The sale of hemp or hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) online is a risky business. Simply being associated with marijuana (which is still illegal in many U.S. states) makes peddling your CBD wares quite difficult — especially online. Even though CBD contains no THC (a compound in the whole plant which has psychoactive effects), the rules and regulations around buying and selling it online have been rather hazy for purveyors of this natural remedy. This has led to many entrepreneurs getting banned from Shopify as their business starts to grow. For this reason, we wanted to help y’all aspiring CBD-sellers set up and run a successful shop — with no hiccups! Here’s how:
Getting Started: How to Avoid Issues from the Get-Go
U.S. laws surrounding hemp and CBD are constantly evolving at a rapid rate, so merchants should consider consulting an attorney before attempting to sell these products on the platform. This will help to ensure that merchants are in accordance with federal, state, and local laws. According to Shopify: “In the United States, products that meet the definition of (or that contain ingredients that meet the definition of) “hemp” as defined in the 2018 Farm Bill and that comply with all other applicable federal, state, and local laws, including those in the jurisdictions of your customers, can be sold on Shopify. Merchants are not permitted to sell products containing CBD derived from marijuana.”
Often when entrepreneurs run into issues with selling CBD products on Shopify, it’s due to their payment processor, not Shopify itself. Unfortunately, most big-name industry leaders in e-commerce and small-business payment processing like Paypal, Stripe, and Square don’t allow merchants to use their platforms to sell CBD, cannabis, or any related products. And in fact, even though Shopify allows the sale of CBD products on their platform, their payment processing system, Shopify Payments, does not support CBD-related transactions. This is a huge bummer for CBD-sellers because this means that the window for a reputable payment processing system is quite narrow. However, we have gathered a list of reputable, high-quality payment processing alternatives to the big names:
When choosing a payment processing provider, it’s important to look for:
- High-risk availability.
- Easy integrations.
- Point of Sale (POS) availability
- Low fees
- Reasonable contract
- Quality customer support
Setting Up Your Store
Once you’ve consulted an attorney and you have everything in place, you can start setting up shop!
- Visit https://www.shopify.com/sell/cbd to start your free trial, or if you already have a shop, go ahead and log in.
- When you are setting up your shop, you will need to review and submit Shopify’s Attestation for the Sale of Hemp and Hemp-Derived Products. This form outlines Shopify’s requirements for selling hemp and/or hemp-derived products in the U.S. The form is an agreement that the shop owner will comply with the requirements, so make sure you’ve read this thoroughly and carefully. Upon submitting the form, the attestation will process automatically and immediately.
- As we mentioned earlier, since Shopify Payments is not available for hemp or CBD products, you will need to select a third-party payment gateway. In addition to the list of alternatives that we provided above, Shopify endorses the following third-party payment gateways:
Go forth and become the BUDding entrepreneur you were meant to be!
Selling CBD products on Shopify can seem like a huge pain before you start, but once you get the assurance that you’re operating in accordance with all federal, state, and local laws, it should be smooth sailing. As you can see, the actual process of setting up the shop on Shopify is pretty straightforward. For an FAQ and more information, you can check out Shopify’s extensive Manual for Selling CBD Products.