 Service Guide that it disallows, which included hemp plants, hemp leaves, oil, seed oil, and CBD derived from hemp.
However, ShipBob had to fill out an application and was approved by FedEx to ship CBD products with under 0.3% THC in them.
3 considerations when shipping CBD
Now that you have the basics down for shipping CBD legally, there are some other things to consider to make sure you’re dotting your Is and crossing your Ts.
1. Have a lawyer run through your statements
Before you send your statements to UPS and USPS, have a lawyer run through them to make sure they’re not missing anything important or have incorrect verbiage. You don’t want to waste any time with faulty legal documents that could land you in trouble or delay retail fulfillment.
2. Double check your international shipping
If you’re going to have CBD shipped internationally, make sure you fully understand where you’re allowed to ship CBD products to legally. For example, it’s illegal to ship CBD to Russia, China, and a handful of European countries where it’s not legal to consume CBD yet.
Even if CBD is legal in a certain country, you may have trouble shipping items to that country. If you are located in the US, for example, it is a best practice to ship within the states before expanding anywhere else.
As CBD is a newer product that’s gained a lot of traction really quickly, there is still a lot of ambiguity across countries. Consult your lawyer before you ship anywhere internationally.
3. Stay up-to-date on CBD regulations
As your business grows, it’s going to be one of your top responsibilities to stay on top of CBD regulations. As the industry continues to grow and evolve, so will the rules around the products — whether that’s the shipping carriers’ rules, or state and federal laws.
Two places you can keep up-to-date on ongoing CBD trends are Hemp Industry Daily and Infinite CBD.
3 Steps to package your CBD for shipping
Once you understand how to ship CBD and hemp products and your paperwork is all in order, you must pack all products properly to ensure product integrity upon arrival.
1. Choosing the right type of packing
Choosing the best packaging for your business will be highly dependent on many factors, such as:
- The fragility of the items
- Types of packaging
Suppose you’re shipping CBD products that are not fragile, things like chapstick or CBD cream that is usually not packaged in glass. In that case, these items can be packaged more easily with envelopes or poly mailers, depending on the quantity.
You do also need to consider the climate, season, and the ‘meltability’ of your product. However, different packaging must be used when shipping CBD oils or tinctures in glass containers. Shipping fragile items can be a task, but the risks of haphazardly packing your products are far worse than the time and effort it takes to do it right.
2. How to package your CBD product
Choosing a box slightly larger than your product and filling the voided space with packing peanuts or crinkle paper can reduce the movement of the fragile contents. Wrapping the product with material can also prevent breaks, especially if there are multiple containers in a package. Marking the box as fragile is the last step after ensuring the contents are snug and secure.
3. Choose your shipping carrier
Once your CBD products are packaged properly, you must choose the best fulfillment option. Depending on the size of your business and shipments, most people just go down to the local post office or UPS store to send their product. But when you get into larger volume shipping of a product that some carriers may not take, you need to be a little more cognizant of your process.
As stated above, some carriers won’t even accept CBD products, and if you’re in a situation where you are trying to get your shipments out fast, not having a premeditated game plan here could be a significant setback to your fulfillment strategy. Many ecommerce businesses, therefore, choose to outsource their CBD fulfillment to 3PL companies like ShipBob that handle your ecommerce fulfillment for you.
Let ShipBob handle your CBD fulfillment
“We were managing shipping and logistics ourselves via USPS, but we didn’t understand just how massive and difficult fulfillment was, which prevents us from focusing on our core products. Now that we’re working with ShipBob, we can easily ship to all 50 US states with ease.”
Andrew Hardy, COO of Nature’s Ultra
As a third-party logistics (3PL) company, ShipBob stores inventory, packs each order, and ships it out for you. We negotiate rates with carriers and pass those savings along to you. ShipBob has fulfillment centers all over the United States and can ship CBD products to every single US state.
“Our fulfillment is on autopilot. ShipBob saves us so much effort, and the opportunity cost savings has been substantial. Today, our health and wellness brand sells three CBD products in the United States.”
Yannick Crespo, Co-Founder & President of Pot d’Huile
The CBD industry is exploding, and any well-built business stands a chance at having a long, prosperous future. But in order to make that happen, it’s important that you have a streamlined system for CBD fulfillment that is mindful of the laws and regulations around shipping and mailing CBD oil.
To learn more about how ShipBob can do this for your CBD company, request a pricing quote below.
CBD shipping FAQs
Generally, yes, shipping CBD products internationally is legal as long as certain requirements are met. This includes a THC content of less than 0.2% for most countries.
FedEx tends to be a little more strict when it comes to shipping CBD. According to FedEx’s shipping terms & conditions, CBD can only be shipped if it contains no THC whatsoever, which is lower than other carriers’ requirements.
Importation of CBD products to Canada is illegal according to the Canadian Government. This may change in the coming years, but for the time being, all products containing cannabis cannot be shipped to Canada.
Kristina is the Director of Marketing Communications at ShipBob, where she writes various articles, case studies, and other resources to help ecommerce brands grow their business.
Shipping CBD Oil: Where Can You Legally Ship CBD?
Discover where you can legally ship CBD oil in the states and internationally with our shipping CBD oil guide that includes regulations and tips.
- It’s legal to ship CBD oil in the mail across the United States, but Federal law specifically states that it must contain less than 0.3% THC and must be derived from hemp as opposed to cannabis
- USPS can ship CBD oil in the mail, though certain guidelines must be followed
- Connect with Easyship and save up to 91% off discounted shipping rates for your CBD parcels
Let’s be blunt, it’s now legal to ship CPD oil, largely thanks to the Hemp Farming Act, or Farm Bill of 2018! However, for many online merchants and shoppers, the laws and complexities involved in shipping CBD oil still remain a bit hazy. So here’s a quick look at just that!
Table of Contents
Is It Legal to Send CBD Oil Through the Mail?
Yes, it is legal to ship CBD oil in the mail across the United States, but Federal law specifically states that it must contain less than 0.3% THC and be derived from hemp instead of cannabis. That’s right, according to federal law, it is legal in all 50 states.
eCommerce entrepreneurs involved in shipping CBD oils should keep these regulations closely in mind to ensure their farm and production operating are 100% compliant and legal.
Can USPS Send CBD Oil in the Mail?
Yes, USPS can ship CBD oil in the mail, though certain guidelines must be followed.
In March 2019, USPS issued new guidelines for sending hemp-derived CBD products through the mail, requiring that anyone looking to ship CBD products like cannabidiol oil provide the following documentation:
- A signed self-certification statement, subject to the False Statements Act. Statements must be printed on the mailer’s own letterhead, must be signed by the mailer, and must include the text “I certify that all information furnished in this letter and supporting documents are accurate, truthful, and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information or omits information relating to this certification may be subject to criminal and/or civil penalties, including fines or imprisonment.”
- The industrial hemp producer possesses a license issued by the Department of Agriculture, for the state where the post office/acceptance unit is located, which includes documentation identifying the producer by name and showing the mailer is authorized by the registered producer to market products manufactured by that producer.
- Industrial hemp, or products produced from industrial hemp, contains a delta-9 THC concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.
The advisory also states that the CBD oil should be mailed with a self-signed certification statement, documentation showing your legal authorization to ship CBD products, and a laboratory report regarding the THC concentration of the CBD oil.
Providing this documentation and following the guidelines issued by USPS can help to ensure that your product is delivered safely without any legal complications.
Can UPS Ship CBD Oil?
Yes, private couriers such as UPS, FedEx and DHL can also ship CBD oil to customers across the United States. Online merchants involved in shipping cannabidiol oil still must abide by Federal regulations and ensure their product is derived from hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC.
Federal regulations must be closely followed when shipping CBD oil in the United States
How to Ship CBD Oil
When shipping CBD oil, be sure to take the following steps:
- Ensure that the cannabidiol oil conforms to Federal regulations.
- Whether shipping with USPS or a private courier, err on the side of caution and abide by USPS’ guidelines on shipping CBD oil by providing the documentation issued in their March 2019 advisory.
- Choose shipping boxes with the correct dimensions and place the CBD oils inside, protecting them with packing peanuts, bubble wrap, or airbags. Secure the boxes with packing tape.
- Schedule a pickup from the courier of your choice.
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Shipping CBD Oil Overseas
While it’s legal to send CBD oil throughout the United States, shipping cannabidiol oil internationally runs into numerous complications depending on the regulations currently on the books in specific countries.
As of 2019, CBD products are legal in the following countries, typically as long as they’re extracted from industrial hemp and generally contain less than 0.2 percent THC:
- United Kingdom
- South Korea
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong (products MUST contain 0% THC)
- Republic of Slovenia
- South Africa
- Virgin Islands
- New Zealand
CBD products are banned in the following countries:
- United Arab Emirates
Australia is a unique case due to its changing laws. Though the Australian government legalized cannabis for medical reasons in 2016 and reclassified CBD from a prohibited drug to being legal by prescription only, CBD is still highly regulated and available to only a limited number of people by medical prescription without exception.
Ultimately, before shipping cannabidiol oil overseas, thoroughly research the exact laws governing the importation of CBD products into the country you’re looking to ship to in order to avoid any unwelcome surprises!
Shipping CBD Oil: Know the Laws and Shipping Solutions
CBD oil has become increasingly popular and accepted in the mainstream in recent years, but laws and regulations must be followed. By having a better understanding of the laws that govern cannabidiol oil both in the U.S. and abroad, online merchants can avoid any regulatory issues and grow their businesses in a safe, legal way.
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Shipping CBD FAQ
Can I ship medical cannabis oil from the US to India?
Yes, you can ship medical cannabis oil from the US to India as long as there is no THC.
Is CBD oil legal to ship interstate?
Yes, it’s legal to ship CBD oil interstate. As always, research if there are any extra steps you need to take before shipping CBD oil.
Is it legal to mail CBD oil within California?
Yes, both cannabis is 100% legal in California and is legal to ship within California.