WooCommerce and Highly-Regulated Products

This document focuses on the legalities of whether WooCommerce can be used to sell products that are highly regulated and/or legally restricted. This includes products listed here, which are prohibited on WordPress.com but are permitted to some extent on our open source WooCommerce plugin, subject to the following guidelines. 

Can WooCommerce be used to sell highly-regulated products?

Yes, you can use WooCommerce for your site. As our software is open source, we do not limit its use. We strongly advise you to seek legal advice in both the country you’re selling from and the one(s) you’re selling to if you are unsure about the legal framework of selling your products. 

While you can use the code of our WooCommerce plugin to sell highly-regulated products, you cannot use direct services offered by Automattic to support those stores. Automattic’s direct services include, but are not limited to, WordPress.com and the Jetpack plugin.

This means that you can use the open source WooCommerce plugin to sell highly-regulated products, but you cannot:

  • Use WooCommerce services that depend on a Jetpack connection, such as WooCommerce Shipping or WooCommerce Tax. 
  • Host your site on WordPress.com.

What about CBD oil? 

These guidelines apply to products derived from cannabis or hemp, including CBD oil. You can sell them using the open source WooCommerce plugin but cannot use any of Automattic’s direct services listed above. This is the case whether the products are over or under 0.3% THC, and whether they are derived from hemp or cannabis. 

In the US, where Automattic is registered and headquartered, any products derived from cannabis or hemp with a THC concentration of 0.3% or higher are illegal. And CBD oil with a THC concentration of less than 0.3% is highly regulated. For example, certain licensing laws must be followed, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t allow CBD sellers to make therapeutic claims about preventing, treating, or curing diseases or other health conditions. The FDA also prohibits CBD products in food or dietary supplements. You can learn more here. 

We have an exception for hemp-derived clothing. If you sell clothing made from hemp, our rules about not using Automattic’s direct services don’t apply, and 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. 

Why do we not allow Automattic’s direct services to be used?

Many of our store owners and customers reside in countries where some of the products on our restricted list are fully legalized, but their production and sale in the US—where Automattic is registered—is highly regulated. 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.

Are there other rules I should be aware of?

Yes. It’s your responsibility as the store owner to abide by the laws and regulations in the locations where you operate and sell. If we determine, in our sole discretion, that your store violates our WooCommerce Use Terms, we may decline to provide support to your store or discontinue services.   

Payment gateways and merchant accounts also have various rules and restrictions on these highly-regulated products, so make sure your payment gateway and merchant account allow them. Your shipping company may also have restrictions.  

Is your company against these highly-regulated products?

No, we are not. These policies exist due to the current legal framework and are not a judgment call on the legitimacy of your business. 

Can I get help for my WooCommerce store?

Yes. Our WooCommerce.com help desk can assist you with your site if you would normally qualify to receive support. You might also receive help from others in the WordPress.org forums or the WooCommerce community.

Resources

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