California Passes Law Legalizing Cannabidiol (CBD) Products

The State of California now has a law that legalized the sales of CBD (hemp-derived cannabidiol) infused food, beverages, and dietary supplements in the state. Existing laws under the Adult Use of Marijuana Act legalized marijuana use for non-medical and recreational purposes if you are permitted. Persons with the appropriate state license can also produce and sell marijuana publicly. 

However, existing laws excluded Indian hemp from being categorized as cannabis, making CBD illegal in consumable products. The new CBD law will redefine Indian hemp as stated in the bill recently passed to law by the governor. 

There are concerns that this new law contrasts with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) stance on CBD. Under the Food, Drugs & Cosmetics Act (which tells us what is allowed or prohibited by the law), it is a crime to sell any food infused with CBD or THC in interstate commerce. This applies to both human and animal food/feed. Failure to comply with the applicable FDA legislation is punishable by heavy fines and imprisonment sentences.

The disparity in California’s new law regulating CBD edible products compared to the federal law makes the regulation unclear. Manufacturers of such products must do their findings on the applicable state laws, as it may contradict the federal laws. 

The FDA could not formulate standardized regulations that apply to every state. However, there are measures put out by the FDA to show its stance on CBD products by educating the public about the plant and its potential harm. Companies that deal in unapproved cannabidiol-related products have received warning letters from the FDA about their activities. The agency tests the product and identifies those with excessive cannabidiol content. 

The failure of the FDA to standardize the regulations on CBD across the United States has resulted in a proposed bill by the Senate to permit the addition of hemp-derived CBD and hemp-derived CBD in substances labeled as food and dietary supplements. Pending this legislation, different states like California have regulations in place for this. 

The bill concerning CBD products passed into law in California comprises the following:

  • Consumable products infused with CBD and its derivatives are legal in the state. 
  • Manufacturers, sellers, and distributions of CBD products must not include a false health-related label that shows the medical effects of consuming the product.  
  • The Department of Cannabis Control is to brief the Senate and the governor of the strategies to be implemented in including CBD consumables in the cannabis supply chain. 
  • Inhalable CBD products are not among the legalized products, excluding those manufactured for sale outside California.  
  • There should be a collaboration between the Department of Food and Agriculture and the State Department of Public Health, with the Department of Cannabis Control to formulate the necessary regulations and ensure its enforcement and compliance. 

Other states have similar policies concerning the sales of CBD products, and some have contrasting laws. The lack of uniformity in the laws concerning CBD products in the United States is tricky for companies in the cannabis industry. It may be tough to comply with the contrasting requirements of different states and at the federal level.