The Latest on Shipping CBD Oils and Other CBD Products

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Doesn’t the USPS also require some additional documentation?

For a while, the USPS required all companies shipping CBD oil to include a signed statement printed on their letterhead that committed them to the False Statements Act. But as of the most recent guidelines, which were released June 6, 2019, this is no longer a requirement.

If the Farm Bill says that hemp-derived CBD is now legal, why are we still hearing stories about the seizure of packages or truckloads containing hemp in some states?

Even though the Farm Bill now permits industrial hemp nationwide, it doesn’t supersede any state or local laws. And, much like some local municipalities have laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol (despite its longtime legal status), some states or cities still can – and do – exercise strong restrictions against the sale or transportation of hemp within their borders.

Other states are more amenable to working with hemp businesses in general, which is something to keep in mind as you choose the most optimal locations for your CBD fulfillment operations.

From a retail perspective, how many states are actually hemp- and CBD-friendly?

According to research compiled by a major hemp retailer, approximately half of all U.S. states are hemp-friendly to some degree because they have laws in place that either allow retailers to sell hemp products or they’ve made a legal distinction between Farm Bill-compliant hemp and marijuana. Meanwhile, approximately 18 states lie somewhere in the middle, because their laws neither explicitly prohibit the retail sale of industrial hemp nor have any exemptions in place that officially say they consider hemp-derived products to be legal.

But perhaps most important to your business, eight states lie in the zone of concern because of recent law enforcement or legislative activities, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Michigan, Nevada, South Dakota, and West Virginia.

Bear in mind, however, that this landscape is constantly changing, so we encourage you to monitor the latest reports from key lobbying and industry groups such as the National Hemp Association or from leading hemp industry news outlets – or to consult one of the industry’s compliance experts.

For another perspective on the same question (one that also includes the latest on which states have embraced the legalization of hemp’s famous cousin, marijuana), check out this overview of state-by-state hemp statutes from the National Conference Of State Legislatures.

Do CBD oils and other hemp products require special material handling, parcel handling or fulfillment protocols and are these subject to change?

It depends on whether or not the CBD or hemp product you’re selling is ingestible. Currently, the FDA forbids the use of CBD in ingestible products such as food and dietary supplements. But the Hemp Industry Daily reports that the FDA has only sporadically enforced its ban, and some states have given CBD manufacturers express permission to make and sell CBD foods, drinks and dietary supplements.

Yes, it’s confusing.

In general, food-grade products need to be stored at a food-grade warehousing facility, which is a special breed of distribution center that’s subject to higher standards of maintenance and cleanliness. The facility should also have advanced systems that enable inventory management protocols like first in/first out and the ability to trace a product location in case there is a problem or recall.

As a general rule, we also recommend that companies consider adopting some of the smart practices that are often used for the shipping of high-value products – including use of tamper-proof packaging materials, and working with providers whose employees have been carefully screened and background checked. In addition, it makes sense to use a warehouse and fulfillment partner that already has experience working with CBD products, especially as the regulatory landscape continues to shift.

It also might be smart to consider housing your product with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) that can provide value-added services like product kitting and packaging. That way if federal, state or local authorities require you to make a modification to your product packaging or labeling, these 3PLs can switch your packaging out in the warehouse rather than having to ship it back to you so you can do the same.

And yes, all requirements for storing and shipping CDB oil and other CBD-infused products are indeed subject to change. This is, after all, the hemp/CBD industry.

Marketing claims and labeling compliance

The FDA is paying close attention to CBD product manufacturers that make unsubstantiated claims about treating diseases or medical conditions. In fact, in July 2019 the FDA issued a warning letter to a manufacturer for selling unapproved products online.

As for labelling requirements for your CBD product, the proper approach depends on many factors, including container size, serving size and marketing claims. New Hope Network has a useful article on how to label your CBD product correctly.

From a logistics perspective, what else do CBD/hemp businesses need to know?

When it comes to shipping CBD oils and related products, we’ll continue to see changes as federal and state authorities define their regulatory stance. Amware Fulfillment will continue to closely monitor the landscape, and we’ll share updates with you as circumstances merit.

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