When you sell hemp and hemp-derived products through Shopify, you need to comply with the laws and regulations that might apply to your business. These laws and regulations depend on the region where your store is located and the region where you sell. In this complete guide, we'll walk you through all legal aspects of selling CBD on Shopify, how to build a CBD store on Shopify, with the best marketing practices and examples for your inspiration.
Hemp and hemp-derived products
This page was printed on Sep 16, 2022. For the current version, visit https://help.shopify.com/en/manual/your-account/legal/hemp.
When you sell hemp and hemp-derived products through Shopify, you need to comply with the laws and regulations that apply to your business. These laws and regulations depend on the region where your store is located and the region where you sell.
Hemp is a type of plant in the cannabis sativa plant species, and produces a broad range of cannabinoids. Hemp doesn’t produce high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but is capable of producing high concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD).
Hemp and hemp-derived products are highly regulated and those regulations vary by region. If you’re located and selling hemp or hemp-derived products in a jurisdiction where the sale of these products is permitted, then Shopify generally supports the sale.
This following content provides general information to merchants who sell hemp and hemp-derived products and is for informational purposes only. You’re responsible for reviewing and using this information appropriately. This content doesn’t contain and isn’t meant to provide legal advice.
You should consult your own legal counsel to determine how the laws in your region and the region in which you sell hemp and hemp-derived products might affect your business. To sell products using the Shopify platform, you must comply with the laws of the jurisdiction of your business and your customers, the Shopify Terms of Service, the Shopify Acceptable Use Policy, and any other applicable policies.
Laws and regulations for selling hemp or hemp-derived products in the United States (US)
If you’re a US merchant and you want to sell hemp and hemp-derived products that contain CBD, then you’ll need to review and submit the Attestation for the Sale of Hemp and Hemp-Derived Products.
By completing the attestation, you confirm that you understand the requirements for selling hemp or hemp-derived products on Shopify, and that you’ll comply with those requirements. It’s your responsibility to remain compliant with all the requirements of the attestation. If you violate the terms of the attestation you agreed to, then you risk action by Shopify.
Laws in the United States surrounding hemp and hemp-derived products are evolving, so you should consult with legal counsel before you sell these products on Shopify. Shopify can’t provide legal advice on what and where you can sell.
Before selling hemp or hemp-derived products on Shopify, review and monitor federal, state, and local laws. You should also monitor updates from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
You can find specific information online about the FDA’s current position on dietary supplements, food, and cosmetics that contain hemp or hemp-derived products such as CBD.
- FDA Consumer Update
- FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products
Among other things, in the attestation, you must attest and confirm that:
- None of your hemp or hemp-derived products are marketed as having any medicinal or therapeutic benefit, unless such claims have been approved by the FDA.
- Your products contain no more than 0.3% THC, regardless of compound type, such as delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10.
- Your products comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, including the laws in the jurisdictions of your customers.
Laws and regulations for selling hemp or hemp-derived products in Canada
In Canada, most hemp-derived products are classified as cannabis. To sell hemp or hemp-derived products in Canada, you must:
- Be licensed to sell cannabis either at the federal or provincial level.
- Comply with all the requirements set out in the relevant legislation.
- Use Shopify Plus.
- Complete a specific onboarding process related to selling cannabis products in Canada.
Laws and regulations for selling hemp or hemp-derived products internationally
You can sell hemp or hemp-derived products if it’s legal, and you comply with all marketing laws in your jurisdiction and the jurisdiction of your customers.
The products you sell can’t contain more than 0.2% of THC, regardless of the compound type, such as delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10.
Shopify CBD stores: Templates, Best Practices and Tutorial
In recent years, CBD has become increasingly popular on e-commerce sites and it is gradually becoming a familiar product for the average person.
According to Gallup, more than 64% of Americans had heard of CBD in 2019, and about 64 million Americans have tried CBD in the last two years. It can be said that this is a robust booming market, especially in the US. According to Cowen, the US’s CBD market is estimated to reach $16 billion by 2025.
CBD’s benefits are increasingly recognized by experts, and it’s gradually becoming commonplace for it to be consumed. Along with that, the number of people trying CBD for the first time is also increasing dramatically. This is a perfect time for you to enter this market. You can quickly start to sell CBD products by opening a Shopify CBD store.
However, selling CBD is a high risk business. It’s a new type of product with unclear legislation. If you violate the rules when selling, it can lead to serious consequences like your store being shut down.
If you are researching for or want to enter this niche, this article will give you a quick overview of the CBD market and how you can use Shopify to sell hemp derived CBD products.
01. What Is CBD?
People often don’t distinguish between hemp and CBD, with marijuana.
So we will start by determining the differences between these two substances. CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the more than 85 most common chemical compounds found inside the resin gland of female hemp (cannabis).
The difference between CBD and marijuana is that CBD products don’t contain any THC (the ingredient that makes you high) like marijuana. CBD has absolutely no effects on the user’s nerves and doesn’t intoxicate you.
Cannabidiol is known for its therapeutic properties. CBD oil has a wide range of benefits to relieve symptoms associated with inflammation, anxiety, depression, pain, and epilepsy.
However, many CBD uses have not yet been validated by the FDA, and CBD’s effects on people can vary, so be careful when advertising about its benefits.
There are different types of hemp derived CBD products and several great ways to use them. Depending on the method and dosage used, each customer will have his or her own preference. You can find the following CBD on the market:
Each type of CBD will have different dosages and effects on each person. You should provide customers enough information about each so they can make the best choice.
There is currently only one CBD-based and FDA-licensed drug. It’s Epidiolex, the first and only hemp derived CBD product to be certified by the FDA.
Selling hemp and CBD is a high-risk business so if you see an FDA logo on other products, then be careful because this is likely an untrustworthy one and the business is using false advertising tactics.
02. Can CBD Be Sold On Shopify?
In 2019, Shopify began supporting the sale of hemp and hemp-derived cannabidiol products. However, Shopify currently only supports the hemp and CBD market in the US (maybe Canada), so for now, you can only have a Shopify CBD business in this market..
CBD is legal to buy, sell, and use in a limited number of countries and territories around the world.
The Farm Bill 2018 Act passed by the US Department of Agriculture state that: hemp is clearly defined as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
Hemp is also removed from the CSA, which means that cannabis or derivatives with a THC of less than 0.3% will no longer be substances enforced under federal law.
To have a legal CBD business in the US, the CBD in your product must be extracted from female hemp and have less than 0.3 THC%. However, this law may differ in some countries and some states.
For example, in the UK, CBD must be THC-free and extracted from industrial hemp to be legal. In other EU countries, the THC level must be at 0.2% or less. In Switzerland, this figure is reduced to 0.1%.
CBD products extracted from marijuana and with a THC concentration more than 0.3% are illegal under the Controlled Substances Act since the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug. In DEA parlance, that means the administration believes it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
If you are in a country outside the US, you should research the market and the laws since CBD is still being assessed as an illegal product in many countries.
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03. Can I Dropship CBD?
It is possible to dropship CBD products in the US market. In order to do this, merchants will have to find suppliers to partner with.
One caveat when you open a CBD dropshipping store is the quality of the supplier’s product. Make sure the quality is good and safe before it goes on sale in your store.
Check out Dropified – a CBD Dropshipping app that will handle all the heavy works for you.
04. How to market CBD products
The most important thing about when you start selling CBD is marketing. This is a commodity that has been legalized in many states of the US, however, you still cannot freely advertise them online because marketing channels like Facebook or Google will always have their own rules and policy to prevent it.
As a merchant, you’ll need some tips to promote your Shopify CBD store.
4.1. Focus on blogging and SEO.
In addition to advertising on paid channels, you should take advantage of organic traffic from SEO. Having blogs on your site can help customers learn about your brand and choose what right for them.
4.2. Don’t run ads directly to your product page.
Put the link to your landing page on your blog. Although hemp-derived CBD has been legal since the 2018 Farm Bill, channels like Facebook and Google still consider them illegal products. Their policies on advertising CBD have left many merchants feeling confused.
CBD is not mentioned on Facebook’s Advertising Policies page, but is still included in its prohibited items. In its recent announcements, Facebook has taken steps to loosen its ban on advertising for these products.
Specifically, the social network now allows shop owners to run ads about ingestible hemp and topical CBD. At the same time direct these ads to sites with Hemp or CBD content.
However, you will not be allowed to use CBD pages as your ad’s landing page. Instead, you should send visitors to your blog pages and use them like a landing page for the products.
4.3. Influencer Marketing
This is a well-suited marketing method to bypass the ban on CBD products. When choosing to buy, customers will try to find stores with a well-known brand and reputation.
Using influencers will quickly increase your store’s trustworthiness. When you choose the right influencer, you can also find more leads with a smaller budget than paid advertising.
4.4. Native Advertising
Native advertising is where your ads will blend into the website’s interface, creating a more natural feeling for users. This form of marketing is often targeted at customers who have heard of CBD and want more information about it.
4.5. Social Media
While running paid ads on Facebook or Instagram is limited, this is still a great marketing channel to reach customers on CBD groups. Social media is the perfect place for potential customers to find the information they need through tons of groups about CBD or Hemp.
Becoming active in those groups can raise awareness of your brand. Remember to focus on sharing knowledge and provide help to your customers, since the ultimate goal is to make your brand trustworthy.
4.6. Affiliate networks
This can give your brand more coverage. However, you need to develop a good relationship with affiliate brands because they will be promoting your brand to customers.
CBD is relatively new in the online market and there is still false and inaccurate information about it on the Internet.
Be careful your affiliates don’t share false information or violate the terms of social media platforms or the law when advertising your brand. Education and training is important for your affiliates.
4.7. Email marketing
This is an old marketing style, but still one of the best methods for promoting CBD. By combining pop-ups with lead magnets and discounts, you can convince customers to fill out your form.
4.8. Lead Magnets
These are instrumental in collecting emails while also sharing knowledge about CBD to consumers. By sharing product-related documents, PDFs or helpful videos you can push people closer to making the final purchase decision,
Podcasts: Let them hear your voice. Podcasts are one of the best ways to build trust with your customers simply by having conversations with them. Usually a podcast will specialize in a certain topic, so advertising on podcasts can help you directly reach people interested in CBD and hemp.
Some 55% of the US population has heard of podcasts. They’re a marketing channel that Shopify CBD online store owners should not ignore.
Don’t false advertise. There are many different CBD retailers that advertise divine effects like cancer treatment, or other benefits that have not been confirmed by the FDA. If these cases are found, Shopify will remove the store immediately.
05. Successful Shopify CBD stores – Case Study
Many stores are selling CBD on Shopify. Among those stores is Cannuka, a store famous for its products focused on health and beauty such as eye balm, lip balm, cleansing body bars, and face cream. Let’s look at Cannuka’s Shopify store and find out how they designed it to boost CBD sales.
Cannuka’s homepage shows benefits of their products, as well as educational information about the them to help customers trust the store and choose the product that suits them best.
Cannuka’s footer has links to FAQ, returns and shipping information, and the ingredients used in their products.
They also have a statement about the FDA at the bottom of the footer to confirm that their products have not been approved by the FDA and will not necessarily treat unrelated diseases.
Cannuka’s product page has useful elements such as product description, usage, benefits, and ingredients, providing complete details. The reviews on the page also contribute to confirm the quality and reliability of the brand.
Cannuka puts a lot of emphasis on the ingredients in their products. They even have a dedicated page showing information on each one. On this page, Cannuka provides information that users should know about CBD, Manuka honey, and other ingredients in their products. This helps them build trust.
06. How To Build A Shopify CBD Store
61. Start with Shopify
With Shopify officially supporting CBD stores since 2019, they’ve quickly become the top choice for many large and small CBD brands. You can easily open a Shopify CBD store online at a low cost – it’s completely free for the first 14 days.
6.2. Submit An Attestation
If in the US, you will need to submit an Attestation for the Sale of Hemp and Hemp-Derived Products. You can only see this page if your Shopify store is in the US.
If you are in another country or territory, you will be bound by the laws and policies there. For example, if you are in Canada, you will need a license to sell cannabis, as well as a Shopify Plus store, to be able to sell CBD online.
6.3. Set Up Payment
Although Shopify has support for stores that sell CBD, the Shopify payments system doesn’t support these products. Shopify Payments/Stripe, Square and Paypal are great for many sites, but when it comes to CBD sales, you need to get another Payment processor.
To be able to sell CBD on Shopify, you must use payment gateways from third party payment processor:
By having fully integrated with Shopify, DigiPay offer Shopify sellers streamlined CBD payment processing with great flexibility for business of all size, its features include, but not limited to:
- Fast-track approval
- Full credit card suite
- Powerful protection and vetted security
eMerchant Brokers has also partnered with Shopify to save merchant’s time with their CBD payment processor. To get a full understanding of how they can help Shopify sellers, you would need to fill in an application form.
Besides, if you want to use a different third party payment gateway, then it must:
- Be integrated with Shopify
- Support buying, exchaging, selling hemp, CBD & hemp related items.
Note that, due to American laws, class all CBD products as a narcotic, which means that Paypal does not accept the transactions of any hemp -derived products . The stance that PayPal has taken is very similar to the stance that it has with any transactions that include cannabis plants.