Is Hemp Flower Legal? State by State Guide

The United States is gradually becoming more accepting of cannabis and hemp flowers, with states like Colorado and California leading the way. However, as is so often the case in the US, the laws aren't always straightforward and can differ considerably from one state to the next.

This is especially true where hemp flowers are concerned.

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp at a federal level, ensuring that it could be cultivated, distributed, and sold without fear of prosecution. That said, while some states have openly embraced these laws and are leading the way in the US hemp industry, others have been a little more cautious and contradictory in their approach.

State by State Laws on Hemp Flowers

As a US resident, you are free to purchase hemp products from a host of local and national retailers. This includes CBD products like tinctures and edibles, as well as hemp flowers.

As long as these products have been produced in accordance with federal law, which means they contain less than 0.3% THC, there should be no issues. However, depending on where you live, there are several grey areas and exceptions.

What follows is a list of states and the latest laws. It's worth noting, however, that we are not legal experts and are not qualified to provide legal advice. Also keep in mind that all of these laws are subject to change:

  • Alabama: You are free to smoke hemp and CBD products providing they contain less than 0.3% THC.
  • Alaska: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • Arizona: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • Arkansas: Legal across the state.
  • California: One of the most liberal states when it comes to the sale and consumption of cannabis and hemp.
  • Colorado: CO has very relaxed laws concerning hemp flowers and cannabis products.
  • Connecticut: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • Delaware: Most hemp and CBD products are legal here but only for as long as they remain within the THC threshold.
  • Florida: You are free to purchase and smoke hemp flowers and pre-rolls in your own home, but it is illegal to do so in public places. This is also true for medical marijuana.
  • Georgia: You can legally buy and smoke hemp flowers in Georgia.
  • Hawaii: Has laws against the use of smokable hemp products, including flowers.
  • Idaho: The state of Idaho doesn't distinguish between marijuana and hemp if the latter contains any amount of THC.
  • Illinois: Hemp flowers are completely legal to possess and ingest.
  • Indiana: Hemp products are legal for the most part, but there are restrictions on the sale and possession of smokable hemp flowers.
  • Iowa: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • Kansas: Kansas has taken a somewhat hardline approach with regard to the distribution and consumption of CBD hemp flowers. CBD and hemp products are technically legal, but only if they are free of THC, which places hemp flowers and full-spectrum oils in a grey area.
  • Kentucky: CBD is freely available, but the law is a little stricter when it comes to hemp flowers, and only license holders are allowed to possess them.
  • Louisiana: In the summer of 2020, all smokable hemp products were banned in Louisiana with the exception of rolling papers. So far, lawmakers have resisted the wave of legal hemp but that could change in the future.
  • Maine: Completely legal across the state.
  • Maryland: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • Massachusetts: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • Michigan: Completely legal across the state.
  • Minnesota: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • Mississippi: There are no restrictions concerning the consumption of hemp flowers.
  • Missouri: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • Montana: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • Nebraska: You are free to buy and smoke flowers in the state of Nebraska.
  • Nevada: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • New Hampshire: NH allows its residents to buy and ingest hemp and CBD products that fall within federal guidelines.
  • New Jersey: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • New Mexico: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • New York: You shouldn't have any issues buying or smoking hemp flowers in NY.
  • North Carolina: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • North Dakota: You are free to buy and smoke flowers in the state of ND.
  • Ohio: Due to the strict marijuana laws, it's best to enjoy hemp in the comfort of your own home, where you are legally allowed to do so.
  • Oklahoma: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • Oregon: Not only are most hemp products legal but Oregon is home to some of the country's biggest and best farms. The state has also produced several popular strains over the last few years.
  • Pennsylvania: You are free to buy and smoke flowers in the state of PA.
  • Rhode Island: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • South Carolina: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • South Dakota: You cannot smoke flowers and are also advised against the use of vape juices.
  • Tennessee: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • Texas: In the Lone Star State, you are allowed to purchase hemp flowers but are forbidden from owning pre-rolls, as CBD products are legal but smokable hemp flowers are not. You can still own these flowers, as there's no proof you're actually smoking them, and you can also purchase them online. However, they are not available in brick-and-mortar locations.
  • Utah: Although you can legally purchase and consume hemp flowers in the state of Utah, you can't smoke them. It's a strange rule, but it means you can purchase flowers for the purpose of eating and infusing only.
  • Vermont: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • Virginia: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • Washington: You are free to buy and smoke flowers in WA.
  • West Virginia: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • Wisconsin: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.
  • Wyoming: Hemp flowers are legal to possess and consume.

Why is Smokable Hemp an Issue?

It seems absurd for hemp flowers to be illegal and concentrated CBD products to be legal. So, what's the issue here, why have some states placed restrictions on flowers but not extracts?

There are a couple of potential issues.

Firstly, there are very few side effects and contraindications resulting from the consumption of CBD, and this is true whether it's being eaten, drunk, or vaped. However, the same can't be said for smoking.

It's not exactly a healthy habit, and this applies whether you're smoking tobacco, hemp, or cannabis. Possible complications include lung cancer, throat cancer, and countless other issues.

Of course, states aren't banning smokable hemp to reduce your cancer risk. If that were true, we'd see the same restrictions placed on the sale of tobacco.

That brings us to the second and most pertinent point: smokable hemp confuses law enforcement.

If it looks like cannabis and smells like cannabis, how can you prove it's hemp? In states where the cultivation and sale of Cannabis Sativa is still tightly controlled, smokable hemp creates a lot of confusion.

Everyone who is caught smoking cannabis will just pretend it's hemp, and the only way to prove otherwise is to get it tested. It's an expensive, messy, and complicated process. 

The easiest solution is to ban people from smoking hemp flowers.

What Does the Future Hold?

Just a few years ago, industrial hemp plants were placed in the same legal category as cannabis plants. Low-THC smokable hemp flowers were hard to find and the world had yet to understand the true potential of cannabidiol (CBD), as well as minor cannabinoids like CBG and CBN.

A lot has changed in a very short period of time. Not only are hemp flowers and cannabinoid extracts some of the hottest products in the alternative health sector, but hemp plants have become an essential agricultural commodity and are helping farms across the US thrive.

Combine this with the rapidly changing legality of cannabis, and it would be safe to assume that many more changes are on the way.

So, if you're a hemp flower smoker growing increasingly frustrated with your state's strict hemp laws, just bide your time as those changes will come.

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Disclaimer: According to The American Lung Association, inhaling smoke of any kind is considered harmful to the lungs, regardless if it’s coming from cigarettes, hemp flower or campfire.

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