is cbd legal in ny

Is CBD Legal In NY? Ask an Expert


In New York, just about anything goes. When New York City draws a line in the sand, it gets attention. And that’s what happened a few years ago with the New York CBD market. When hemp-derived cannabidiol CBD was made legal under the Farm Bills of 2014 and 2018, there were a lot of cafes in New York offering CBD infused lattes and other CBD treats.

And then the New York Department of Health came through and shut that down, which drew some serious media attention. That has led many people to ask, “Is CBD legal in New York?” 

The U.S. Farm Bill of 2018 redefined cannabis plants into hemp and marijuana, and declared that CBD products make from hemp plants were legal, as long as the products contained less than 0.3% THC. But the governments of New York City and New York State are notoriously unwieldy. They demanded their say before CBD products and edibles were allowed in their jurisdictions.

If you’re a New Yorker, or plan on traveling to New York with your CBD oil, here are some of the legal regulations to keep in mind about CBD oil in New York.


Anyone who has been to the Big Apple knows that there have been always illegal, but barely hidden, ways procure marijuana. In my day, it was a pizza delivery joint that delivered more than just pizza if you knew the secret code. That code was often disseminated on the walls of bathroom stalls or passed by word of mouth around campus.

One such weed delivery service was famously broken up by the NYPD in 2005 — famous because the name of the delivery service was the "Cartoon Network.” That particular service received 600 calls per day from 50,000 phone numbers, according to the feds.1

There are still plenty of under-the-radar or conveniently ignored, ways to acquire weed. Some still involve pizza places, but maybe not cartoon networks. In the meantime, marijuana has become less taboo and more legally accessible.

Medical marijuana has been legal in the state of New York since 2014. Only individuals who hold a valid New York State Medical Marijuana card can legally access medical marijuana or CBD derived from marijuana, as opposed to high CBD cannabis hemp oil.2 

Recreational marijuana with more than 0.3 percent THC remains illegal in the state, although marijuana possession was decriminalized to a degree in August 2019. Penalties for possession of small amounts have been reduced, and those with existing possession convictions may have their convictions expunged.3

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been a reluctant advocate of legalizing the marijuana cannabis plant for recreational use, and has ensured constituents that he will try to get that passed in the 2021-2022 state budget.4 In November 2020, neighboring New Jersey legalized recreational marijuana by ballot referendum.5 That should compel the lawmakers in Albany to get to work, with all that tax revenue disappearing to Hoboken on the PATH train.


While New York managed to legalize medical marijuana in 2014, it took until 2019 to do the same for CBD. This left the sales of hemp CBD products in a gray area for five years. Technically, it was still illegal, and some providers and consumers did get busted. But during the final day of the 2019 New York legislation session, lawmakers passed two bills that defined and regulated hemp-derived CBD products.6 This is part of the reason why some people are still confused as to whether CBD is legal in New York.

In June 2019, the New York State Senate passed legislation that provides a comprehensive regulatory framework for hemp and CBD. According to the bill: retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers of CBD products must be permitted.7 But while this was working its way through the legislature, the state still enforced its old laws, which caused confusion.

In 2019, a dispute arose between Beak & Skiff Orchard and state lawmakers. The orchard, located just outside of Syracuse, was producing CBD-infused cold brew coffee. However, New York state lawmakers forced them to stop production and remove their products from retail shelves. Essentially, the 107-year-old, family owned business was shut down by aggressive enforcement of outdated laws.8

This dispute forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to assure New Yorkers that food and beverage CBD regulations would be examined in early 2020. At the direction of Gov. Cuomo, the Department of Health launched a new Cannabinoid Hemp Program to regulate hemp products in the state. The Program requires anyone involved with the hemp industry to obtain a license from the state Department of Health.9

But then COVID-19 hit and those plans were pushed back. Finally in October 2020, the New York state department made it legal to use CBD as a beverage and food additive.

“You can eat it or drink it, just not in a product that also contains alcohol or tobacco. You can vape it, but you can’t smoke the ‘flower’ in a cigarette. You can use it in a dietary supplement or salve, but you can’t inject it, inhale it or use it in a skin patch,” according to Dan Cazentre of NY Up, a publication of Advance Media.10

But here’s the catch: to be legal in New York, in order to keep selling CBD-infused food and drink it must be produced at the manufacturing level. That means if you go to a bakery, and they offer you CBD muffins, they’re breaking the law if they made those muffins in-house. Or if coffee shops add CBD oil to their beverages at the counter, it is illegal.

The sale of out-of-state hemp extract must meet New York standards and regulations.11 Most quality CBD oils, like Cornbread Hemp from Kentucky, easily meet most of these standards.


Yes, you can. Because hemp-derived CBD oils are legal at the federal level, the U.S. Postal Service will deliver them right to your door. The USPS affirmed in 2019 that it is legal to mail CBD oils across state lines using their services. 

CBD products like CBD oil with THCCBD creamCBD hemp gummiesCBD softgels, and more can be found anywhere from health food stores to corner bodegas. But in store there isn't always the time or resources available to determine which product is the best. If you buy CBD online, it allows you to take all the time you need to research quality providers. For instance, Cornbread Hemp provides the results of their third-party lab tests online. Cornbread Hemp does this for every batch, so you can see exactly what is in the CBD products that you order.


The Empire State seems to be on the cusp of joining the 15 states (and DC) that have legalized recreational marijuana. Also, laws and regulations concerning the sale and use of CBD cannabis oil have been steadily improving upon the gray areas that used to exist. 

The CBD industry is like the wild west, filled with opportunity but also vastly unregulated. There are many hemp growers and CBD brands producing hemp extracts for CBD products, and it can be difficult to know who is trustworthy. Make sure you research your product before buying! Unscrupulous companies may even advertise fake CBD oil by using "hemp seed oil", which has no cannabinoid content at all.

Despite the improvements to New York law recently, the safest way to procure real CBD oil, and other reliable forms of cannabis CBD products, is to purchase them online from a retailer you can trust. You can review lab test results and check reviews of the products. Look for high quality USDA certified organic, non-GMO products with hemp-derived CBD oil, like the products offered by Cornbread Hemp. Getting your CBD in New York by the USPS is speedy, safe, and legal.

About the Author
Jim Higdon, Co-Founder

Jim is a native of Lebanon, Kentucky. He holds degrees from Centre College, Brown University, and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Jim published Cornbread Mafia in 2012 before co-founding Cornbread Hemp. Full author bio here.


Yes, cannabidiol is legal in New York. However, it must be derived from the hemp plant and cannot contain more than 0.3% THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis). CBD oil that contains more than 0.3% THC is considered marijuana and is therefore illegal in the state of New York.

Yes, you can. CBD products, including CBD oil and CBD vape juice, can be legally mailed to New York. However, the CBD product must contain no more than 0.3% THC in order for it to be legal.

Yes, doctors can legally prescribe CBD oil in New York as well as other states. The doctor must have a medicinal license and write the prescription during a one-on-one consultation with the patient.


1. Department of Justice. “Twelve Members of the ‘Cartoon Network’ Marijuana Ring Charged with Distributing over a Ton of High Potency Marijuana to Thousands of Customers in the New York City Metropolitan Area” Published 07 Dec 2005. Accessed 20 Nov 2020.

2. “Information for Patients.” New York State Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program. Pub: 2020. Accessed: 16 Nov. 2020.

3. “Is CBD oil legal in New York.” Weedmaps. Pub: 4 Aug. 2020. Accessed: 16 Nov. 2020.

4. Cazentre, Don. “New York’s new rules for CBD: Food and drink OK, but not with alcohol or tobacco.” Upstate New York. Pub: 28 Oct. 2020. Accessed: 16 Nov. 2020.

5. Tully, T. “Recreational Marijuana Legalized by New Jersey Voters” The New York Times. Published: 4 Nov. 2020. Accessed 20 Nov. 2020.

6. “CBD in New York.” NYCBDDR. Pub: 2020. Accessed: 16 Nov. 2020.

7. Cazentre, Don. “Beak & Skiff Orchards latest business venture: Cannabis and CBD.” Upstate New York. Pub: 28 May 2020. Accessed: 16 Nov. 2020.

8. “The Cannabinoid Hemp Program.” New York State Department of Health. Pub: 2020. Accessed: 16 Nov. 2020.

9. US Postal Service. “Publication 52 Revision: New Mailability Policy for Cannabis and Hemp-Related Products” Effective: June 6, 2019. Accessed: 19 Nov 2020: