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Hemp / CBD

New York Cannabis
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At the Crossroads of Hemp / CBD and Business

Our hemp and CBD team (based in Australia, China, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, and the United States) provide industry-specific legal planning, regulatory support, corporate guidance, and compliance strategies for the hemp and CBD industries in Australia, China, Colombia, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, and the United States.

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The Rise of Cannabidiol


Australia has a complex regulatory framework for CBD products. While industrial hemp cultivation is legal under license, CBD products are classified as Schedule 3 or 4 medicines, requiring approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for sale. Exporting hemp products from Australia is possible but subject to TGA and relevant international trade regulations.


CBD remains in a legal gray area in China. Though cultivation of industrial hemp for fiber production is permitted under specific regulations, the legality of CBD products is unclear, and the sale and marketing of CBD products for medicinal purposes are strictly prohibited. Exporting hemp products from China is generally allowed but subject to strict regulations and licensing requirements.


Colombia legalized the cultivation, processing, manufacturing, import, and export of industrial hemp for various purposes in 2017. This includes the extraction of CBD, but regulations regarding the production and sale of CBD products are still under development. Exporting hemp from Colombia is legal.


Mexico legalized medical cannabis use in 2017, including products with high CBD content. However, regulations for CBD products derived from hemp are still unclear, and it’s advisable to consult with a legal professional before entering the Mexican CBD market. The export of hemp products from Mexico is subject to rigorous regulations and licensing requirements.


Portugal legalized medical cannabis use in 2011 and has a relatively relaxed approach to CBD. Industrial hemp cultivation with a license is permitted, and the sale of CBD products for wellness purposes is generally tolerated, although regulations are still evolving. Exporting hemp products from Portugal may require following specific procedures depending on the destination country.


Spain allows the cultivation of industrial hemp under a licensing system, and the extraction of CBD for cosmetic and industrial uses is also permitted. However, the sale of CBD for ingestion (e.g., oils, edibles) remains illegal due to concerns from the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Medical Products. Exporting hemp products from Spain may require additional permits, depending on the destination country.


Thailand legalized the use of medical cannabis in 2018, with a focus on research and development. Though CBD oil with low THC content is available for medical purposes with a doctor’s prescription, regulations for recreational CBD use in Thailand are still evolving. Exporting hemp products from Thailand is subject to strict regulations and authorization.

The United States

In the United States, CBD’s rise has been met with mixed reactions. While the 2014 Farm Bill allowed CBD research and the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp cultivation, the legal landscape remains complex. The USDA oversees hemp federally, but states set their own regulations for CBD products. The FDA has not approved most therapeutic uses of CBD. However, hemp export is legal under specific USDA guidelines.

Hemp CBD Labeling

Key State Variations

The legal landscape for Hemp CBD varies significantly across states, complicating the U.S. Hemp CBD industry and making it challenging to create and maintain a lawful CBD business. For instance, a company may need to adjust their product labeling or even their product line entirely depending on the specific regulations of the state(s) they operate in. These variations can create significant hurdles, such as:

  • Difficulties in achieving national brand consistency: A CBD company with nationwide aspirations may struggle to maintain consistent labeling and product offerings due to the patchwork of state regulations.
  • Increased compliance costs: Businesses operating across multiple states may need to comply with a variety of regulations, requiring additional legal and administrative resources.
  • Limited scalability: The complexities of navigating state-by-state regulations can make it difficult for companies to scale their operations efficiently.
Our Hemp CBD Legal Services

Our team of experienced Hemp CBD business attorneys understands the interplay between federal law, state law, FDA regulations, and USDA regulations. We can help you navigate these complexities with a variety of legal services, including:

  • Compliance Audits: We can assess your current operations and identify any potential areas of non-compliance with federal or state CBD regulations. This includes reviewing contracts, marketing materials, labeling, and internal control procedures to ensure your business adheres to all relevant regulations.

  • Product Labeling Review and Development: Our team can ensure your CBD product labels are accurate, compliant, and informative for consumers. We stay up-to-date on the latest labeling requirements and can help you develop clear and compliant labels that meet all state and federal regulations.

  • State-Specific Regulatory Guidance: We stay up-to-date on the ever-changing legal landscape and can advise you on the specific regulations applicable to your state. Our hemp lawyers are particularly active in handling Hemp CBD matters in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington. We can help you understand the nuances of state regulations and develop strategies for compliance.

International Hemp CBD Legal Representation

In addition to our hemp CBD work in the United States, we also handle hemp matters involving countries outside the United States, especially in:

  • Australia
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • Portugal
  • Thailand
  • Spain
Our Hemp CBD Team Stands Ready to Assist

If you face legal challenges related to your CBD business in the United States or abroad, our attorneys can provide representation and advocate for your interests. By partnering with our experienced legal team, you can gain the confidence and knowledge necessary to navigate the U.S. CBD maze and run a successful, compliant CBD business.

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Local, National and International Hemp Lawyers

We serve the entire Hemp CBD industry, from startups to established companies looking to expand in this booming market. Our Hemp CBD business attorneys have extensive experience in navigating the complex and evolving legal landscape, offering a comprehensive suite of services to ensure your business thrives:

  • Licensing and Permitting: We guide clients through the process of obtaining all necessary licenses and permits for hemp cultivation, processing, and distribution, ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations.

  • Investigating Product Sources and Risk Analysis: We help clients verify that their hemp products are derived from legal hemp sources and do not contain prohibited levels of THC. Our team also assesses risks associated with transporting hemp interstate and internationally.

  • Best Practices Advising: We provide comprehensive guidance on the entire lifecycle of your hemp products, including manufacturing, labeling, and distribution, ensuring adherence to best practices and regulatory requirements.

  • Regulatory Response and Updates: We don’t just advise on compliance, we actively defend your interests. Our team will help you respond to complaints and seizures, while keeping you informed of the latest regulatory changes across the country.

  • FDA and USDA Compliance: We advise clients on developing policies and procedures that align with the evolving regulations from the FDA and USDA.

Our international Hemp CBD lawyers have extensive experience representing companies involved in buying, selling, importing, and exporting hemp and Hemp CBD around the world. We assist these companies with navigating the complexities of international transactions and import/export issues, including (consider adding specific countries your team has experience with here, if allowed).

With our comprehensive legal guidance, you can navigate the complexities of the Hemp CBD industry with confidence and focus on growing your successful business.

Full Legal Services Surrounding Hemp & CBD

Our Hemp CBD business attorneys work with a wide range of businesses within the industry, from small start-ups to large-scale, established enterprises looking to expand into this rapidly growing market. We have extensive experience in the following hemp matters:

  • Investigating Product Sources: Verifying that hemp products are not derived from marijuana and do not contain prohibited levels of THC.
  • Risk Analysis: Assessing risks associated with transporting hemp interstate and internationally.
  • Licensing: Obtaining licenses for the cultivation or processing of hemp.
  • Best Practices Advising: Providing guidance on the manufacture, labeling, and distribution of hemp products.
  • Regulatory Response: Responding to complaints and seizures of Hemp CBD products.
  • Regulatory Updates: Keeping clients informed as regulations and laws change across the country.
  • Seed Sourcing and Compliance: Managing hemp seed sourcing, importation, certification, and labeling.
  • FDA and USDA Compliance: Advising clients on developing policies and regulations from the FDA and USDA.

Our international Hemp CBD lawyers have also represented numerous companies involved in buying, selling, importing, and exporting hemp and Hemp CBD around the world. We assist these companies with their international transactions and navigate the import and export issues they face.

With the guidance of our Hemp CBD business attorneys, you can rest easy knowing your business is doing all it can to comply with these complex and evolving laws, allowing you to push your business full speed ahead.

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Understand your rights, responsibilities, and opportunities everywhere you operate.

Follow our Canna Law Blog for in-depth analysis and up-to-the-minute information on the laws and issues affecting the cannabis industry.

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Get in Touch with Our Hemp / CBD Law Team

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Our Clients' Successes

“Harris Sliwoski expertly guided us through the formation of our company. They continue to assist with necessary registrations and compliance with numerous regulations. They were able to promptly answer all our many questions and provide understandable options, explanations and practical advice. We expect to continue to use Harris Sliwoski on a regular basis as our company expands. They were also able to introduce us other professional experts. We would not hesitate to recommend Harris Sliwoski to any companies in need of legal advice.”

user icon Three Continents Foods LLC

This law firm was a huge help as our company went through the process of commercial licensing in the California cannabis industry.  They have helped us with a variety of legal issues in a timely fashion, while clearly communicating with us throughout the process.  Everyone we’ve worked with at Harris Sliwoski is an expert in their field and we have always felt that we were in good hands through our legal representation.

user icon Wil Crummer, CEO PRO Farms

Legal stuff is always scary. And I’ve had to play offense a couple times, begrudgingly. To have Harris Sliwoski have my back? It made things a lot less prickly. They quickly walked me through my options, and were refreshingly consistent in their communications, timing and billing. I’ve been lucky to stay out of the legal side of things my whole career, thankfully. When things went a little wrong, Harris Sliwoski quickly made things right.

user icon Aaron Draplin, Founder Draplin Design Co.

I am impressed with this law firm. They answered all my questions regarding cannabis businesses and the California cannabis framework, and they have helped me with a variety of legal issues in a timely fashion, while always clearly communicating with us throughout the process. They also redirected me to other quality people for my business needs. Everyone I worked with at Harris Sliwoski is an expert in their field, and I was in good hands throughout my legal representation.

user icon Corey T., CEO Thinc Cubed, LLC

I have been working with the lawyers at Harris Sliwoski for more than 20 years both as a business owner and as an executive at a large east-coast health system and that is because they have always efficiently provided high level and clear international law advice. Most recently, Harris Sliwoski provided legal support on many matters related to procuring medical products worldwide. Their support was particularly helpful to during the onset of COVID, when there was a big need for securing PPE quickly, all while navigating complicated international and domestic legal requirements. Harris Sliwoski’s team of international lawyers helped by conducting rapid-fire due diligence on potential suppliers, navigating the legal logistics for getting product from overseas and through U.S. customs, and drafting contracts to protect against various sorts of horribles. They did this by essentially providing what amounted to 24/7 service. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

user icon Dan Pak Hospital Supply Chain Executive

Harris Sliwoski has represented our company in the legal cannabis industry for years. Harris Sliwoski has advised us in a wide variety of legal matters, and they are truly experts in their field. I would highly recommend Harris Sliwoski to anyone with questions about cannabis law, or any legal matters. They have been great for our Company, and will continue to guide us as our industry evolves

user icon Matt Hurt, COO Cannabis Nation

You won’t find a better partner than Harris Sliwoski when trying to navigate the complex world of healthcare regulations.  They not only give sound and reliable legal advice, but they are also very responsive and are able to guide you in a way that helps you reach your business objectives as well.

user icon Joseph Axelrod, General Counsel Irwin Naturals

When we started the process of building a ‘seed to sale’ cannabis company in Oregon, we saw the need for expert legal counsel.  The cannabis sector is fraught with potential peril at every turn, and we wanted the best legal advice we could find.  After talking to several firms and individuals, we feel extremely fortunate to have chosen Harris Sliwoski as our legal counsel.

user icon Tony Theiss, CEO and Co-Founder Redbarn Cannabis 

We use Harris Sliwoski on all our international legal matters, including on our international litigation matters. We have over the last few years been involved in a couple big international legal disputes and Harris Sliwoski’s international dispute resolution team provided us with expert legal assistance on both matters. They were always very careful to explain to us what they were doing and why and what their actions would likely cost us in legal fees. Most importantly, we did extremely well on both cases and I have no doubt Harris Sliwoski was a big factor in that.

user icon Kevin English, CEO We Are Camp

We have used Harris Sliwoski for legal help related to our international manufacturing. The lawyers with whom I worked had extensive familiarity with the international legal issues involved in our various projects and offered us key insights. I particularly appreciated how they always quickly and efficiently do what they say they will do and always within their cost estimates.

user icon Andrea Barona Valladolid, Senior Legal Counsel Fairphone

Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled answers to our clients’ most often-asked questions to help you learn more.

Do the Same Laws Apply to Hemp, Cannabis and CBD Products?

No. Cannabis is regulated much differently than hemp, CBD and other cannabinoid products. Further, each U.S. state has its own set of laws surrounding cannabis, and many different local statutes also apply. International cannabis laws can be even more challenging to interpret and navigate successfully. The best solution is to consult with a Harris Sliwoski attorney about your unique business needs. We have the global cannabis expertise to provide effective legal guidance for your situation.