Not sure how to go about shipping your CBD product? We cover how to ship CBD oil in the US, internationally, the legalities, and tips for shipping your CBD product. CBD Shipping 101: Can You Ship CBD and Who Will Ship It? The CBD industry is having a moment. It shouldn’t take you long to notice that it’s one of the fastest-growing categories, with products
CBD Oil Shipping Guide: How and Where Can You Legally Ship CBD?
The popularity of CBD-based products has skyrocketed in the US in recent years. CBD has experienced a meteoric rise from a virtually unknown compound to rock-star status in the health and wellness market. That’s excellent news for those interested in starting a business selling CBD-based products. The global CBD market is valued at $2.8 billion. But one question that often comes up is the legality of shipping CBD in the US and abroad.
In this post, we’ll explain how to ship CBD oil across state lines, the legality of shipping CBD-based products nationally and internationally, regulations for USPS and private shipping companies, and how to properly package products for mailing.
Can You Mail CBD Oil Legally?
The short answer is yes, provided your CBD products are hemp-based. It’s important to note that CBD can also be derived from the marijuana plant. Marijuana, the close cousin of the hemp plant, remains illegal at the federal level. Your CBD products also can’t contain more than 0.3% THC, the naturally occurring psychoactive compound found in both marijuana and hemp plants.
The USPS has issued detailed guidance on how to legally mail hemp and hemp-based products. According to USPS regulations, CBD can be mailed provided the following two conditions are met:
- The mailer complies with all applicable federal, state, and local laws (such as the Agricultural Act of 2014 and the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018) pertaining to hemp production, processing, distribution, and sales.
- The mailer retains records establishing compliance with such laws, including laboratory test results, licenses, or compliance reports, for no less than 2 years after the date of mailing.
It’s unlikely you’ll be asked to present lab reports or any other documentation listed above to mail the products. But the regulations state you may be required to present them if there’s a question about the item’s mailability or the legality of the recipient to receive it. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so keep these handy each time you’re preparing to ship a batch of orders.
Can You Mail Hemp Legally?
Some online retailers also sell raw hemp or other hemp-based products. It’s common for questions to arise about how to legally ship these products to consumers. Regulations regarding mailing raw hemp or other hemp-based products through the USPS are the same as those outlined above for CBD oils and other CBD-based products. Nothing in your order can exceed 0.3% THC, and you’ll need to be prepared with documentation to prove you’re operating legally. An example of documentation that may be requested would be third-party testing results verifying the products you’re shipping contain less than 0.3% THC.
Shipping CBD or Hemp with UPS and FedEx
Recent service delays with the USPS may have you considering using a private shipping service like UPS or FedEx to ensure on-time deliveries. It’s legal to ship CBD-based products like CBD oils, as well as hemp, provided your products have THC contents below 0.3% and have been derived from hemp plants and not their psychoactive relative, the marijuana plant.
How to Package and Ship CBD Oil
Getting CBD oil or other CBD-based products properly labeled and ready for shipping requires a little more prep work than your average online order. Here’s how to do it like a pro.
- Get your paperwork in order – Have the documentation showing your products are legally compliant ready to present if asked. This documentation includes those things listed in the USPS regulations noted earlier, as well as things like third-party lab results showing the product contains less than 0.3% THC.
- Prepare the products for shipping – If you’re shipping CBD oil, you’ll want to make sure it’s well-protected. Wrap the packaging in a thick layer of bubble wrap, and place it in a shipping box filled with packing peanuts. This setup will give it the best chance of arriving at its final destination undamaged. Good packaging is especially important if you’re shipping internationally.
- Drop the package off or schedule a pickup – Once your product is packaged up, just drop it off at your nearest post office or UPS/FedEx store. Alternately, you can schedule your courier of choice to pick it up at your home or business location.
Can You Ship CBD Oil Internationally?
CBD and other hemp-based products aren’t just popular in the United States; it’s an international trend. So can you mail CBD oil overseas? The answer to that depends on where it’s going. Some countries like Canada have stringent laws about selling CBD products from the US. Legally selling CBD products to Canadians requires a lengthy and complicated application process with Health Canada, their licensing agency. Unless you’re dead set on making inroads into the Canadian market, you’re likely to find the red tape outweighs any potential benefits.
Other countries like the UK allow CBD products shipped from the US, provided the product complies with UK law and doesn’t contain more than 1 mg of THC, regardless of how large the container is. CBD products remain illegal in some countries, like the UAE and Malaysia.
If you plan to sell CBD oil outside of the US, you must understand the regulations of the countries you’re shipping it to before you make the sale. Failing to properly understand what’s legal and what’s not in other countries has consequences ranging from a fine to jail time.
Shipping CBD Requires Knowing and Following Regulations
Selling CBD oils and other hemp-based products online can be a fun and profitable way to start an online business. But shipping CBD across state lines and internationally comes with some important caveats. Knowing and following the regulations for legally shipping CBD oil and other CBD-based products will help keep you on the right side of the law, saving time and money in potential legal headaches and ensuring your company prospers.
We have helped many CBD companies create high-quality labels for their products. Our experts would be happy to talk to you and help you with your unique needs — whether that’s helping you decide on the right labels for your CBD products or talking over your packaging options as you’re getting started. Let’s connect.
CBD Shipping 101: Can You Ship CBD and Who Will Ship It?
The CBD industry is having a moment. It shouldn’t take you long to notice that it’s one of the fastest-growing categories, with products ranging from CBD-infused water and toothpaste, to CBD dog treats and even activewear.
From supermarkets to teen brands, you can find these products seemingly everywhere today. With increased legalization and awareness, it’s not just large retailers cashing in. Both local brick-and-mortar shops and online stores are also making moves.
The stats speak for themselves:
- The U.S. CBD market as a whole (both hemp-derived and marijuana-derived, where legal) is expected to reach $20 billion by 2024.
- More than one quarter of Americans have tried a CBD product. Of those people, one out of seven use CBD products everyday. have purchased CBD products at a drugstore, and 43% have purchased from online retailers.
With the continuous growth in the industry and a market proving it’s more than just a trend, it’s tempting to break into the CBD business yourself. But before you do, you must do your research, know the legalities and safety protocol, and understand the ins and outs of selling and shipping CBD.
To start, CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the active components of cannabis. CBD is thought to alleviate symptoms without any psychoactive effects from THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the component of marijuana that gets you high), e.g., users say it helps ease pain or soothe occasional anxiety — though the FDA will step in if claims are made that the products can cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent a disease.
Cannabis with a THC concentration above 0.3% is illegal in many countries, including in the U.S. under federal law, and in several U.S. states. However, cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC (known as “hemp”) is legal at the federal level, but legality differs across states. When it comes to selling CBD products, you’ll want to check the state-specific laws around CBD.
Products that include hemp, like alcohol, have legal limits on the quantities of certain ingredients that can be included in products — specifically, THC.
For some states within the United States, the limit of THC in hemp products is zero. This means any products that contain hemp-derived CBD must contain zero THC. In other states, you can use hemp-derived CBD if the THC content is under 0.3%.
This is because of the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp production at the federal level across the United States. The Farm Bill states that as long as the hemp in your hemp-derived CBD products contains not more than 0.3% THC, the product is not a federally controlled substance.
In this article, we’ll cover how to ship CBD 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 or financial advice.
Is CBD Legal to Ship? 4 Factors to Keep in Mind
Even though hemp-derived CBD is much more widely accepted and legalized than marijuana-containing products, CBD is still closely monitored and regulated. Here are the factors that will help you understand whether your supplier’s CBD is legal to ship.
1. Potency of CBD and THC.
The CBD you ship must have THC levels of not more than 0.3%, and you must be able to verify in writing the CBD and THC levels of the products you are shipping.
2. Origin of plant.
The CBD you sell should come from (be extracted from) hemp plants, not marijuana. Talk to an attorney if your CBD comes from synthetic sources, but the THC level must still be at or below 0.3%. If you’re working with any partners, like a supplier, you’ll need to keep close tabs to make sure that the products consistently hit this standard.
Whether you use a CBD supplier or grow it yourself, any CBD product must come from a licensed grower. In other words, you can’t just ship your uncle’s experimental cannabis plants he grew in his shed. You may be able to legally import into the U.S. a CBD product, but you should consult an attorney.
Both you and your supplier can face legal challenges and risk getting arrested or shut down for selling illegal products. Being a licensed grower means a state government official has oversight over the production of the hemp crop.
4. Testing requirements.
Your CBD-containing products must be third-party tested to demonstrate the chemical makeup of the products you’re selling, including the THC content. Third-party testing may be a prerequisite for some of the above requirements.
Can You Ship CBD?
Shipping CBD is a somewhat complicated matter, as you not only have to comply with any shipping carrier requirements but also ensure it’s legal to ship from the place of origin and legal to receive the product at its destination. Let’s look at who can and can’t ship CBD.
1. Yes: Your CBD business complies with the applicable laws.
You are a considered a “compliant” CBD business if you:
- Have all required licenses — including a grower, processor, or retail license,
- Only sell CBD products containing 0.3% THC or less,
- Only source from growers operating a legitimate, licensed business,
- Have a third-party testing process, and
- Have documented results from this testing.
If you meet all of these requirements, you should be able to ship CBD to locations where it’s legal (with the approved carriers listed below).
2. No: You have anything less than the above requirements.
If you can’t 100% prove that you have met all the prerequisite requirements above, you have a good chance of violating the terms and agreements of the approved carriers below.
If you attempt to ship CBD with a THC level greater than 0.3%, you may face consequences, including arrest, for sending illegal substances through the mail. At the very least, your products can be destroyed in transit upon discovery.
Get CBD industry analysis from the experts.
Download The Complete Guide to CBD Ecommerce to learn about industry trends, challenges CBD merchants face online, and how to overcome them.
Top Carriers Who Accept CBD Shipments
Shipping carriers have adopted what they consider acceptable goods to ship over time. You can ship CBD if it is legal, sent only to places that allow it, and if it conforms to the regulations of the following shipping carriers:
USPS allows you to ship CBD if possess a license from a state’s Department of Agriculture authorizing the licensee to produce industrial hemp, and the requirement that the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of such hemp (or its derivatives) may not exceed a 0.3 percent limit.
To ship CBD with UPS, you must be able to identify where the raw materials grew, how they were processed, and how they were obtained (or who shipped the product to the supplier and how that supplier got it to the customer after the fact).
As outlined on their website:
- “UPS accepts products made from Hemp (including Cannabidiol – CBD) for Shipment only as permitted by all applicable state and federal laws. It is the responsibility of the Shipper to ensure compliance with all such laws, including the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. §321, et seq.
- UPS will not accept shipments containing Hemp products from any location that sells Marijuana or Marijuana products.
- UPS reserves the right to dispose of any shipment containing Marijuana, Hemp or Hemp products tendered for shipment which Shippers are prohibited from shipping, which UPS is not authorized to accept, which UPS states that it will not accept, or which UPS has a right to refuse.”
DHL can ship CBD products as long as the shipper meets these requirements:
- The shipment contains hemp or hemp-based products that contain no more than 0.3% 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.
Note: Shippers are not required to present documentation at the time of shipping, but documentation such as certificates may be requested at any time.
3 Considerations Before You Start Fulfilling CBD Orders
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 I’s and crossing your T’s.
1. Slow down on international shipments.
Many countries outside of the United States classify marijuana and hemp-related products as illegal and can press charges or destroy products if you try shipping a dangerous substance to their country.
Make sure you fully understand the destinations to which your business is allowed to legally ship CBD products. Even if CBD is legal in a certain country, you may have trouble shipping items to that country. If you are located in the United States, for example, it may be wise to ship exclusively within the states before expanding anywhere else.
2. Consult your legal team.
If you have a legal team, make sure they read over your statements and clearly identify where you intend to send your CBD products. The CBD industry has become really popular, really quickly — but hemp-derived products are still unlawful in some states. When in doubt, it’s best to consult your lawyer. Although CBD products are not considered controlled substances at the federal level, each state has its own individual laws and rules.
3. Double-check your suppliers.
If you don’t run your own farms or processing/manufacturing facilities and instead work with a supplier, make sure they are not violating any rules or shipping regulations, whether it be related to potency, location of where their CBD is grown, or anything else.
Logistics Partners Who Can Help with CBD Fulfillment
Now that you understand how complex shipping CBD can be, you need to determine how you will fulfill customer orders. If you don’t want to fulfill CBD products yourself, you can partner with a company that takes care of some of these challenges for you so that you can focus on your business — not packing boxes or shipping CBD.
You can outsource CBD shipping to a third-party logistics (3PL) company like ShipBob, a premiere fulfillment partner of BigCommerce. ShipBob works with CBD businesses to store their inventory, pack their orders, and ship their CBD products from their network of fulfillment centers across the United States.
Combined with proprietary technology, ShipBob’s ecommerce fulfillment services help get your CBD products delivered to customers quickly and safely.
CBD company Nature’s Ultra is able to provide 2-day shipping to all of its U.S. customers using ShipBob, so that they can compete with the convenience of Amazon Prime delivery standards. This has allowed them to scale up and become successful — Nature’s Ultra went from $70,000 in sales in 2018 to over $7 million in sales in 2019.
“We were managing shipping and logistics ourselves via USPS, but we didn’t understand just how massive and difficult fulfillment was. Now that we’re working with ShipBob, we can easily ship our CBD products to all 50 United States with ease.”
— Andrew Hardy, COO of Nature’s Ultra
Shipping CBD products is one piece of running a successful CBD business. You also need everything from legal payment processing to creative hemp marketing tactics that follow various regulations and policies set out by everyone from governmental agencies to tech giants like Facebook.
Selling CBD is a lot more complex than selling apparel or a novelty product, and the industry is moving fast and constantly evolving. There have been governmental and societal changes recently, but don’t expect it to stop there. Be sure to stay up-to-date on CBD regulations across the globe as well as carriers’ CBD shipping policies to keep a close eye on what changes.
The above does not constitute legal, tax, professional or financial advice and BigCommerce disclaims any liability with respect to this material. Please consult your attorney or professional advisor on specific legal, professional or financial matters.