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Is CBD Legal in New York? Ask an Expert

Posted by Melissa Chipman on Nov 3rd 2020

Is CBD Legal in New York? Ask an Expert

Is CBD Oil Legal in New York?

In New York, just about anything goes. So when the City of New York draws a line in the sand, it gets attention. And that’s what happened a few years ago with CBD in New York. When hemp-derived 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 updated the federal laws and declared that hemp-derived CBD products were legal, as long as the products contained less than 0.3 percent THC. But the governments of New York City and New York State are notoriously unwieldy. And 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.

New York and Cannabis Laws

Anyone who has been to New York, especially New York City, 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 from dorm-mate to dorm-mate.

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, just-barely-in-the-shadows ways to acquire weed, and some still involve pizza places, but maybe not cartoon networks. In the meantime, marijuana has become less taboo and more legally accessible.

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

Recreational cannabis 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 M. Cuomo has been a reluctant advocate of legalizing recreational marijuana 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 So that should compel the lawmakers in Albany to get to work, with all that tax revenue disappearing to Hoboken on the PATH train.

New York and CBD Laws

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 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 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, bad 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. But state lawmakers forced them to stop production and remove their products from retail shelves. The 107-year-old, family-owned business was shut down by aggressive enforcement of outdated laws.8

This dispute forced Gov. 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 hemp 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, New York State made it legal to produce or sell food or beverage products made with CBD.

“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, CBD-infused food and drink must be produced at the manufacturing level. That means if you go into a coffee shop or bakery, and they offer you CBD-infused muffins, they’re breaking the law if they made those muffins in-house.

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

Can I Get CBD Mailed to Me in New York?

Yes, you can. Because hemp-derived CBD oils are legal by federal law, 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.

Buying CBD oil online 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.

CBD in New York: Conclusions

New York 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 CDB have been steadily improving upon the gray areas that used to exist.

Despite the improvements to New York law recently, the safest way to procure 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 USDA certified organic, non-GMO products with hemp-derived CBD oil. Delivery by the USPS is speedy, legal and safe.



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. 


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

3, 7, 11.

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

4, 10.

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. 


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


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


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


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


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