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 Need to send CBD products to your customers? Make sure you do it the right way. Follow this guide on the legalities of shipping and mailing CBD.
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.
Shipping CBD Oil With USPS: Is CBD Shipping Legal?
The CBD industry is an industry on the rise. With increasing legalization, both local dispensaries and online sellers have been scrambling to grab a portion of the profits. In fact, Forbes anticipates that the CBD market could reach $20 billion by 2024.
Before you jump on the bandwagon of selling CBD online, you need to thoroughly understand the legalities and safety protocol behind selling and shipping CBD.
In this guide, we’ll cover how to handle shipping CBD oil 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 advice.
What is CBD?
You may have heard CBD referred to as “cannabis without THC.” The truth is that CBD (otherwise known as “Cannabidiol”) is simply one active component of cannabis.
Cannabis as a whole contains many different ingredients; Cannabidiol is one of them. CBD’s growth in popularity is a result of its ability to alleviate an array of symptoms without the psychoactive effects that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) provides.
THC is the ingredient that is still illegal in several countries and in many US states. CBD, on the other hand, simply acts as natural medicine and has been touted to ease pain, soothe anxiety, prevent epileptic seizures, and more.
Because of this, CBD is more widely accepted and legalized than its sister strain, THC. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t still closely monitored and regulated.
Is CBD shipping legal?
The short answer is that, yes, CBD is legal nationwide in the United States. But legality can differ from state to state in different ways. When it comes to selling CBD oil and products, you’ll want to check with your state to see what your state-specific laws are around CBD.
CBD, like alcohol, has certain “limits” on it in terms of how much THC can be found in the oil. For some states, the limit is zero. They only allow CBD oil sourced through industrial hemp, which doesn’t contain any THC.
In other states, you’re allowed to use marijuana-sourced CBD, but that means your legal limit of THC allowed in your product is 0.3%. Any more than that and the authorities could get involved and you could find yourself in trouble.
How can I know my supplier’s CBD is legal to ship?
Now that you understand selling CBD can be a little complicated, you’re left with an important first step. It’s time to discover if your supplier’s CBD is actually legal to ship.
There are three criteria you’ll want to look for:
1. Their CBD’s THC levels are under 0.3%
Check your supplier’s CBD levels by going to their website, reading their product info, or contacting them directly. It’s important that wherever you get the CBD from doesn’t have THC levels above the legal limit of 0.3%.
For CBD to be considered legal, the THC level has to be under 0.3%. If your supplier uses industrial hemp for their CBD, you’re safe from crossing this boundary. If they don’t, you’ll want to make sure you keep a close eye on making sure your supplier consistently hits this standard.
2. They are licensed
You also want to make sure your supplier is actually licensed to grow and produce CBD. If they’re not licensed, you’ll face the risk of your supplier getting shut down and some legal troubles of our own.
If your supplier gets shut down, it renders you helpless on revenue and order fulfillment. You will either get backed up on orders or be forced to shut your business down, at least temporarily.
If they’re not hitting the legal standards for THC and you were to get audited for any reason, you could be held accountable for selling product that’s in fact illegal, even if you didn’t know it.
If you go through a licensed supplier, this greatly decreases the risk. The government has already approved the production and facility, among other factors, so you can rest assured that the product will meet standard and the supply will be more consistent.
3. They have third-party testing
Your supplier is allowed to test in-house to make sure the CBD:THC ratio is on par. But there are also third-party options your supplier can go to for testing.
While third-party testing isn’t required, it is highly recommended to source from a supplier that goes the extra mile to get it anyway. It often helps to have an outside, unbiased party to make sure your product is meeting quality standards.
What carriers allow you to mail CBD oil?
Mailing CBD oil is a complicated issue. While it is legal, there are regulations by the state on what type of CBD oil you can sell. And shippers are releasing their own regulations for how CBD travels through their systems.
You can mail CBD oil if it is legal, sent to the places that allow it, and conforms to the regulations of the following shipping carriers:
USPS is one of the best options you can go through for shipping CBD.
To mail CBD through the appropriate USPS mail type or service, you need to have a signed self-certification statement verifying that you are selling legal CBD. This is the statement:
“I certify that all information contained in this letter and supporting documents are accurate, truthful, and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information or omits information relating to this certification may be subject to criminal and/or civil penalties, including fines and imprisonment”.
You also need to verify that your CBD supplier uses industrial hemp. They need to possess a license from the Department of Agriculture of the state from which you are shipping. Finally, you’ll want to verify that the CBD you sell is made from industrial hemp with a THC concentration of no more than 0.3%.
If you can do these things, USPS will have no issue shipping your orders for you.
The criteria for shipping CBD through UPS is a little different.
First, you must be able to state where your raw materials (hemp plants or cannabis plants) grew. You’ll have to answer for how they were processed in the manufacturing of the end-product. Lastly, you’ll need to verify who shipped the product to the supplier and how that supplier got it to the customer after the fact.
DHL eCommerce Solutions allows the shipment through its network of hemp, and hemp-based products, including CBD, as long as the shipper complies with all of the following:
- The shipment contains hemp or hemp based products that contain 0.3% or less 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.
- Packaging does not contain any branding, or labeling that indicates the content of the item.
Compliance with these restrictions is the shipper’s responsibility. A shipper is not required to present documentation at the time of shipping, but such documentation, including certificates, or any other required document, may be requested at any time. DHL eCommerce Solutions reserves the right to hold shipments that are not compliant with law, or any other DHL eCommerce Solutions policy.
Generally speaking, FedEx has kept their language around CBD pretty vague, and there is a long list of products in its 2019 Service Guide that it disallows, which included hemp plants, hemp leaves, oil, seed oil, and CBD derived from hemp.
However, ShipBob had to fill out an application and was approved by FedEx to ship CBD products with under 0.3% THC in them.
3 considerations when shipping CBD
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 Is and crossing your Ts.
1. Have a lawyer run through your statements
Before you send your statements to UPS and USPS, have a lawyer run through them to make sure they’re not missing anything important or have incorrect verbiage. You don’t want to waste any time with faulty legal documents that could land you in trouble or delay retail fulfillment.
2. Double check your international shipping
If you’re going to have CBD shipped internationally, make sure you fully understand where you’re allowed to ship CBD products to legally. For example, it’s illegal to ship CBD to Russia, China, and a handful of European countries where it’s not legal to consume CBD yet.
Even if CBD is legal in a certain country, you may have trouble shipping items to that country. If you are located in the US, for example, it is a best practice to ship within the states before expanding anywhere else.
As CBD is a newer product that’s gained a lot of traction really quickly, there is still a lot of ambiguity across countries. Consult your lawyer before you ship anywhere internationally.
3. Stay up-to-date on CBD regulations
As your business grows, it’s going to be one of your top responsibilities to stay on top of CBD regulations. As the industry continues to grow and evolve, so will the rules around the products — whether that’s the shipping carriers’ rules, or state and federal laws.
Two places you can keep up-to-date on ongoing CBD trends are Hemp Industry Daily and Infinite CBD.
3 Steps to package your CBD for shipping
Once you understand how to ship CBD and hemp products and your paperwork is all in order, you must pack all products properly to ensure product integrity upon arrival.
1. Choosing the right type of packing
Choosing the best packaging for your business will be highly dependent on many factors, such as:
- The fragility of the items
- Types of packaging
Suppose you’re shipping CBD products that are not fragile, things like chapstick or CBD cream that is usually not packaged in glass. In that case, these items can be packaged more easily with envelopes or poly mailers, depending on the quantity.
You do also need to consider the climate, season, and the ‘meltability’ of your product. However, different packaging must be used when shipping CBD oils or tinctures in glass containers. Shipping fragile items can be a task, but the risks of haphazardly packing your products are far worse than the time and effort it takes to do it right.
2. How to package your CBD product
Choosing a box slightly larger than your product and filling the voided space with packing peanuts or crinkle paper can reduce the movement of the fragile contents. Wrapping the product with material can also prevent breaks, especially if there are multiple containers in a package. Marking the box as fragile is the last step after ensuring the contents are snug and secure.
3. Choose your shipping carrier
Once your CBD products are packaged properly, you must choose the best fulfillment option. Depending on the size of your business and shipments, most people just go down to the local post office or UPS store to send their product. But when you get into larger volume shipping of a product that some carriers may not take, you need to be a little more cognizant of your process.
As stated above, some carriers won’t even accept CBD products, and if you’re in a situation where you are trying to get your shipments out fast, not having a premeditated game plan here could be a significant setback to your fulfillment strategy. Many ecommerce businesses, therefore, choose to outsource their CBD fulfillment to 3PL companies like ShipBob that handle your ecommerce fulfillment for you.
Let ShipBob handle your CBD fulfillment
“We were managing shipping and logistics ourselves via USPS, but we didn’t understand just how massive and difficult fulfillment was, which prevents us from focusing on our core products. Now that we’re working with ShipBob, we can easily ship to all 50 US states with ease.”
Andrew Hardy, COO of Nature’s Ultra
As a third-party logistics (3PL) company, ShipBob stores inventory, packs each order, and ships it out for you. We negotiate rates with carriers and pass those savings along to you. ShipBob has fulfillment centers all over the United States and can ship CBD products to every single US state.
“Our fulfillment is on autopilot. ShipBob saves us so much effort, and the opportunity cost savings has been substantial. Today, our health and wellness brand sells three CBD products in the United States.”
Yannick Crespo, Co-Founder & President of Pot d’Huile
The CBD industry is exploding, and any well-built business stands a chance at having a long, prosperous future. But in order to make that happen, it’s important that you have a streamlined system for CBD fulfillment that is mindful of the laws and regulations around shipping and mailing CBD oil.
To learn more about how ShipBob can do this for your CBD company, request a pricing quote below.
CBD shipping FAQs
Generally, yes, shipping CBD products internationally is legal as long as certain requirements are met. This includes a THC content of less than 0.2% for most countries.
FedEx tends to be a little more strict when it comes to shipping CBD. According to FedEx’s shipping terms & conditions, CBD can only be shipped if it contains no THC whatsoever, which is lower than other carriers’ requirements.
Importation of CBD products to Canada is illegal according to the Canadian Government. This may change in the coming years, but for the time being, all products containing cannabis cannot be shipped to Canada.
Kristina is the Director of Marketing Communications at ShipBob, where she writes various articles, case studies, and other resources to help ecommerce brands grow their business.