October 24

California’s Ban on CBD


This past summer The California Department of Public Health dealt a blow to hemp-based CBD companies statewide clarifying that in accordance with the FDA, CBD derived from industrial hemp is not approved in food and beverage. Here’s what you need to know.

As the popularity of CBD has grown, so has the trend to put CBD in a variety of food and beverage products. Retailers advertise CBD in Beer, Lattes, Chocolate and gummies. But not all CBD products have what it takes to be approved for consumption. On July 6th, The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released a FAQ memo which declared that industrial hemp derived CBD and CBD Oil is currently not approved for food and beverage products until the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declares otherwise.

The CDPH’s declaration isn’t a new ruling but merely a clarification on legalities that have become murky between Federal laws and State laws around industrial-hemp products and marijuana products. The memo came in response to a growing number of California companies reaching out with intent to use industrial hemp-derived CBD  for food and beverage products. California’s stance on hemp-based CBD has created some controversy between the industrial-hemp industry and the marijuana Industry as the ruling only singles out the use of industrial hemp-derived CBD from food, placing many hemp farmers and companies in a confusing legal limbo.

CDPH declares that, excluding the usage of hemp-derived CBD from food conforms to the FDA ruling that all products produced from the genus cannabis are currently considered a Schedule I drug and therefore not approved or legal for food products. This places hemp and marijuana-derived CBD products as illegal at the federal level. But with California’s passage of Proposition 64, the state legalized adult-recreational marijuana and The CDPH Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch regulates all marijuana production, therefore approves marijuana-derived CBD food products (edibles) to be sold at properly licensed dispensaries.

Industrial Hemp in California is regulated by the Federal law and the California Industrial Hemp Law. The cultivation of industrial hemp is only allowed in states where it is legal and only  by registered seed cultivators and licensed research institutions under a pilot program for research and educational purposes. For commercial purposes,  Hemp may only be grown as a fiber or oilseed crop. Currently under Federal and California State law, Hemp is not approved for food products.

So, by excluding hemp derived CBD from food and beverage, California is only following the current state and federal laws regarding Hemp. Marijuana is excluded from this ruling because California has legalized and regulates the manufacturing of cannabis products.

Another concern that comes up with Industrial hemp-derived CBD that creates an issue for its use in food and beverage is that there are no laws at the state or federal level that regulate CBD derived from industrial-hemp. There is growing concern that without proper regulations, more contaminants such as pesticides may be present and concentrated when CBD from industrial-hemp is extracted, posing unknown health risks to consumers.


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