California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Wednesday signed a bill that stands to dramatically expand the state’s hemp industry by legalizing retail sales of a wide range of consumable products derived from the plant.
Until now, the lack of explicit regulations has inhibited the hemp market, stakeholders say. The governor’s signing of AB 45 means that non-intoxicating cannabinoids, including CBD, can be sold as dietary supplements and as ingredients in food and beverages.
AB 45 will give workability for growers and CBD producers while putting in place stringent regulation to ensure the hemp CBD products Californians consume is clearly labeled and non-intoxicating. #CALeg
— Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (@AsmAguiarCurry) October 8, 2021
The bill lays the groundwork for the sale of smokable hemp in California, but lawmakers must first pass a measure to establish a tax scheme for those products before they can be marketed. Stakeholders say they will be working closely with the legislature to advance a tax measure during next year’s session. In the meantime, hemp producers can immediately begin growing and manufacturing smokable products to be sold in other states.
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The now-signed legislation contains various requirements for testing and labeling of hemp products. It additionally lays out rules for selling items with hemp-derived cannabinoids in California that are produced in other states.
The California Department of Public Health will now get to work crafting rules to implement the legislation, which also allows cannabinoid-infused cosmetics and pet foods to be sold.
Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D), sponsor of the bill, told the U.S. Hemp Roundtable in a recent interview that she was motivated to bring about the reform proposal after seeing hemp products being sold across the state and realizing that there was a lack of regulations to ensure consumer safety.
“I knew that there was a need, and I knew that we needed to make sure that [hemp products were] safe and have been tested and had good labeling,” she said. The lawmaker stressed that there’s more work to be done to further refine the law, but this is a critical step in the right direction.
Lindsay Robinson, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, cheered the bill’s enactment.
“We cannot thank the author enough for her tireless and unparalleled work to get comprehensive hemp regulations passed,” she said in a press release. “Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry has been steadfast in her approach to create a level playing field between cannabis and hemp while protecting the health and safety of all Californians.”
Members of the group “look forward to working with the author on future legislation to establish a pathway for the incorporation of hemp into the cannabis supply chain,” Robinson added.
Newsom’s signing comes weeks after he approved separate legislation to require hospitals to permit medical marijuana use by certain patients in their facilities.
Separately, a California bill that passed the Senate and several Assembly committees to legalize possession of a wide range of psychedelics such as psilocybin and ayahuasca has stalled following a decision by the sponsor that more time is needed to build the case for the reform and solidify its chances of being enacted.
That said, California activists have recently been cleared to begin collecting signatures for a 2022 ballot initiative to legalize psilocybin mushrooms in the state.
Photo by Kimzy Nanney.