Wed. Jul 8th, 2020

California is looking forward to legalizing CBD in food and beverages.

The hemp entrepreneurs were very happy with the speculations that the state legislation of California would be working to legalize the hemp derived CBD as an ingredient in food, beverages and cosmetics. The bill would be prepared soon and will just need the Governor Gavin Newsom’s approval.

Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, and Patrick Goggin, a San Francisco-based cannabis attorney with Hoban Law Group. The two hemp worked and claimed that the hemp derived CBD is not an adulterant. It was the coalition of advocates, hemp farmers and local government that were working off session to introduce the

The bill that restricts the hemp derived CBD to be used in food and beverage 4s could have been overturned if the state legislation had done enough last year, but sadly no steps were taken in that time and hence things remained unchanged. The CBD industry had high hopes from the senator but nothing was done and the proposal could not be passed.

Goggin said the bill was unnecessarily shelved during the last session mostly due to conflict of ideas between the marijuana and CBD industry. He also added, “Sadly not proper steps were taken at the right time which resulted in no agreement between the two. This gave the legislation an opportunity to delay things.”

The governor asked the bill sponsor to resolve concerns regarding:

  • Food safety related to CBD.
  • Rules associated with selling products in marijuana dispensaries.

 What next?

The state’s hemp coalition suggested in letter sent to Newsom by the in mid-January, the proposed amendments to the legislation address:

  • Concerns from the state health department about the mixing of hemp and marijuana raw products within the operations of licensed producers.
  • Calls for testing parity between hemp and marijuana products.

Goggin suggested, the new version of the bill has some recommendations regarding the health department regarding the mixing of marijuana. This means the level of testing will be the same as that of metals and pesticides, when they are tested for contamination.

The most important part remains that the products will now come under the California Department of Public Health, since consumer safety is very important, added Goggin.

But not everyone is happy about the proposed amendments.

Chris Boucher is the CEO of Farmtiva, a hemp farm and genetics company in Santa Ysabel. He believes the marijuana industry and hemp industry should have the same testing rules and no different testing should be done for hemp. It is very frustrating that the hemp farmers are profiting from CBD.

Boucher also added, “Since we do not cultivate marijuana, we just grow hemp, which is like soybeans, carrots and lettuce. We are not responsible for the presence of chemicals, it is the manufacturers who should figure out whether it has chemicals, pesticides or herbicides in their products.

Goggin in hopeful of the bill being signed by Newsom as early as March. The bill will be continued from it was left last year, and it is expected that the procedure will be completed quickly this time around.

States can step up and self-regulate

The U.S Food and Drug Administration recently announced that the CBD cannot be generally recognized as safe (GRAS), this resulted in many states such as Oregon and South Carolina banning alcoholic beverages containing CBD and animal and pet food containing CBD, respectively. This was the trend in 2019, states took it to themselves whether they wanted to allow CBD or not.

According to Goggin, Indiana, Florida and Texas passed allowed the sale of these products. Also they were put under the jurisdiction of the state public health department.

Although the FDA says CBD cannot go in foods, there are states that openly sell the ingestible products. This means that the states should protect the consumers who are willing to buy such products. It is completely based on the consumer’s beliefs, if they believe CBD to be safe then the states should work in favor of that.

Goggin said, “The upcoming year is coming with lots of expectations, especially from the farmers. The hemp production is expanding and it is very important to have an economic path for them. If the processors and manufacturers are not regulated then it would be a huge loss for the farmers, as they will find it difficult to sell their crops and make money out of it.”

Josh Schneider, CEO of genetics company Cultivaris Hemp in San Diego, believes there is a strong need for legislation as it would help the hemp farmers to be more innovative and developmental, especially in rural areas.

Schneider also said, “Many of the farmers I met admitted to trying or planning to build their own commercial kitchen. They are also in touch with local, regional or national level food and beverage companies to collaborate with. This bill creates a legal framework for the growth and development of a new and vibrant wellness industry linked directly to California farms.”