Anyone who has been following the hemp industry for years knows that the industry is no stranger to legal hurdles, made all the more complicated by varying hemp laws between different states. A lack of regulation both on a federal and state level has made CBD-related laws complicated to say the least, but new changes in California hemp legislation have cleared things up for state residents while helping hemp businesses out at the same time.
On October 7, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom of California signed AB 45, allowing hemp products to be sold as ingredients in foods, beverages and dietary supplements. The new law went further to finally permit the sales of smokable hemp products as well. It’s worth pointing out that this law extends to the pet industry, as CBD is becoming a popular option for cats and dogs. The use of raw hemp and hemp-derived extracts in these specific types of products has been a subject of controversy throughout many states in the country, with cited fears of marketing CBD to minors while reflecting concerns about how an unregulated market could lead to unsafe products sold to the general public.
Cannabis laws in California remain some of the most lenient throughout the country, and the state has largely been a pioneer when it comes to legalization for well over a decade. So, hopes are that this new legislation will act as a catalyst that will influence other states still denying hemp businesses the right to sell their CBD in these product forms.
What the New Law Means for Californians
California residents have understandably been confused about which hemp products can be legally purchased throughout the state. Hemp businesses have been equally puzzled, as state and federal laws pertaining to hemp-infused products has seen a lot of back and forth since the initial passing of the Farm Bill in 2018, which broadly legalized the plant under the stipulation that no hemp product sold commercially contains more than 0.3% delta-9 THC.
Over the years, states have scrambled to come up with ways to regulate the hemp industry, which has been something of a “Wild West” since its legalization 3 years ago. AB 45 aims to regulate the production and sales of hemp throughout the state so that companies can maintain specific safety and quality standards when producing CBD-infused foods, beverages and dietary supplements, as well as raw CBD flower products. One particular restriction is the marketing of these products to children and pregnant women.
Manufacturers of these products must register with the California Department of Public Health and comply with good manufacturing practices (GMP), a set of manufacturing standards maintained throughout the country, in order to begin selling these types of hemp products. Products must also be tested by a state-registered third party to verify that they contain the legal limit of THC permitted by the state and federal law. Further, companies may not make any health claims, as this is forbidden by the FDA, and must prove that their product is made with hemp derived from a state or country that has a regionally regulated industrial hemp program.
Meanwhile, the California Department of Public Health is given control over regulating the hemp market, which allows them to set standards when it comes to serving sizes of hemp products, how they may be marketed and how sales can be tracked throughout the state, among other things. AB 45 also requires that the CDPH study the impact of these products on the statewide cannabis market.
For now, these products are not yet available on the market, as California legislators must first come up with a means for taxing them.
Hemp Businesses Breathe a Sigh of Relief
Even in a cannabis-friendly state like California, manufacturers of hemp products have been on pins and needles due to often unclear and ever-evolving legislation on how they may produce and market their products. Companies located in the state have largely felt hindered by their fears that products and practices they’ve invested in could suddenly become illegal at any given time. Further, they’ve felt held back by a lack of clear guidelines on food, beverage, supplement and smokable products, which has prevented them from expanding their businesses. AB 45 is a clear win for California hemp companies, finally allowing them to explore new CBD formulations to sell to customers throughout the state.
If you’re a California resident who has been eager to explore these particular types of hemp products, you can find them at CBD For the People. Our Gummy Noids and our smokable CBD flower products are among our best-sellers and are fully compliant with federal law by containing no more than 0.3% delta-9 THC.