Hemp-Derived CBD Oil Is Now Illegal In California

July 23, 2018

In yet another damaging and confusing blow to the budding CBD industry, the state of California has officially banned the sale of hemp-derived CBD oil.

Making hemp-derived CBD oil illegal, has nothing to do the with safety or effectiveness of hemp-based products, but rather some bureaucratic nonsense about what government agency actually regulates hemp products. This situation really illuminates the uncertainty surrounding the cannabis industry as a whole, both at the state and federal levels.

So What Exactly Happened?

On Friday, July 6, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released a memo stating that hemp-based CBD oil is completely banned in the state. The reasoning for this, as per the memo, is that “the public health department’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) regulates medicinal and adult-use manufactured cannabis products,” while “food products derived from industrial hemp are not covered by MCSB regulations. Instead, these products fall under the jurisdiction of CDPH-FDB.”

The memo further explained that “although California currently allows the manufacturing and sales of cannabis products (including edibles), the use of industrial hemp as the source of CBD to be added to food products is prohibited. Until the FDA rules that industrial hemp-derived CBD oil and CBD products can be used as a food or California makes a determination that they are safe to use for human and animal consumption, CBD products are not an approved food, food ingredient, food additive, or dietary supplement.”

Diamond's Blue Dream Terps Oil, illegal in CA

Diamond’s Blue Dream Terps Oil, illegal in CA

What About The Farm Bill?

Although the Farm Bill covers many agricultural topics, it has an important provision written in that legalized state-regulated programs for industrial hemp production. Since it was signed into law in 2014, 40 states have allowed industrial hemp – defined as having 0.3 percent THC or less – to be grown for various reasons. California is one of those 40 states but since the states hemp pilot program is governed by the Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), it’s in a completely different category than products overseen by the Bureau of Cannabis Control or MCSB.

What Does This All Mean?

So basically, hemp-derived CBD oil is now illegal in California because the state can’t determine whether or not its safe to eat. If that sounds confusing to you, it’s because it makes absolutely no sense. This isn’t the only facet of the industry that’s changing, however. Even areas governed by the Bureau of Cannabis Control such as medical products, recreational flowers, dispensaries, etc., are undergoing major upheavals.

For now, it looks like the California market is shifting to something many people won’t recognize or enjoy. To counteract these changes, first make sure to stay up to date on what is happening, a lot of these changes are completed very discretely. And second, make sure to vote when the opportunity arises. The laws and prices should hopefully reach a comfortable level within the next few years.

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