California Bill to Provide Clarity on Hemp CBD Products Advances in the Senate

On Wednesday, members of the California Senate’s Health Committee approved a bill that seeks to provide clarity surrounding the sale of hemp-derived CBD products.

Currently, the state’s Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law prohibits the manufacture, sale, and delivery of adulterated foods, beverages, or cosmetics—and a violation of the law is a misdemeanor.

Assembly Bill 228 would explicitly state that a food, beverage, or cosmetic is “not adulterated by the inclusion of industrial hemp or cannabinoids,” thereby prohibiting restrictions on the sale of food, beverages, and cosmetics that include industrial hemp or its derivatives.

The bill could also affect the state’s cannabis industry. If implemented, entities that are licensed to engage in commercial cannabis sales would be allowed to manufacture, distribute, and sell products that contain industrial hemp.

During the hearing, the bill’s author, Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), noted that “The manufacture and sale of hemp CBD in California is rapidly expanding business, with over one thousand employees and millions of dollars in economic activity.”

“We can already buy these products today at local gyms, coffee shops, wellness stores, and even now at CVS,” she added. “Should the state chose not to clarify that hemp CBD products are legal, these jobs and this business would be lost.”

Subsequently, a number of trade associations spoke in support of the bill, including the US Hemp Roundtable, the California Cannabis Manufacturers Association, and the California Cannabis Industry Association, whose senior policy director, Amy Jenkins said: “From a cannabis industry perspective, we’re very pleased with the provisions in the bill that would allow the industry to manufacture and sell these products.”

A licensed cannabis manufacturer at the hearing, however, spoke in opposition of the measure, saying, “The cannabis industry is in a very fragile place right now. I urge you all to give us a fair shot at competing in the high CBD medicinal cannabis market . . . Currently, this bill undermines that by allowing hemp into the supply chain.”

The bill now moves on to the Senate’s Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee. If it proceeds from there, it will still need to be heard before the full Senate, then signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom.


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