Hemp-Derived Commerce – Can California’s New CBD Law Pave the Way for National Standards?

California put a major policy change in action recently. The legislation focuses on resolving the inconsistencies and ambiguities in the hemp-derived CBD regulation.

It could be a significant step towards setting national standards for CBD consumables. In the absence of any guidelines by the US Food and Drug Administration, it is vital to have some direction. However, the crucial question here is, can it lead the way for other states and the nation?

The Status

The consumers, purveyors, and producers of CBD products have been operating in the grey zone for a long time. The recent adoption of laws to govern hemp-derived CBD products in Sacramento helps to bring much-needed clarity to this sector.

Due to the absence of proper legislation and ambiguous regulatory environment, the CBD sector has become the Wild West. 

Gov Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 45 on 6 October 2021 to authorize using hemp-derived cannabinoids and hemp products in cosmetics, beverages, foods, and pet care products. The legislation also appoints strong guidelines for the manufacturers for strictly adhering to the state’s labeling and testing norms. These are in line with the statutory norms governing the THC-rich cannabis products sold at the state-licensed dispensaries.

A crucial aspect that you should note here is that Assembly Bill 45 does not allow the direct sale of hemp-derived CBD products in cannabis dispensaries. The CBD product market in California clocked $ 730 million in 2019. The legislation will help identify two separate segments – the cannabis CBD and hemp-CBD for the time being.

California Cannabis Industry Association or CCIA welcomed this move by the legislators with a few cautions. Lindsay Robinson, CCIA director, in his statement praising the author of the bill, Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry, said, “steadfast in her approach to creating a level playing field between cannabis and hemp while protecting the health and safety of all Californians.”

Acknowledging the limitations of the new law, Robinson also said that AB 45 has set a long-overdue, comprehensive structure to manufacture and sell hemp products in California, but our work is not over. He further added that he looks forward to working with the author on future laws that can establish a pathway to incorporate hemp into the cannabis supply chain.

The State of Confusion

The state policies on CBD in California have been confusing for a prolonged period. A memo issued by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) in July 2018 put out that hemp-derived CBD extract is not legal for use in foods. The CBD containing 0.3% THC extracted from plants can only be part of the formulation. Non-hemp-derived CBD-rich products are to adhere to the CDPH’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch’s guidelines.

Such a declaration only leads to the aggravation of the rising confusion relating to the nomenclature in use. The distinction drawn between cannabis and CBD-derived hemp by CDPH seemed unjust to many as hemp is nothing but cannabis with 0.3% THC or less. Also, it is crucial to note that some people even contest the term ‘psychoactive’ to define THC-rich cannabis. It is because even though CPD is intoxicant, it can have a substantial mood-altering effect.

Although, the memo was part of an effort to get people acquainted with FAQs (or Frequently Asked Questions) trying to clarify the existing legislation. It could not shed light on whether the prohibition applies to the use of the item in the food product or to hemp-derived CBD in general.

Experts in the industry and linked with the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) suggest that the ambiguity continues. According to them, inconsistent and sporadic enforcement are present for the food and beverage products.

Impact on National Standard

With the emergence of California from regulatory and legislative ambiguity around the CBD sector, time will only tell its impact at the federal level. Unfortunately, a lot of delay and confusion persists in the federal government regarding the CBD sector. 

The 2018 Farm Bill put in place the legislation for hemp-derived CBD, the US Food and Drug Administration is yet to put regulations in place for CBD products. Instead, the institution puts forth cautious statements to warn users of the harmfulness of CBD products, which are at times dubious claims.

FDA took a stand that the use of CBD should be a health supplement in the pharmaceutical industry. However, due to the presence of legislation at the federal level and regulations at the state level, the marketing of CBD products continues nationwide.

If you are a CBD Vapes user, you should be careful of your source of purchase and understand the norms that they meet. You should invest in quality e-liquids for your consumption. You can choose your liquid supplies from reputable sources that you know to maintain quality standards. You can refer to https://www.rainbowvapes.co.uk/ while shortlisting your e-liquid.

So as you can see, California took a significant step towards putting forth legislation that can guide the CBD sector. However, a lot needs to happen for the complete eradication of the ambiguity and confusion regarding CBD.

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