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The challenge of shipping Cbd products

The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill Act, means that some CBD products can be shipped.

An important distinction must be drawn between hemp and marijuana, both of which derive from the Cannabis plant and contain CBD but are regulated differently. While we cover this in greater detail at the bottom of this page, the key distinction lies in the amount of THC present in the end-product: less than 0.3% THC by dry weight is hemp, more than that level is marijuana. It is the former category, products made from hemp, that can now be shipped under certain conditions.

This was previously not the case, with this the first federal legislation legalizing hemp and removing Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Schedule I restrictions. The latter made hemp a controlled substance. This designation has now been lifted but challenges remain for any party involved in shipping CBD products.

The 2018 Farm Bill points as related to CBD and hemp are as follows:

  • Removed hemp’s low amounts of THC from the Controlled Substances Act;
  • Allows the U.S. Department of Agriculture to regulate the crop like any other agricultural commodity;
  • Permits hemp products to be introduced into interstate commerce.
  • Allows hemp production in all 50 states for any use, including flower production and CBD or other cannabinoid extraction;
  • Allows interstate commerce for hemp and hemp-derived CBD

Capacity solves your cBd fulfilment needs

CBD fulfillment is an emerging market with developing regulations and challenges. It's our job to get you over those hurdles, handling the intricacies of processing and shipping your CBD orders so that you can get on with growing your brand.

Capacity understands the value of a trusted brand with a reputation for exceeding expectations. It's the quality that brought us to the attention of leading beauty, health and wellness brands, and what positions us to lead the field as the marketplace for CBD products grows. Our experience shipping both food-grade products and hazardous materials sets the standard for the kind of partnership you can expect with Capacity in your corner.

We strive to be the ideal partner for scaling your CBD business. With decades in the fulfillment business, we deliver industry-leading proprietary technology and a passionate team, from engineering and IT to operations and customer service experts.

The questions
you need answered

Can all of the national U.S. parcel carriers (DHL, Fed Ex, UPS and the USPS) ship CBD oil and other hemp products?

All of the national carriers are allowed to ship CBD products, but to date only UPS and the U.S. Postal Service do. Both carriers allow customers to ship CBD oils and other products provided they meet the following criteria:

  • All products shipped must contain less than a 0.3% THC level (anything more is considered by the government to be marijuana, which would make shipping it illegal)
  • Shippers must ensure they are compliant with all federal, state and local laws, including those pertaining to the production, processing, distribution and sales of hemp
  • Shippers must maintain compliance documentation that shows they are compliant with the above laws for two years
  • UPS requires that you state where your raw materials (hemp plants or cannabis plants) grew and how they were processed in the manufacturing of the end product
  • UPS and the U.S. Postal Service require verification of who shipped the product to the supplier and how that supplier got it to the customer

FedEx Hemp Guidance

On January 20, 2020, FedEx updated its terms and conditions to allow the shipment of hemp-derived CBD products that contain no more than than 0.3% THC. It continues to ban the shipment of the following:

  • Marijuana, as defined by U.S. federal law, 21 U.S.C. 802(16), including marijuana intended for recreational or medicinal use and marijuana-derived cannabidiol (CBD); any product with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis, except as set out in 21 CFR 1308.35; and synthetic cannabinoids.
  • Raw or unrefined hemp plants, or their subparts (including, but not limited to, hemp stalks, hemp leaves, hemp flowers and hemp seeds), except as set out in 21 CFR 1308.35

UPS Hemp Guidance

UPS does not permit the shipping of hemp in plant form. It does accept products made from hemp (including 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.”

Doesn’t the USPS also require some additional documentation?

No, the U.S. Postal Service required all companies shipping CBD oil to include a signed statement printed on their letterhead that committed them to the False Statements Act. But on June 6, 2019 they released their most recent guideline no longer making that a requirement.

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.

In general, food-grade products need to be stored at a food-grade warehousing facility, such as Capacity, 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 CBD oil and other CBD-infused products are indeed subject to change. This is, after all, the hemp/CBD industry.

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

When it comes to shipping CBD oils and related products, you should know that the laws and regulations are constantly changing. As a logistics partner, Capacity is continuously monitoring these changes and prepared to change operations and practices to meet the latest requirements.

In which countries are CBD products legal?

CBD products are legal in the following countries, typically as long as they’re extracted from industrial hemp and generally contain less than 0.2 percent THC.

It is best to research the laws governing the importation of CBD products for each country prior to shipment to assure that you have the latest information. Please note that shipping cannabidiol oil or products internationally may run into complications depending on the current regulations in specific countries.

United Kingdom
South Korea

Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Hong Kong


Republic of Slovenia
South Africa
Virgin Islands
New Zealand

Banned in These Countries:
United Arab Emirates

Limited Usage in These Countries:

The difference between

Hemp and Marijuana

While the market for CBD products is inextricably linked to the cannabis industry, there are important differences to note between the primary ingredients, hemp and marijuana.
Cannabis itself refers to the plant genus from which products are derived, which falls into three primary species: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis. Technically-speaking, hemp and marijuana are cultural terms that don't actually describe the cannabis plant.
Hemp refers to forms of cannabis that, by their dry weight, contain 0.3% or less THC content. In general use, hemp is the term applied to describe non-intoxicating cannabis that is harvested for products across many categories, such as rope, clothing, and even housing materials.
Marijuana refers to forms of cannabis that, by their dry weight, contain more than 0.3% THC content. In contrast to hemp, this higher content can be intoxicating and prompt effects that alter the mental state of those using products derived from marijuana. For historic reasons, the industry is generally not in favor of the name marijuana and experts opt for alternative terms that describe specific strains and products.
While there are other differences between the two terms that are worth exploring, for fulfillment and regulatory ends the variation in THC content is the primary distinction. This is the factor that most affects shipping CBD products and the regulations that Capacity continues to monitor so that your products get to customers on-time and uninterrupted.