(Editor’s note: This is part of a series on California’s hemp industry. To read the previous installment, click here.)
A proposal to legalize hemp-derived extracts in food and beverages in California is on hold as lawmakers focus on coronavirus-related legislation to help the economy, but the bill’s sponsor says she’s bringing it back in August.
Supporters of the legislation plan to argue in the forthcoming debate that regulating consumable hemp products is “an economic driver” and that it will protect consumers, said Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, a Democrat carrying the proposal.
It would set testing requirements for safety and to ensure products don’t exceed 0.3% THC levels.
Aguiar-Curry said companies interested in selling edible CBD are waiting for legislators to act.
“They have investments that are sitting there waiting to build their labs, but they’re waiting to see what we come up with and what the qualifications are,” she told Hemp Industry Daily.
Aguiar-Curry said it makes sense to delay the legislation, but she emphasized the importance of establishing oversight on unregulated products that Californians are already eating.
“It’s already being produced in many other states, and it’s coming through California via Amazon or other vendors,” she said.
The bill would give the state’s health department the authority to license and register food manufacturing facilities for hemp-infused products.
The legislation would also require that products have Quick Response codes that link back to a certificate of analysis – similar to what other states have in place now, said Patrick Goggin, a senior attorney with the Denver-based Hoban Law Group. He is also the chief lawyer for the California Hemp Council, an advocacy organization.
Goggin said that, in addition to tests for THC levels, there would be testing for chemicals and bio-contaminants to make sure products were lawfully produced.
The measure also clears the way for CBD to be sold in marijuana dispensaries, provided they are tested “the same way that the cannabis products are tested, and by a licensed cannabis facility lab,” Goggin said.
Disagreement over rules for selling CBD products in the marijuana retail space previously derailed the proposal, but Goggin said the current bill represents a compromise.
The bill will need funding to be carried out, but Aguiar-Curry said she doesn’t know how much she will ask for.
To read about other cannabis bills on hold in California, click here.
Ivan Moreno can be reached at [email protected]