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Do You Need a License to Sell CBD Oil in California?

When it comes to whether you would need a license to sell CBD in California, there is no yes or no answer. This is because anybody can buy CBD products from various shops in California.

However, according to the Department Of Public Health, unlicensed retailers are not allowed to sell CBD products such as food, drinks or supplements.

Besides, the fact that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration considered CBD a Schedule 1 drug, right next to drugs like LSD and heroin, makes it complicated.

According to information made available by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, CBD products that are made from marijuana can be sold at licensed dispensaries. On the other hand, CBD made from industrial hemp is unregulated, untaxed and illegal.

When it comes to requiring license to sell of CBD edibles; The California Department of Public Health recently released a memo in regards to whether or not products made from industrial hemp were covered by MCSB regulations. Based on the memo, they are not.

According to the California Department of Public Health, “California incorporates federal law regarding food additives, dietary use products, food labeling, and good manufacturing practices for food.”

This means that any CBD product derived from the cannabis plant, any CBD product derived from industrial hemp or any other cannabinoids are not permitted in food.

The use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil has continued to gain more popularity. This popularity is associated with the health benefits that comes with using the cannabidiol (CBD) oil.

It is no wonder that the market for cannabidiol (CBD) oil have continued to rise hence the increase in the number of people who are looking towards selling CBD.

What Is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol and it is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil. It is the second most prevalent ingredient of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant.

Interestingly, cannabidiol (CBD) oil is readily obtainable in most parts of the united states, though its exact legal status is in flux.

All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction, and while the federal government still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana, it doesn’t habitually enforce against it. In December 2015, the FDA eased the regulatory requirements to allow researchers to conduct CBD trials.

Currently, many people obtain CBD online without a medical cannabis license. The government’s position on CBD is confusing, and depends in part on whether the CBD comes from hemp or marijuana.

The legality of CBD is expected to change, as there is currently bipartisan consensus in Congress to make the hemp crop legal which would, for all intents and purposes, make CBD difficult to prohibit.

Details on California’s CBD Laws

Until 2018, California’s definition of CBD as a marijuana product made this substance only legally available from state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries.

While CBD laws in California weren’t strictly enforced, residents of this state who use cannabidiol had some basis to be concerned about the legality of this hemp-based substance.

CBD License in California and Proposition 64

In November of 2016, California voters chose to make recreational marijuana legal statewide with Proposition 64. This law came into effect in January of 2018 as the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), made CBD products legal throughout California for residents or visitors who are 21 or older.

Proposition 64 may seem like great news to California residents, but it’s important to point out that the law in this state still defines CBD as a marijuana product.

Since the popular and legal culture surrounding cannabis in California is so lax, this technicality shouldn’t be cause for concern, but it appears that a mere definition may cause problems that are far more than just semantic.

For instance, California legislators and regulatory agencies still haven’t made up their minds whether CBD is legal if it isn’t sold in an in-state recreational or medical marijuana shop.

Since you’re good to go with CBD in California as long as you’re at least 21 years old or a medical marijuana patient, this legal confusion should have negligible bearing on consumer use of CBD in this state, but a bureaucratic nightmare is brewing that might take years to properly resolve.


The state of California has always been in the forefront when it comes to the legalization of cannabis consumption in all forms and for now, a state license is required to engage in commercial cannabis activity including CBD sales in California.

If you are applying for this license, you are required to provide proof of approval from the local jurisdiction they will be operating in before a license can be issued. Please note that if a local jurisdiction prohibits commercial cannabis activity, the state cannot issue a license.