#112 – The Current Status of CBD Laws and Regulations with Cannabis Lawyer, Rod Kight

December 10, 2019

December 12, 2019 • 40:02 minutes

#112 – The Current Status of CBD and Cannabis Laws With Attorney, Rod Kight

Rod Kight is an attorney, author, and advocate who represents businesses in the cannabis industry in the US and internationally. He consults, assists with strategic planning, advises on compliance issues, and offers a full array of business services to the cannabis sector, including hemp, CBD and other cannabinoids, medical marijuana, and adult use marijuana. He also drafts legislation for governments and promote cannabis in lawful international markets. He is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and Oregon. 

Summary Keywords

cbd, state, hemp, people, lawyer, rod, consumer, products, fda, employer, law, thc, cannabis, rules, companies, legal, podcast, licensed, issue, drug testing, compliance


Vadim Fedorovsky, Host, CBD School Podcast
Rod Kight, CBD and Cannabis Specialization Lawyer

Podcast Transcript


Vadim  00:11

All right. And we are back in class. This is Vadim, the CBD professor from cbdschool.com: Your school to learn all about cannabidiol. On today’s episode of the podcast, I am delighted to be joined again, I think, for the third time if I’m not mistaken, at least the second time I know for sure, by CBD and cannabis specialization lawyer, Rod Kight. So welcome to the show, Rod.

Rod  00:46

Vadim, it’s good to be back. And I think it might be three times, but definitely two. So it’s always good to speak with you and always nice to be on your podcast. 

Vadim  00:53

You were my second ever podcast in my life.

Rod  00:57

Oh, really? I’m so sorry. 

Vadim  00:59

No, you were really good. You were really good.

Rod  01:02 

Oh, good. No, that was fun. I remember that one, for sure. 

Vadim  01:04

It was great. It was such a good learning experience. And before we get into the topic of today’s podcast, which is obviously going to be related to the legal mess of CBD, hemp and cannabis in the United States, primarily, but we’ll probably touch on the world a little bit, I want to let everyone know that Rod is a lawyer and this is what he gets paid to do. So you’re going to be hearing a lot of good information in this podcast. But you know, the devil is in the details and many of you listening are going to need more from him, and the best way to do that is to get in touch with him. So Rod, I’d like to allow you to just tell people what’s the easiest way for people to get in touch and retain your services? 

Rod  01:02 

Sure. Thanks, Vadim. So it’s Rod Kight, KIGHT, and the Kight Law Office. And probably the easiest way is to go to our website, which is cannabusiness.law.  But you can reach out to me directly by email. rod@kightlaw.com, KIGHTLAW.com. So the firm, we represent businesses in the cannabis industry with a focus on hemp and CBD. We have clients across the country and even some clients outside the US. And I’m in North Carolina. I’m licensed in North Carolina in Oregon. And there are several attorneys that work with the firm and they live throughout the country and are licensed in various states. So we really try to cover the bases there. 

And you know, you’re right, I really try to provide as much general information as I can. I love speaking with smart and engaging people like you, Vadim, about cannabis and hemp and CBD issues and to try to spread the good word. When we get down to the nitty gritty, everybody’s business is a little bit different and their issues and the facts and whatnot that they face are different. And so you know, if you get to a place where you know the general information, but you need to apply it to your circumstances, that’s where a lawyer comes in handy. And we’re happy to help and speak with you. 

Vadim  02:59

Exactly. And I’ll make sure to put all that information in the show notes for everybody. So just relax and enjoy the show and take in this information. I think you said it very well, Rod, that when I’ve done my own legal research on any topic, whether it’s my taxes or CBD, you can get a lot of general information from blogs and good resources. But when it gets to the nitty gritty, everybody’s case is different. And that’s when you actually need to retain a lawyer. So I encourage people to reach out to Rod after you listen to this podcast, and he will help you with your specific case. 

So let’s give people some background on how we set up this talk. Because I emailed you — you’ve obviously been in touch for years, but I emailed you because I was trying to publish an end-all, be-all article on CBD laws by state. I was actually updating the article, myself and my main writer. We were trying to create this piece that would encompass everything and you told me I actually wanted to retain you to —  I’m sure many people try to even give feedback or actually evaluate the piece for fact checking, and you said — well, what did you say? Let’s tell them.

Rod  02:59

Well, I don’t have the email for me. But what I remember is just saying, well, this is, you know, an ambitious project. And in fact, it may be something that’s not doable — at least within the parameters of what we’re talking about and it’s gonna take considerable time. And that’s just because of the place as to where, you know, where CBD law and hemp law is In the United States. There’s lots of conflicting laws, there’s lots of laws at the state level and at the federal level and there’s gray areas and there’s some nuances so you have to sort of qualify whatever you say, but I do remember you being such a good sport, Vadim, and you know, I think people who have dealt with me in writing situations, I must have been an editor in a past life. I sort of clicked on this into editorial mode and I just kind of jumped right in and and you took it all very well and followed up and here we are talking about it. So I think it was good, you know, you sending that email was a really good trigger for us to chat and sort of hash things out. 

Is CBD Legal in the United States?

Vadim  05:04

I think there’s certain things that can be expressed better with speech than in writing and vice versa. And when there’s a lot of nuance, I think it’s easier sometimes with speech to clarify things. So maybe we can talk about it from the side of people who are using CBD. Because the people who are selling CBD, they’re going to be retaining someone like yourself, because in their case, they’re either importing it or they’re doing something like state lines, or they’re growing it in one place and then processing it in another place and then selling it all across the country. So every business has their own story. But for CBD users, so can we blanket answer that question across the country. For people that want to use CBD that are listening to the podcast, and they want to know if it’s legal, and we’re talking about CBD from hemp. Because the marijuana laws are pretty clear. Do you agree with me on that one? 

Rod  06:02

Absolutely. And I’m glad you brought that up, you know, because people ask me, you know, is CBD legal? That’s sort of a general question that I get a lot, and obviously, that’s a great question. But unfortunately, it’s hard to answer it without saying, well, what do you mean by legal? And the first and primary sort of piece of that, and in particular, from a consumer standpoint is, am I going to go to jail for possessing CBD? And what that goes to that legal question is, is CBD a controlled substance? Meaning is it listed on the schedule of substances that are controlled by the federal or state government? And fortunately, when it comes to CBD derived from hemp, the answer is no. It’s been removed from the Controlled Substances Act and it is not a crime to possess or use it. And CBD is strange, and maybe not completely unique in this way, but unique in the sense that its legal status, at least with respect if it’s controlled or not, depends on the source from which is derived. 

And so to your point, when it’s derived from marijuana, it is actually a Schedule I controlled substance, which is the most restrictive because marijuana itself is a Schedule I controlled substance and all parts of that plant are included within the definition. On the other hand, hemp is a form of cannabis that’s legal. It has been removed from the Controlled Substances Act. It’s cannabis with no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. And the definition of hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill expressly includes cannabinoids and extracts and derivatives of hemp within the definition. 

And so all of that is to say, you know, ask a lawyer question and we just go on and on, but all that is to say, it is not illegal at the federal level to possess or use hemp-derived CBD. And that’s the main question that most consumers, I think, want to know. There’s some distinctions at the state level that we might want to discuss. And there are also issues about the Food and Drug Act that don’t apply to them specifically, because consumers are by definition not selling CBD, but they might want to know in order to help pick good products. 

Vadim  05:04

Okay. Well, I think that’s a great answer. And what should someone do if they’re in a state and they’ve heard some misleading information like it’s legal everywhere, but in our state, it’s a little weird? Like Idaho or I’m looking at South Dakota or one of the Dakotas? 

Rod  06:02

Yep. South Dakota, you’re absolutely right. 

Vadim  08:17

What should they do? What should they do? 

Rod  08:19

Well, you know, that’s a good question. And a lot of it depends on their specific circumstances. The issue arises based on what we have. We have a federal system and a federal system is one in which there’s a national government and they’re also states, and they’re each sovereign in their own right. Federal law, when it conflicts with state law, usually overrides state law. But by and large, we have two bodies of sovereign entities interacting with each other — the states of the federal government, and that has raised this problem. 

So I just said at the federal level, hemp-derived CBD is not a controlled substance.  But states have their own laws. And in at least three states, you mentioned, you know, South Dakota, Idaho — one of the Idaho or Iowa, I don’t have it in front of me — and Mississippi currently do not have hemp laws on their books. And what that means is under state law, they do not recognize the distinction between lawful hemp and unlawful marijuana. And so CBD under state law in those states, at least it could be argued is a controlled substance. 

And then that gets, you know, to the further point of, well, that is a conflict with federal law, and shouldn’t federal law override state law, and that’s a pretty complicated and super nuanced area that I don’t want to just sort of give a blanket, you know, statement to you. But generally speaking, that’s the divide, you know, where we have in a very small handful of states, there is at least an open question of law. And I think that question is going to be resolved pretty quickly. The USDA has just issued rules regarding production of hemp and hemp is going to be able to be produced and undoubtedly transported at a minimum through those states. I think we’re going to see the end of concerns at all at the state level about this controlled substance issue. But that’s not entirely resolved now. But in other states, it is not a crime to possess and use CBD. 

Vadim  10:08

So, are those three the only states with problems or are there others? 

Rod  10:13

Well, we talked about problems there. There’s all sorts of — every state has its own rules and regulations regarding consumer products. And this mostly goes to manufacturing and production of them. And so consumers, you know, do not have to be as concerned with that. But with problems, I think what we’ve seen more of than actually state policy or state laws is just a misunderstanding about CBD. You know, CBD is new on the market of wallets. All the rage and it’s the top of all the Google searches and whatnot, it is new, and its legal status is rapidly evolving. And so law enforcement and regulators are often not as educated as we would hope they would be about CBD’s legal status. And so there may be situations where someone is in possession of CBD and lawfully so, but has an interaction with law enforcement or law enforcement contends that they’re in possession of an illegal drug. We’ve seen that happen in Florida within the past year and a couple of other places. And fortunately, in all those cases that I’m aware of, charges were dropped, and it was a big to-do. So I think law enforcement is learning that it has to learn quickly about CBD in order to avoid these sorts of embarrassing arrests and seizures. 

But all that is to say, as a consumer, you know, you do want to be aware of your state’s laws and you want to spread the word about education. So that the law enforcement and regulators and people, you know, with public authority, are aware of the laws and are aware of CBDs, how people use them. 

Vadim  11:37

So yeah, that’s I think one thing we want to say too is nothing here is legal advice on this podcast. This is for entertainment and just education. If you want legal advice, you should contact Rod and that’s what he does all day and what he’s trying to do. So nothing here is legal advice. Just, again, want to make that clear, and you should be aware of your state’s laws. Is it true, Rod, that typically, if something was to go as far as to the court level or to litigation, there would be a federal law and Trump would take precedence over the state law?

Rod  10:13

Usually that’s the case. And there’s some different sorts of legal situations and legal rules about when and how federal law overrides state law, it’s called — preemption is the word whenever, you know, federal law preempts state law. But by and large, in the hemp space, which we’re talking about with CBD, federal law does override state law. States have the opportunity to regulate hemp production. It’s also pretty clear that states can regulate some of the nuances about, you know, in order to protect their consumers with respect to the licensing and facilities and labeling them and monitoring them and controlling quality. And I don’t want to get too far in the weeds on that. But the answer is, usually in most circumstances, federal law will override a conflicting state law. 

Vadim  12:55

And with that said, again, everyone, this isn’t legal advice, but I’m getting the sense from Rod that as a consumer, you don’t have much to worry about when it comes from hemp-derived CBD. That’s not a legal advice to go and just not worry about it at all, but it sounds like it’s really more the manufacturers, the producers, the businesspeople are the ones that need to be a bit more concerned and tight with what they’re doing. Would you say that that’s correct, Rod? 

Rod  13:21

Yeah, for sure. You know, that’s for manufacturers or producers of hemp or CBD than there are a lot of details and laws and rules and standards and state laws and federal laws to be aware of. As a consumer, I think there are two things that really are concerning. So we talked about, by and large, you know, hemp-derived CBD is not a crime to possess or use it, but we want to talk about potentially employment, drug screenings and things like that. And then also using the information to, you know, about FDA and state regulations to help choose the right products and to help know what you’re looking for. So I’m happy to talk about, you know, either of those. Because I do think they’re important for consumers. 

Drug Testing: What CBD Users Should Know

Vadim  13:58

Yes, please. So you’re saying there’s two main things that consumers should be concerned about? So what are those two things? Please go ahead.  

Rod  14:04

Yeah, sure. So, you know, I think drug screenings. By and large, employment is governed by state law and states have different rules about drug screenings, but what we see is usually there are circumstances in which people can be subjected to urinalysis and drug screenings at their employment and that if drugs are in their system, which are deemed unlawful or inappropriate, then people can be terminated. And we’ve seen that quite a bit for people who are using CBD products. They say, “Well, this is lawful. And so I can use it”  And the employer says, “Oh, no, you cannot.” And sometimes the employer terminates, and the termination sticks. Sometimes employers are overstepping their bounds that are breaking the law.

But if you are employed by an employer, particularly government employees, and you are subjected to or you’re subject to drug screenings, it’s important to understand those rules first and foremost, and if you have any questions, you probably shouldn’t take CBD. And it’s unfortunate, you know, again, these rules and laws are evolving and people who take CBD should not be losing their jobs at all based on their use, but we’re not quite there yet. And there are certain circumstances where it could trigger a failing test and that they could lose their employment. And that’s that’s one big issue. 

Vadim  15:16

Can I ask about that one thing before we get to number two? Have you helped people who have lost a job, or something like that, to pursue a case against the company or something like that? 

Rod  15:26

I have helped people who’ve been in this circumstance. And what I found and one of the reasons that I think it’s number one of the two things I brought up, is because usually there’s not a remedy or recourse. And so you know, if someone is — there’s a slightly different scenario might be someone who is subjected to drug screening for probation, they’ve been incarcerated. In those circumstances, if they test negative or that’s the right terminology, if they fail the drug test, there are certain situations where they can appeal that or get a retest or whatnot. 

But if we’re talking about employment, and particularly a private employer, a private employer, by and large, in most states, can hire a fire for any or no reason. And so the person goes and they take a drug test for whatever reason they have to, and they fail it and then the employer fires them, there’s not an appeal, right? Because if an employer has the right to do that, there’s no court that you can go to to say, “Oh, no, I want to take a retest,” the employer just says, “Don’t call us again because you’re terminated.” And that’s the problem that I see is that sometimes there’s not a lot of recourse. So that’s why it is important. 

Vadim  16:27

Yeah, that makes sense. I think with that said, it’s also important people are using products that if it says zero THC, you got to make sure it’s even with a zero THC product that you make — I’m stopping myself here because even when you check that it’s zero THC, even if you check the lab report, the exact lab report for that exact batch, and we love to talk about lab reports at CBD School, but you can still have —  I mean, drug testing is not a perfect science. You can still have a false positive happen. And like you said, the company can say, “We’re not going to spend money on a retest,” because I think the company pays for it. So yeah, I mean, a private employer has the power in that situation. 

So you know, you really have to understand that this is all still cannabis. It can still cause these false positives. And I’m not an expert on drug testing. And just because it’s zero THC, or what’s called,  broad-spectrum, which is a full-spectrum product minus the THC, which are amazing products that have become these innovations in the space, but I mean, I think you would agree you have to be cautious if drug testing is a part of your life and you want to use any form of cannabis product. 

Rod  17:44

Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think you make a really good point about the broad-spectrum or the THC-free claims. You know, while it’s THC, by and large, with these tests that it’s triggered, and it’s actually a metabolite that the body produces in response to THC, but that’s getting into the weeds with your analysis. But the bottom line is, you can test positive if you’re using a zero THC product and that’s because sometimes the CBD itself interacts with metabolites. But more often than not, to your point, there is THC in these products. Either because the COAs, the lab reports are not accurate or some cases have been forged. We’ve seen that. Or just because —

Vadim  18:23

You’ve seen everything.

Rod  18:23

Oh, yeah, yes. But also because, you know, we say THC-free, you know, as you mentioned, this is cannabis. And it’s really often there’s some THC there. It’s just how far to the right of the decimal point you want to go. It might be a fraction of an amount of THC and well within the legal limits, but your body may metabolize it in a certain way. Or you may — if you’re taking a lot of it, it may still build up in your system. And so that’s why, again, it’s important to to understand the rules of your employer, and also to educate people because this does not need to be the case. As I mentioned earlier, you don’t hear about people getting fired for taking aspirin or ibuprofen or whatnot. People shouldn’t be fired for taking CBD. And this is an issue that needs to come to the forefront, I believe. 

Vadim  19:06

Yeah, it’s kind of like that. I don’t know if this is a myth or not. But if you eat like the poppy seed bagel, you can test positive for opiates. 

Rod  19:13

You know, I don’t know if that’s an urban myth, either, but I don’t think that it is. And that’s a very good point. And people say, “Oh, well, you can show that you just are eating poppy seeds.” But as we talked about earlier, who you’re going to show? The employer says, “you tested positive for opiates, you’re fired,” under most circumstances and acceptable in termination, and there’s no recourse. So yeah, that’s I think you bring up a really good example. 

Vadim  19:32

So what I tell people before we go to that next point that you wanted to mention is that you are always at risk when you are using cannabis products for testing positive. And you just have to accept that and either educate your employer or just choose to not take that risk for the time being or figure out a way that you can still get what you want out of life and have the job you want and use the products you want but not have it impact you. And if you’re in a situation like probation, in many cases, I just would not risk it because of the way that the criminal justice system kind of can be very, very black and white against people that are trying to get out of that whole mess. So you’re better off just not risking it. 

You know, I get questions every day, am I going to fail? It’s really sad. I get questions from people who are on probation a lot, you know, they just want a vape or something and they just want to use CBD products. They’re not trying to break the law, they just want to know if they can be okay with what they’re doing. And I really can’t give them an answer. I’m just saying you’re always taking a risk. 

Rod  20:34

Right. I think you’re absolutely right. And it’s a shame but it’s important to understand that, and if people really feel that they need to use these products and our information, that’s one of those things they need to talk to the lawyer about, apply their situation to what they’re wanting to do. 


Compliance and Consumer Awareness


Vadim  20:50

Okay. So what was the other thing that you think people on the consumer side need to be concerned with? 


Rod  20:55

Right. Well, as I mentioned, manufacturers of CBD products  and the distributors as well are subject to a lot of federal and state regulations that are mostly geared towards, you know, quality and safety. And so while the typical consumer doesn’t need to know these rules ins and outs, you know, all the standards of procedure for operating a food grade manufacturing facility, and so forth, it’s good to know generally some of these rules, though, so that when they’re looking at an array of products online or on the shelf, they can begin to identify which ones are more compliant. Because by and large, the companies out there that are the compliant ones are the ones that are going to be here for the long haul. They’re focused on making sure their products are safe and effective because they’re taking the time and effort to be compliant. 


So as a baseline, at the federal level, the FDA regulates the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which governs, you know, products that people will use, from drugs to dietary supplements to foods to cosmetics, and the FDA has rules about CBD. And in fact, it has positions about CBD. And it’s working on some rules. The FDA has said, for instance, that CBD cannot be used as a food ingredient. It can’t be marketed as a dietary supplement, and that no therapeutic claims can be made about it. And I’ll stop and say, you know, I did just say that FDA said that CBD can’t be used as a food ingredient. And people are probably saying, “Well, I see it everywhere as a food ingredient.” And that’s true. The FDA has — like all government agencies — limited resources and appears to have taken its resources and focused them where I’m about to discuss and not on enforcing its prohibition of CBD in food. 


In other words, it has not attempted to enforce its prohibition. It hasn’t attempted to remove CBD in food. What it has done, though, is use its resources, and pretty aggressively, to target companies that are making medical claims. So you can look online and you can google right now and find CBD companies that are saying outlandish things. You know, CBD cures Alzheimer’s, CBD cures cancer and so on and so forth. And those things have not been proven, and the FDA is vigorously trying to get rid of those types of claims. But the FDA also enforces prohibition with respect to some other claims that are not so outlandish, like pain or helps with sleep or Crohn’s disease. And in fact, some of these things have been shown, at least in some studies, to be true, but their truth is irrelevant. What the FDA says you can’t make any claims about it, period. And the FDA is supported at least to a degree, and I don’t want to get to the nuances here, it’s probably beyond the scope of this, in its position. The bottom line is you can’t do that. 


And what that translates to the consumer is that if you’re sitting there and you’re looking at an array of CBD products that you think about buying, if there’s one that says “cures cancer” or “helps with Crohn’s disease” or starts making medical claims, you can be sure that that company is not focusing on being compliant. And while its products may still be quality, its products may not because if they’re not taking the time to change or update how they’re marketing based on FDA rules, you know, we can think, well, then maybe they don’t have an incentive to do it at the quality level with rules regarding manufacturing. So it’s more likely than not, I believe, that that company has an unsafe product. But it’s also more likely than not that even if it’s a good product, that company is gonna have some trouble down the road because they’re violating FDA rules. 


So that’s one thing for a consumer to be thinking about and looking at. And I’ll go a little bit further but another thing to be thinking about is something as simple as a QR code that links to a lab report and a batch report. So there are a lot of rules regarding food production. And one of the things that’s really important is that someone be able to click on a QR code and see that the CBD was lawfully acquired, and that you can trace to a batch. In that way, if there was some recall or something happens as occasionally does with consumer products, then that whole lot can be identified and pulled out. And this is tough to do at a manufacturing level, but it’s absolutely required. And again, if there’s a company that’s not doing that, then they’re not making every effort to be compliant, and they’re likely going to go away at some point or have trouble and their product may reflect in the way they do their other compliance. In other words, that may not be as good. So those are two examples of things that’re helpful, I think, for consumers to know when they’re looking at products. So they can choose the ones that are right for them, particularly at a safety level. 


Vadim  25:21

Okay. So just to summarize, the two main things people should be — or you kind of cover three things there. The first is the drug testing. You have to be aware of that as a consumer, that you are using a cannabis product, you’re always at risk for failing a drug test and having really not a lot of fairness if it’s a private employer. Or even if you’re dealing with a probation officer, you’re already going to be at a loss if you fail that drug test, even if you were using a product that wasn’t illegal. 


The second thing is, of course, is to be aware of companies that are making claims. I think most companies are not doing this anymore, but some may still be and I appreciate that you said that their products still might be good. But the claims are unlawful. They can’t be making claims. And that’s an indication that it might not be the best product for your trust and money. And third, was that extra point that you said about just making sure that you can access a lab report that’s recent. Not just any lab report, but a lab report that is linked to the actual product that you’re using. And unfortunately, if you can’t get it easily on their website, you should be able to get it then by contacting their customer service. And if there’s for some reason you can’t, that would be something to be concerned about, I think. 


Rod  26:40 

Yeah, I agree. I think that summarizes it really well.


Vadim  26:43

And would you say that that is true even in those problematic states where people — I think that’s where people are really worried in states — even ones we didn’t mention, maybe like Texas or Wyoming. I mean, just places where there’s been issues. Not legal advice. But can people be calm about ordering hemp-derived and using it? 


Rod  27:02 

Well, you know, that goes back to our first issue about when people say, “Is CBD legal?” You know, there’s the legal, Is it a controlled substance? And then there’s the legal, is the manufacturer complying with — did it comply with FDA and state and local rules regarding manufacturing and distribution? And so, you know, when we’re talking about someone being afraid, potentially of ordering a product because of their state’s law, that the first one. Is CBD a controlled substance? And, you know, again, at federal level, hemp-derived CBD is not a controlled substance. It can absolutely be transported through any of the 50 states. There are some states where, by either a lack of information or being misinformed by law enforcement, and/or those states not recognizing hemp as independent of marijuana. There is, you know, a small concern that there can be some difficulties with law enforcement. Yes. But I’d say by and large, that’s not the issue. The issue now we’re moving into regulation and food safety and products that are compliant, you know, with the rules governing foods and other things that we use and consume. 


Vadim  27:58

Yeah. I personally would say that, you know, I’m not going to give anyone advice, but I’m going to say that I would feel comfortable ordering in any state that I was in as long as it was hemp-derived. And I really wouldn’t worry about any issues with the consumer side. Now, if I was a business, that’s a different story, and I was hauling huge amounts of it through certain states with, like you said, who are misinformed or confused, or just purposely ignorant, I would be concerned because I was hauling huge amounts of it. And as you know, there’ve been these long battles of trucks that have been stopped, and it just goes on forever even though, I think, they win in the end, usually, as you said, but it just goes on forever. On the consumer side, personally, you can take this as you will, I wouldn’t be worried. And I’m sure. Rod, you’d probably agree with that. Maybe not. But that’s my take on it. 


Rod  28:50 

Yeah. One of the risks is very low. I mean, I’m not aware of many incidents where the law enforcement has targeted people who are ordering, you know, consumer CBD products online. What you said is exactly right. A lot of what we do is represent businesses and their decisions about, you know, whether or not to sell their CBD products into a certain state. And if so, what products can they and can’t they? And do we register them properly? And do we make the right claims and so on and so forth? And every state is a little bit different in that respect. But they’re business concerns and not really consumer concerns.


Vadim  29:25

And primarily your clients are businesses? 


Rod  29:27 

Correct. Right. We represent businesses in the cannabis industry. 


States Where Kight Law is Licensed

Vadim  29:30

And how does that work with your licenses? Do you have people in the states? Can you work with someone in any state?


Rod  29:37

Now, that’s a really good question. So lawyers are licensed by state, but there’s not a federal legal, you know, lawyer’s license. And so lawyers are licensed to practice in the states in which they’re licensed. And so for me, personally, I’m licensed in North Carolina and Oregon. And we have lawyers in the firm that are licensed in Colorado and California and Texas as well. And so we work directly with clients in those states. Sometimes we have clients on purely federal issues and that’s okay. And then sometimes we work with clients and states in which our lawyers are not licensed. And we have a wide network of law firms that we work with in various states. And sometimes it’s just, “Hey, can you read over this and blind with your state’s law admission? Make sure we got it right” to actually working directly with that firm in a specific state matter. So that’s a long way of saying that we do handle clients and client matters across the country. 


Vadim  30:28

Okay. And even International? 


Rod  30:30

And even International. You know, the hemp and CBD industry is really beginning to project out into the world in a big way. And import/export, you know, we import/export, all sorts of goods, and hemp and CBD are a big part of that. And, companies are springing up around the world to participate. So yes, we’re rapidly doing more and more work in that area. 


Vadim  30:48

Cool. Just curious. Can a state lawyer take on a federal case, and any licensed state employer can take on a federal case if they wanted to? 


Rod  30:57

Yes. Courts typically require you to be sworn in before them. And you couldn’t be, you know, a South Carolina lawyer and go into a federal court in say, Missouri, without getting licensure approval. But yes, being licensed in North Carolina, I was immediately able to litigate cases in federal court in North Carolina. 


Vadim  31:15

Oh, okay. Interesting. Because lawyers — so one thing people don’t know about lawyers is they can actually take on a case by themselves. Like they don’t have to have — if you wanted to go against the FDA, you could, right? 


Rod  31:27

Oh, that’s a good question. Well, I could represent myself or some entity that I controlled, for sure. I wouldn’t say I’m a lawyer suing the FDA, I would say maybe “Rod Kight, I’m suing the FDA”, to use your example. And I’m representing myself, pro se. There’s an old saying that a lawyer representing himself has got a fool for a client. And so most lawyers in order to — because you really have to have the objective when you’re dealing in litigation and the nuanced and complex situations. And so even a lawyer thinking like a lawyer, if you’ve got personal skin in the game, it’s harder to be objective. So it’s always good to have a lawyer. At least you can bounce ideas off of and can see things more objectively that maybe you can’t.

Federal vs State Laws

Vadim  31:15

Yeah, yeah. Okay. Well, I mean, I think we’ve covered a lot of what people need to know. It’s not that complicated. You know, the law is getting better and better. We had the Farm Bill a year ago, which was a huge improvement on the federal level. It removed — so controlled substances are a federal, the list, right? That’s a federal list, right? 


Rod  32:29

That’s the list we’ve been talking about. Each state has its own controlled substances list as well. Just to complicate. To make sure, it’s absolutely complicated. But the one we’re talking about, and the ones we’re most concerned about in this conversation, has been the federal controlled substances list. 


Vadim  32:45

Yeah. I think my goal with this podcast was to create — blanketed statements usually don’t work, but I want to create some that are non-legal advice, and I think what we’ve achieved is that if you’re a business — this podcast is listened to by people on both sides, the consumers and businesses. So if you’re a business, manufacturer or brand distributor of any sort of CBD, even if you’re just like a — I don’t know about, you’re affiliate marketer, but I mean, if you’re just kind of doing like some distribution, like just to… what’s that thing when people just go to homes?


Rod  33:21

Affiliate marketing, typically.


Vadim  33:22

Yeah, there’s another word for it. Like the beauty supply stuff. But even if you’re distributing it in any way, and maybe —


Rod  33:29

Maybe multi level, but right, a distributor.


Vadim  33:32

And you need legal advice, that’s where you would want to have retained someone like Rod and we’ll have that information. If you’re confused in your state, and maybe you’re not confused at all, maybe you’re all set or you’re okay with the risk potential, but if you need someone to retain, I recommend Rod and we’ll put all that information in the show notes. But if you’re simply a consumer who wants to use CBD derived from hemp, we’re not talking about marijuana in this podcast. That’s not really what it’s about. Because that is pretty clear, I think, in each state, whether it’s recreational, medical, or both, it’s very, very clear. At least in my home state of Pennsylvania, it was very easy for me to get my card, a very straightforward process with no bumps and I got it within a few weeks. Very good and very high-quality products and everything. At least in my state. I don’t know about other states. 


So the issue is on the consumer side. Again, not legal advice, I’m sick of saying that, but I think if I were you, I would be very comfortable ordering the hemp-derived CBD. If I lived in a state like Idaho or South Dakota, where there’s been some problems, I might take an extra step and maybe either try to do things discreetly or maybe —  what would you say, Rod? Contact someone in your local, I’m not sure —


Rod  34:51

That may be worth a consultation. And probably the consultation we’ll give as well, we can’t give you 100% but here’s where things are and then you can make your determination for that. But right. In one of those states, that’s where there is a little bit of a risk. But otherwise, I think the risk is low to nonexistent, at least with respect to this issue of is an illegal substance in my state. And then we move on to the fact that it’s important to make sure the companies you’re buying from are compliant. 


Vadim  35:19

Exactly. And even if they are not, and they are doing something wrong, the consumer wouldn’t get in trouble if he bought from a non-compliant company, right?


Rod  35:27

Right. The compliance piece is really about safety. And exactly, that’s an issue for the companies. It’s just that consumer wants — it’s important to get products that are safe. 


Vadim  35:36

Yeah, that’s more on the safety side, not the legal side. But again, I think most people out there really, I think all people in the states can be comfortable ordering as a consumer hemp-derived CBD and really just not worrying too much about this aside from as we said, the drug testing and safety concerns. On the legal level, you’re protected federally. And if the worst case scenario happened, you could retain someone like — I’m a person that does things like I don’t need to get a lawyer unless I get in trouble. So I don’t want to take business away from Rod, but I don’t think you need a lawyer as a consumer to order CBD. But if something was to go wrong, and you needed to protect yourself with representation, I’m sure you would be able to help with that. 


Rod  36:20

Oh, yeah, I’m happy to take calls or emails and talk to people.


Vadim  36:23

I’m sure. And you’re a great guy. So I’m sure you probably help people without some long, huge bills or anything if they reach out to you. 


Rod  36:31

Right, right, absolutely. Well, you know, we’re true believers in cannabis at the firm. And there’s a passion that comes with that. And it’s frankly one of the things I love about this industry. Most people that are involved in it, you very much included in this, are passionate about the plant and what it can do. And so to that, and you know, we want to spread the word and we certainly try to help in whatever ways that we can. 


Vadim  36:53

And people listening in those problematic states, do what you can. I used to live in Idaho for half a year and people there were doing everything they could to educate the politicians and people who are in charge about the benefits of CBD and what it actually is and more importantly, what it isn’t. 


Rod  37:15

Right, right. Exactly. Absolutely. 

Wrap-up and Contact Information


Vadim  37:18

Well, Rob, I think we’ve covered it. This was very productive. And I think we achieved — do you agree we’ve achieved what we set out to? 


Rod  37:25

Absolutely. Well, we were set out to have a fun conversation for sure. But no, I think we provided some good information to consumers and to your business listeners as well. 


Vadim  37:35

Yes. And I want everyone to know, Rod is my top pick, CBD School’s top pick for a lawyer in this space. So please do contact him if you need legal advice of any kind. So you’re specialized in CBD and hemp but if they need marijuana advice, do you do that?


Rod  37:54

We represent cannabis companies of all stripes along the entire spectrum. So yes, if there’s a cannabis issue, reach out to us.


Vadim  38:03

Ookay. And just for people, can you repeat just what’s the best way to get in touch? 


Rod  38:08

Sure. So it’s Rod Kight, KIGHT, Kight Law.  We’re on the web, cannabusiness.law. You can reach via email, rod@kightlaw.com, KIGHTLAW.com. Or you can call us. The number is 828-255-9881. 


Vadim  38:30

All right. And we’ll put all that information in the show notes. So everybody, relax. You don’t have to grab a pen and paper. I’m sure no one’s doing that anyway.


Rod  38:38

All right.


Vadim  38:38

I’ll have everything in the show notes, every which way you can contact Rod. It’s pretty easy to get a hold of him. He’s a very responsible guy and will answer you quickly or a member of his staff will get back to you. So Rod, thank you so much for being here. This was one of the best podcasts I’ve ever done. It’s clear and productive. And it’s like every year it gets better and better for the space. And that’s I think this podcast is an indication of that. 


Rod  39:04

Yeah, well, thanks. I always like talking with you, Vadim. I have a great time and you ask great questions. I have a lot of knowledge and, you know, you present it in a way that’s really, I think, easy to digest. So anyway, it’s always good to speak with you. Thanks for having me on the podcast. I’ve enjoyed it. 


Vadim  39:17

Yep. Stay on, please, after I stop recording so we can banter for a little more. 


Rod  39:22

Sounds good. 


Vadim  39:22

All right, everyone. Thanks for listening in. That’s it for our show today. I will make sure to put the information on how you can contact Rod in the show notes. And until next time, this is Vadim, the CBD professor from cbdschool.com, signing off. Thanks for listening. Bye for now.


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