CBD products are used to treat anxiety, stress, and pain. There is no doubt that you can make a great profit selling CBD products. But how do you get started? Navigate the legalities of selling CBD oil online in this complete guide to marketing CBD products and shipping ecommerce store orders. In Canada, only licensed producers of marijuana are allowed to sell CBD products.
Do You Have To Have A License To Sell CBD?
CBD products are used to treat anxiety, stress, and pain. There is no doubt that you can make a great profit selling CBD products. But how do you get started? Do you have to have a license to sell CBD?
You do not need a license to sell CBD products. However, you must form a business such as an LLC and acquire a resale license if you purchase CBD products from wholesalers. You can legally sell CBD if the oil is sourced from industrial hemp and the THC content of the product is below 0.3%.
Let’s explore the sale of CBD and the requirements to sell these products legally. Learn more about the top three states where the sale of CBD products is skyrocketing, and understand some key factors regarding starting a CBD business. There are important rules and regulations CBD sellers must abide by to run their business smoothly.
Table of Contents
Do You Have To Have a License To Sell CBD?
It is legal to sell CBD products without CBD-related licenses. However, businesses are still required to obtain a business license, and, if you plan to purchase CBD from wholesalers, you need a resale license. These two licenses are mandatory whether you have a walk-in or an online store.
Prospective CBD sellers must research the requirements of selling CBD products since the regulations can vary, depending on the state. However, the sale of CBD hemp products is legal if you comply with the rules and regulations as set out in the 2018 Farm Bill regulations.
Hemp-extract CBD products should contain no more than 0.3% THC. CBD products with more than 0.3% THC are considered to be marijuana and possession of them is a federal crime. 
States With the Most CBD Sales and How To Get the Licenses
It cannot be stressed enough that there is a big market for CBD, and businesses selling these products are growing and expanding daily to accommodate their customers. California, Florida, and New York are the states with the most cannabidiol sales in the US.  Here is how you can acquire a license to sell CBD in these three states:
How To Get a CBD License in California
It is mandatory in California to acquire a state license (which allows you to run a CBD establishment) before operating a CBD business. The state also requires approval from your local jurisdiction or proof that you received a Conditional Use Permit. 
If the local jurisdiction forbids trading cannabis, it will not provide the licenses. Knowing the state laws and regulations is necessary since they often change, so make sure you obtain the correct permits and licenses if you want to sell CBD in California.
After implementing the 2018 Farm Bill, California instituted the AB 228 Bill, which affirms the legal status of hemp-derived cannabis and CBD without limitation. Nevertheless, this bill prohibits the sale of unregulated CBD products that do not adhere to the FDA cannabis regulations.
How To Get a CBD License in Florida
Florida does not require a license to consume CBD hemp products, but licensing is necessary if sellers grow and sell CBD hemp products. If you plan to sell edible CBD products, you must obtain a food establishment permit. 
You may also be required to register for additional licenses if you sell frozen or dairy products. Cultivating hemp plants means you must be willing to provide your fingerprints, transportation plans, and environmental containment plans, and obey hemp cultivation site statutes.
How To Get a CBD License in New York
To sell CBD hemp goods in New York, you must apply for a Cannabidiol Hemp Retail License. You can easily apply for the license via the New York Business Express website. 
Distributors of CBD hemp products require a Cannabinoid Hemp Distributor Permit before selling and distributing CBD produced outside of New York to CBD hemp retailers. This requirement guarantees that all outside CBD products meet the requirements of the Cannabinoid Hemp Program. 
What About Delta 8
Delta 8 is made from CBD, so you may be wondering if your CBD license will work for delta 8. Many but not all states have similar licensing rules for delta 8 as CBD. Follow this link if you’re wondering, “do I need a license to sell delta 8?”
States That Prohibit Hemp- and Marijuana-Based CBD Products
Unfortunately, in nine US states, you are not allowed to start a CBD business. All states have their own Controlled Substance Act (CSA), but these nine states prohibit the sale of CBD products, making it illegal to consume or distribute CBD products in that state. These states are:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
You must have a valid reason to use cannabis products, including CBD, which means you can only use them for medical purposes in these states. Doctors who approve the use of cannabis and CBD will provide you with a licensed medical card for purchases. In these nine states, you cannot obtain licenses to sell CBD online or in-store. 
The remaining states have legalized the sale and purchase of CBD products, allowing businesses to open CBD stores and pharmacies to sell CBD. In these states, you can possess, buy, and use hemp-based products without restrictions. Products that can be legally sold in these states include hemp capsules and CBD oils.
However, states such as Nebraska and Michigan are in the process of making regulatory decisions and evaluating the 2018 Farm Bill changes. Therefore, sellers and consumers in these states cannot open or purchase CBD products from stores, but luckily consumers can legally buy CBD from online retailers.
Essential Licenses That May Be Required To Sell CBD
It is mandatory to obtain a license to sell CBD hemp products in some states. If you have a CBD store in one of these states, it is important to familiarize yourself with what you need to acquire when establishing a business: 
- Tax ID Number – An Employer Identification Number is a tax ID number that assists the IRS in recognizing your business for tax-related matters.
- Business License – We have already established that a business license is required to operate your CBD business. The license is renewed annually and is proof that your business is legally allowed to operate in the country. Though this license has nothing to do with selling CBD, it is required for all businesses.
- Business Formation – A business formation with the state aids in protecting potential liabilities and debts that may occur. It also protects your personal assets.
- Sales Tax Permit – When collecting local sales and state taxes, you must have a permit.
- Permits – Businesses need different permits depending on the products and services they offer. For example, a CBD business might need a permit from the health department if they sell food or treats.
How To Obtain a CBD Certification
A CBD certification signifies that the CBD products you sell to your customers have been third-party tested, are safe to consume and use, comply with FDA regulations, and adhere to the legal level of THC (0.3%). This certification assures buyers that the CBD is of a high standard.
If your business complies with the certification requirements, you will get a stamp of approval featured on all your CBD-infused goods and/or your CBD website. Many organizations, such as NSF, US Hemp Authority, and BSCG, provide sellers with CBD certifications. Let’s look at one top-rated organization that can thoroughly assist you:
LegalScript for CBD Certification
LegalScript is meticulous when it comes to product credibility. The organization evaluates and ensures that you have the necessary documentation to start the application process for running a CBD business. 
Sellers must prove that their CBD products meet the federal and state regulations to be certified, and product labeling should accurately state that the goods contain CBD. To meet the standards of LegalScript’s certification process, you must always be transparent with customers and regulators.
The content of the products must not consist of ingredients that LegalScript has prohibited. To have the LegalScript stamp on your CBD website, your domain name must be clear and accurate and not be privacy-protected. Your website must be simple and easy to navigate so that customers can easily find your contact information and location of your CBD store (if applicable).
LegalScript only allows applicants to market LegalScript-certified CBD goods. There are numerous standards CBD sellers must be willing to meet, including agreeing to on-site inspections by LegalScript, supplying unexpired and usable samples for testing, and consenting to background and history checks for criminal offenses or civil violations.
You can simply apply on the LegalScript website to create an account and pay the once-off application fee (the annual subscription fee is only payable after sellers have been successfully certified).  Applicants must complete a questionnaire (you can return to the questionnaire anytime you want), and the LegalScript team will review it.
LegalScript may ask for additional information, underline flaws in the application, and have CBD sample products at their disposal for testing. Once the grueling process ends, you pay the subscription fee and become certified.
It is important to have all the required documents ready before starting the application process, be completely clear and truthful in the questionnaire, quickly respond to the company’s requests, and instantly pay the subscription fee.
Investing in CBD certification is costly. Be prepared to pay a substantial fee for LegalScript’s services.
|Total of CBD Products||Application Cost Per Product||Annual Monitoring Cost Per Product|
|CBD Website||Once-Off Application Fee Per Website||Annual Fee Per Website|
Disadvantages That CBD Businesses Face
CBD businesses must deal with a few hurdles that other companies typically do not face. So, consider these challenges before you make your final decision to sell CBD products: 
- Insurance – CBD businesses have difficulty finding affordable and quality insurance. Even though it’s legal to sell CBD and hemp products, insurance for such a business is expensive. Many people are not adequately educated about CBD and hemp products, making certain aspects of running the business challenging.
- Banking – Another challenge for CBD sellers is access to reliable banking services. Banks are hesitant to provide services and capital to CBD businesses due to the probability of facing issues and risks associated with CBD sales. Owners of CBD companies face unexpected hurdles because they may have to switch to another bank or deal with the sudden closure of merchant accounts. These problems can be time-consuming and interfere with day-to-day work tasks.
- Payment Processing – Recently, Visa announced that it would not do business with CBD companies and sellers. Payment processors ask for hefty fees. A few of the best payment processors include Mastercard, Discover, SMB Global, PayWize, and USAePay.
- Funding and Resources – Funding and resources are difficult to acquire from banks, mainly because banks believe the CBD business is too perilous and there are no apparent regulatory requirements. Sellers have turned to outside investors or willing lenders to obtain the desperately needed growth capital.
The CBD industry is booming. You can make a large profit from selling these products. California, Florida, and New York are the states that have the most CBD sales. If you are opening your own CBD business, research the requirements of the state where you plan to sell the products. Not all states have favorable laws regarding the sale of CBD.
There is no specific license required to sell CBD products; however, a business license, sales tax permit, business formation, other permits, and a tax ID number may be necessary to obtain. A resale license is required if you’re planning to resell CBD products from wholesalers. There are no definite costs for the permits, licenses, or additional paperwork necessary for CBD sales.
How to Sell CBD Online: Information and Tips on Selling CBD From Home
The cannabis industry continues to legalize and explode before our eyes. And it didn’t take long for its more legal archetype, Cannabidiols (otherwise known as CBD), to become a hot commodity.
You can find CBD products in nearly every large retailer these days, including Walgreens, CVS, Ulta, and even teen brands like American Eagle and Abercrombie & Fitch. But just as fast, it’s become a viable ecommerce solution for those who want to sell and buy it online.
If you follow ecommerce product trends, you know that CBD is everywhere — for humans, for pets, in your drinks, in your chapstick. It seems as though there is CBD-infused everything.
Of course, it’s not as simple as throwing up a website and watching the buyers flood in. If you decide to sell CBD at all — let alone online — you’ll face a complicated industry with complex legal and marketing challenges.
Before you start selling CBD products online, you should know exactly what to expect and how to prepare. Read on to get the full rundown on how to navigate building a CBD income stream in today’s climate.
Note: This article is solely for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice.
What is CBD?
You may hear CBD being described as “cannabis oil but without THC,” and that’s close but not entirely accurate. CBD, or Cannabidiol if you’re using the scientific term, is an active component of Cannabis — a small, effective part of the larger whole.
Cannabis is made up of different cannabinoids. Cannabidiol is one of them. According to users, this is the ingredient that helps alleviate an array of symptoms, including pain, anxiety, and even epileptic seizures.
What helped CBD boom into its own segment of the larger cannabis market though is the fact that it doesn’t contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the ingredient in cannabis that causes the widely-known psychological effects: the euphoria, short-term memory loss, increase in appetite, paranoia, and more.
THC is the ingredient that many governments around the world have fought to keep illegal, whereas CBD is the ingredient that simply acts as a natural medicine without any psychological effects.
Because of this, CBD is ahead of the game in the cannabis industry in the sense that it’s more widely accepted and legalized — in most cases.
The CBD market is booming
The number one rule of going into business is “Go where the market is.” One clear way to tell that is by gauging where consumers are already spending their money.
You might look at the explosive evolution that the CBD industry has undergone in the past couple of years and find yourself intimidated by market saturation and competition. Fret not — there are still plenty of pieces of the pie for everyone who wants to try and partake.
Just how big is the opportunity, exactly?
The CBD market is worth billions
The CBD industry is projected to be worth $20 billion by 2024. To put this into perspective, ice cream was only worth $2.27 billion in 2018. CBD is well on its way to being a household item for frequent buyers who will come back again and again as long as you can fulfill the product.
But it’s not that simple. What about the legalities of selling CBD products?
New legal terms for CBD oil
CBD has definitely undergone its share of legalization battles and still has some opposition, but there has been major progress along the way. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp production across the US, which is great for sellers because CBD is produced from industrial hemp.
The bill essentially states that as long as your CBD product has less than 0.3% THC in it, you’re free to sell it, with caution.
Legality of selling CBD
For obvious reasons, the legalization of CBD has been widely disputed across the board. As long as it’s a controversial topic, you’ll want to prescribe to your favorite news channels and set up alerts for updates to CBD laws. With that being said, a plethora of laws have been put in place that you need to be aware of, both federally and at the state-level.
In the United States, there aren’t any concerns at the moment other than making sure your products contain less than 0.3% THC. CBD is otherwise legal nationally. It is recommended that you stay aware of the state of legalization as laws can always be overturned.
It’s worth noting that the FDA has stepped in on occasion to call out unapproved products that market false health claims.
Statewide laws will of course vary by state. Some states allow marijuana-produced CBD, while others only allow industrial hemp-produced CBD. Your best bet is to simply sell the industrial hemp-sourced CBD, as it won’t have high THC levels and is accepted across the nation. Otherwise, you’ll want to get in touch with local representatives or research laws in your state to see what you’re allowed to sell.
From that information, build a list of products that you know are legal for you to sell and stick with your regular inventory to avoid any legal mishaps.
How to start selling CBD oil online
Once you’ve dialed in your legal allowances, it’s time to start setting up shop. There is a simple game plan you can follow to get set up and start selling online. From there, you can start refining your product, marketing, and ecommerce fulfillment strategies to grow your business.
1. Obtain licenses
In order to sell CBD, you’ll need to get a couple of licenses. One is a business license. Usually, small businesses go for an LLC. Research your preference at your local government website. Registration usually costs about $100 in most cases.
You’ll also want to get a resale license if you plan to purchase your product from wholesalers. Much like business licenses, resale licenses and permits are handled at the state-level, which can be handled differently state-to-state. Discover what your state requirements are to determine if you need a resale license and how to acquire one.
2. Find a certified supplier
You’ll want to find a reputable supplier that will sell you high-quality products (such as tinctures, oils, hemp products, and more) and is also certified to sell by the state or federally. They’ll also need to get regular tests performed by third-parties to make sure the quality is assured and you’re selling quality products. Many CBD companies have their own hemp farms.
3. Build your website
Now that you have the paperwork and selection process out of the way, it’s time to build your website. First, you need a domain name (or a “www.yoursitename.com” web address).
One of the most popular platforms to buy domains from is GoDaddy.com. But you can just as easily get your domain name from most web building platforms. There’s no shortage of platforms out there that make it incredibly easy for you to build an ecommerce site.
For example, BigCommerce offers full-featured solutions for merchants of all sizes, with no additional fees for selecting your own payment gateway.
Be careful to cover the terms of service and community policy to make sure you’re advertising and selling your products within the boundaries set by the platform.
You’ll need to find reliable credit card payment processing, which can be tricky for CBD products as the payment gateway landscape has been changing a lot in this industry.
CBD is not currently approved by all payment processors (e.g., PayPal), so you’ll need to make sure you’re working with a company that can do this. Note: Credit card fees with CBD gateways may vary by merchant based on a risk assessment done by the processor.
4. Market your CBD products
Now that your website is live, it’s time to bring in the buyers. You might think the “build it and they will come” mantra rings true here. Sorry to say, that’s not the case.
In a land where it’s difficult to market CBD using a lot of popular methods (as Facebook Ads, YouTube Ads, and other common ecommerce marketing channels ban these products from their advertising platforms), there are still two viable options that have the potential to bring in a lot of profit if you play your hand right.
The first is SEO, or the art and science of getting Google to rank your site above others in search results to show potential buyers your website first. In order to succeed with SEO, you’ll want to get an SEO professional to audit your site. They can make sure that Google views things like your site speed, meta data, image optimization and other components favorably. These things help Google trust that your website is worthy to show visitors.
You’ll also want to start a blog, master the skill of keyword research, and put out fresh content that captures the intent of what people are searching for. Make sure you’re targeting terms that bring in potential buyers and not just visitors looking for information on the topic.
Once you start getting organic website visitors through your SEO efforts, you’ll want to start an email list and use your website to grow it. In exchange for an email address, you can offer discounts or even free informational PDFs and trainings on CBD.
When visitors provide their email address for your freebies, they’re giving you permission to nurture the relationship and inform them of more promotions moving forward (e.g., having a sitewide sell for 4/20 or a Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal).
You can also look elsewhere and try partnering with marketplaces like CBD Oils, Ganjapreneur, and Pot.com, or CBD-specific ad platforms like Traffic Roots.
5. Fulfill and ship customer orders
You’ll need a system for warehousing your CBD products and managing inventory over time. When you’re first getting started, this may be done in your home. After experiencing growth, you’ll want to expand into a fulfillment center by either signing a warehouse lease or outsourcing fulfillment.
Just make sure your fulfillment technology syncs up well with your ecommerce platform, payment processor, and other software. For example, ShipBob is tech-enabled fulfillment company with warehouses across the US to help you spend less time worrying about packing and shipping orders and more time on growing your brand.
“Our fulfillment is on autopilot. ShipBob saves us so much effort, and the opportunity cost savings has been substantial. ShipBob’s platform is easy to use and navigate, the interface is intuitive, and the analytics are very clearly laid out. Today, our health and wellness brand sells three CBD products in the United States.”
Yannick Crespo, Co-Founder & President of Pot d’Huile
Take CBD company Nature’s Ultra. Last year, they started to experience a surge in orders. They were managing CBD shipping and logistics themselves but didn’t understand just how massive and difficult retail fulfillment was. They were getting so deep into the logistics and supply chain side that they didn’t have time to focus on their core products.
They knew they’d be doubling and then quickly tripling their order volume, so they wanted to get help on the front-end to ensure a long-term relationship with a lot of room for scalability. They searched for companies that could give them something similar to Amazon’s delivery capabilities for their website orders, so they partnered with ShipBob.
“Now that we’re working with ShipBob, we can easily ship to all 50 US states with ease. We use ShipBob’s fulfillment centers in Dallas, Texas, Chicago, Illinois, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. They help us to maximize our shipping and ultimately our growth potential.”
Andrew Hardy, COO of Nature’s Ultra
Challenges of selling CBD online
Once you get your CBD store up and running, you will likely face a new set of challenges as you grow. Here are a few considerations to help you break through the crowded space and set your business up for success.
Standing out in the market
In a saturated market, you must consider your competitors. Think through the following:
- Which keywords are your competitors ranking for and how can you write better content to outrank them?
- What kinds of products are they providing and how can you stand apart?
- What can you do differently from your competition that your customers will love?
Think through the entire customer experience to uncover where you can differentiate, whether that’s selling unique products, providing custom packaging or a branded insert, or even offering free 2-day shipping.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll want to go through the proper state channels to figure out what your regulations are so you can abide by them. Your best bet is to take inventory of any regulations, rules, and restrictions, and create company policies around them to make sure you’re following them. With the industry continuing to evolve, be sure to stay updated on these regulations.
As selling CBD becomes more widely accepted, you may eventually be able to sell internationally, ship to other countries, and build out an international shipping strategy. In the mean time, don’t ship products to destinations where they’re not allowed.
Without the proper support and systems in place it can become really difficult to fulfill your orders especially as demand picks up. When you can no longer go at it by yourself, you’ll need to find a solution that will ensure you’re able to deliver the products your customers buy in a timely fashion.
“We place considerable expectations and pressure on shipping so we can get close to what Amazon does. With ShipBob, 100% of our orders are going out via 2-day shipping. We see that people are far more likely to order and keep ordering from us when 2-Day Express Shipping Program is an option.”
Andrew Hardy, COO of Nature’s Ultra
Ecommerce shipping can be very challenging and order fulfillment boils down to three common options. What works for one business may be cost-prohibitive or inefficient for another.
There are plenty of CBD brands that fulfill orders by themselves. They keep inventory at home and run to the post office, or use local warehouse space to pack and ship each order by investing in the infrastructure and running operations. This option is often best when getting started or if order volume isn’t too much to handle. As your store grows, you need to scale seamlessly and find a more streamlined solution.
Dropshipping is when a manufacturer handles both product procurement and shipping orders. All you do is market the product without touching inventory. This can work well for some products, but is often difficult for CBD oil because you have less control over quality, product selection, and speed of shipment.
3PL (third-party logistics) solutions
3PLs are a happy medium as you don’t have to purchase land or hire a team to pack boxes, but you still have control over selecting a manufacturer. The 3PL is the middleman that stores your inventory close to your end consumers, while helping you quickly and seamlessly get the products shipped out.
“We were shipping a dozen orders per day, and now we ship hundreds per day. ShipBob has allowed us to scale up and become successful — we have gone from $70,000 in sales in 2018 to over $7 million in sales in 2019. When it comes to delivery, accuracy and timing are the most important to us, and ShipBob helps us execute on that.”
Andrew Hardy, COO of Nature’s Ultra
Starting an online CBD business might have some legal and marketing challenges involved, but with the growth of the industry and continued legalization, now is the time to get in. Since it’s still a young industry, you can still get ahead of the curve.
Already running a CBD store or anticipating a huge launch? Get in touch to learn how ShipBob can handle your CBD fulfillment so you can focus on your brand — not packing boxes . Request fulfillment pricing today.
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.
Do you Need a License to Sell CBD Products in Canada
For many years people were unaware of the therapeutic use of cannabis. CBD wasn’t considered well in the past because of its psychotic effects which are mainly because of content THC. But with time more researches were conducted and CBD was found to be of great therapeutic benefit and gaining popularity worldwide.
CBD Products and the Canadian Law
CBD is legal in Canada as per ACMPR (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation) for registered medical patients. In Canada, only licensed producers of marijuana are allowed to sell CBD products. Another source of obtaining Cannabis is industrial hemp. Industrial hemp contains less to almost no THC. Hemp-derived cannabis also falls under ACMPR. CBD obtained from whichever source either marijuana or industrial hemp is currently under prescription only cases.
License to Sell CBD Product in Canada
Cannabis and cannabis containing products are subjected to the Cannabis Act for rules and regulations. A processing license is required for manufacturing and to sell of CBD products in Canada for both sources of marijuana and industrial hemp.
The Cannabis Act and CBD regulations provide a framework for accessing cannabis legally in a controlled manner for adults. Not only this it is also helpful for regulating the manufacturing, production, distribution, and sale of cannabis in Canada. This framework bound the person to obtain a license from Health Canada for various activities related to cannabis.
License Application Process
For the categories of licenses, the information required in the application is in the document cannabis licensing application guide which serves as a guide for the individual and business entity who wish to sell CBD in Canada.
The licensing of requirement from Health Canada is mandatory for the following CBD activities,
Small, large scale business owner to grow cannabis for the purpose of sale
Producing CBD products
Selling CBD product for medical purpose
Doing research and testing with the CBD
Health Canada provides the licensing facility in the following category,
Cultivation of cannabis
Processing of cannabis
Sale for medicinal purpose
Testing and research
License for selling Cannabis-derived from industrial hemp
Form of product that is made from seeds and oil containing no or fewer phytocannabinoids. No licenses are required if the THC content is less than 10µg/gas per industrial hemp regulation for wholesale selling.
For products made from leaves, branches, and flowers like CBD oil. License is required for the sale to retailers either processing or cultivation licenses. For sale to consumers, a provincial or territorial license is required and for sale to medical users, medical sales license of cannabis is required.
Author – Noah Nicholls
Noah Nicholls is a full-time Writer, Traveler, and Marketing Expert who is Currently Working for CBD-Boxes. Noah Nicholls writing relates to a range of subjects such as CBD and health.