U.S. authorities legalized hemp and CBD in the game-changing 2018 Farm Bill. But it left plenty of questions for the industry about which part of the plant and which forms of it are actually legal.
California officials have stepped in to remove all doubt, at least in the Golden State. Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 45 just before the weekend, to drastically loosen regulations on hemp by officially ratifying the production and sale of a significant variety of cannabis-based CBD products.
Unlike federal authorities, California officials will now recognize CBD as a dietary supplement and promote its use in edibles, drinks, pet food, lotions and beauty products, among a handful of other popular health and wellness items. Vendors in the state can also legally import CBD products from other states to sell in California, as long as the products adhere to testing and labeling measures laid out in AB45.
Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, the California assemblywoman who sponsored AB45, said the new law will help ensure CBD products sold in the Golden State meet certain quality standards. Mandating such standards will help eradicate bootleg and low-grade items sold in the legal market.
“We knew we could grow hemp (with the Farm Bill), but we didn’t know if we could do anything with it,” Aguiar-Curry said. “I knew there was a need to make sure we could test it and label it, and I’m excited where we are today.”
The new law calls for the state’s department of public health to implement the legislation, which Aguiar-Curry said could take a couple months to fully develop.
While many states have understood the Farm Bill to legalize the growing and sale of hemp and CBD products, California has overseen several high-profile police raids of dozens of cannabis and CBD stores in recent years. Faulty CBD products made in the Golden State and sold elsewhere have also come under intense scrutiny.
Aguiar-Curry acknowledges the new law “isn’t perfect,” most notably because it excludes smokeable hemp. But its passing at least establishes a baseline for both authorities and CBD vendors to abide by.
“I think we can finally move forward and expand our retail market,” she said. “We will get there.”