If you’re only using the open-source WooCommerce software, you don’t have to worry about these guidelines. Because WooCommerce is open-source software, we don’t limit its use unless other Automattic (the company behind WooCommerce) services are involved.
These guidelines apply to store owners who’d like to use other services offered by Automattic like Jetpack, WooCommerce Shipping, or WooCommerce Tax to sell cannabidiol (CBD) and other hemp-derived products online.
Products covered ↑ Back to top
These guidelines apply to stores selling any CBD and other hemp-derived products, except hemp-derived clothing.
If you sell clothing made from hemp, you are welcome to use all of Automattic’s services. Note that if this exception applies to you, hemp clothing would need to be the only product derived from cannabis or hemp sold in your store.
Required payment provider ↑ Back to top
If you’d like to use any Automattic services in addition to the open-source WooCommerce software, we require you to use Square as a payment provider. Square has a program that reviews and approves stores selling CBD and hemp-derived products according to applicable laws and regulations. Sell CBD products with Square.
Square’s program is currently only available in the United States. If you’re operating a store outside the US, you’re still welcome to use the open-source WooCommerce software, but we cannot offer any other Automattic services, like those listed above.
Find out more at WooCommerce and Highly Regulated Products about selling CBD and other hemp-derived products with a different payment provider, including if your store is outside the US.
Hosting ↑ Back to top
You can host your store with any hosting provider that allows CBD sales. WordPress.com currently does not support CBD sites, but other hosts do. Contact hosting companies directly to ask about their current policy before signing up.
Complying with laws and regulations ↑ Back to top
These guidelines are not intended as legal advice. The laws and regulations on CBD and other hemp-derived products are complex, so we strongly recommend seeking legal advice in the state or country you’re selling from, as well as the one(s) you’re selling to before setting up shop.
As the store owner, It’s your responsibility to understand and follow the laws and regulations that apply.
US federal law ↑ Back to top
US federal law qualifies cannabis-derived products with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of less than 0.3% as legal hemp. However, the industry is highly regulated.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) imposes a number of federal regulations for hemp-derived products, including CBD. The FDA regulates food, drugs, and cosmetics, and these regulations can carry criminal and civil penalties, so they’re important to understand before opening a store. For example, the FDA prohibits CBD in foods, beverages, and supplements, and it requires all products to be labeled properly. The FDA also prohibits therapeutic claims about the benefits of CBD on the mind or body, as CBD is not an FDA-approved drug.
Local laws ↑ Back to top
Local laws in certain states or cities can be more or less strict than federal law. Be sure that your products are legal to sell in the location of your store and of your customers.
The US Postal Service and other shipping services have their own rules about shipping CBD. Check with your shipping provider before mailing CBD or other hemp-derived products.
Taxes ↑ Back to top
As the store owner, it’s your responsibility to understand and follow the federal and local laws and regulations that apply to filing taxes and charging taxes for CBD sales.
Termination ↑ Back to top
If we determine, in our sole discretion, that your store violates applicable laws or our WooCommerce Use Terms, we may terminate your access to our services or decline to provide support to your store.
FAQs ↑ Back to top
Why are there stricter requirements for usage of Automattic services? ↑ Back to top
Many of our store owners and customers reside in countries where CBD on our restricted list are fully legalized, but their production and sale in the US – where Automattic is registered – is highly regulated.
What steps do I need to take to open a WooCommerce store for CBD or other hemp-derived products? ↑ Back to top
- Find a host that allows CBD and other hemp-derived products. WordPress.com does not currently allow sites to sell these products online.
- Find a payment provider that allows sale of hemp-derived products. If you apply for and are approved by Square, you can also take advantage of other services offered by Automattic, such as Jetpack, WooCommerce Shipping, and WooCommerce Tax.
- Check with your bank to confirm you can accept deposits from your payment provider for these products.
- Check with your shipping provider to make sure you can ship CBD or other hemp-derived products. For example, you may need to fill out an additional form at the post office.
I thought the 2018 Farm Bill legalized CBD and hemp-derived products in the US. Why are there still restrictions on them? ↑ Back to top
The 2018 Farm Bill took hemp with THC content < 0.3% off the list of illegal controlled substances, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) imposes strict rules and regulations on hemp-derived products. Those rules and regulations can carry civil and criminal penalties.
I live outside the US and CBD is fully legal here. Can I use Automattic’s other services for my store? ↑ Back to top
No. Our partnership with Square to approve stores selling CBD and other hemp-derived products is currently limited to stores in the US, but you’re welcome to use the WooCommerce open-source software on your site without using other services offered by Automattic (such as Jetpack, WooCommerce Shipping, and WooCommerce Tax).
Because Automattic is registered in the US, any transactions that pass through our servers must comply with U.S. law.
Additionally, these products are regulated and restricted to various degrees around the world, so it’s important for you to understand all the rules and laws that apply in your case, both where you are located and where you sell.
Why am I required to use Square as my payment provider? ↑ Back to top
Square has a vetting process for stores selling CBD and other hemp-derived products, so we currently require Square as the payment provider if you’d like to connect your store to Jetpack, WooCommerce Tax, and WooCommerce Shipping. We may approve additional payment providers in the future.
Do I need to go through Square’s application process to sell CBD or other hemp-derived products? ↑ Back to top
Yes. If Square discovers that you’re selling CBD or other hemp-derived products without approval, their policy is to discontinue services.
What if I’m approved by Square but later declined? ↑ Back to top
We require you to be approved by Square if you’d like to use Jetpack, WooCommerce Tax, or WooCommerce Shipping.
What if I don’t want to use Square? ↑ Back to top
You can still use the open-source WooCommerce software to power a store that sells CBD or other hemp-derived products, but you can’t take advantage of Jetpack, WooCommerce Shipping, WooCommerce Tax, or other Automattic services.
Will Square approve my site immediately? ↑ Back to top
Square requires time to vet new sites before approving them to sell CBD and other hemp-derived products, due to heavy regulation of the hemp industry.
Will my bank accept payment from Square for CBD and other hemp-derived products? ↑ Back to top
Check with your bank! Different banks have different policies on this. Once you’re approved by Square, you’ll need a bank that will ultimately accept payments.
If I print my shipping labels using WooCommerce Shipping, am I automatically approved to ship CBD and other hemp-derived products? ↑ Back to top
Not necessarily. You may need to fill out a specific form with the US Post Office (or other shipping providers) when dropping off your package. It’s your responsibility to know and follow applicable laws and regulations on shipping.
What hosting providers can I use for my CBD store? ↑ Back to top
We aren’t recommending specific hosting providers at this time because company policies on CBD and hemp-derived products are rapidly changing. WordPress.com does not support stores that sell CBD or other hemp-derived products online. We recommend asking your host ahead of time to confirm you can host your store there.