California bill to legalize hemp extracts in food, drinks, includes ban on smokable flower

, California bill to legalize hemp extracts in food, drinks, includes ban on smokable flower

California lawmakers will be faced again with the long-debated question of whether to allow hemp extracts in food and beverages in the state when the legislative session opens Monday, but this time the proposal comes with a twist: The measure would also ban smokable hemp flower – an increasingly popular and unregulated segment of the industry.

The ban would be a big concession to make to pass a measure that has pitted marijuana and hemp operators against each other over the regulatory scrutiny each faces.

“It’s one of the worst horse trades I’ve ever seen,” said Chris Boucher, CEO of California-based Farmtiva.

Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, a Democrat, carrying the bill, said Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration requested the prohibition on smokable hemp.

“I need to be mindful that if the administration doesn’t buy in and we go through committees, I don’t want my bill vetoed,” she said.

Aguiar-Curry has touted her bill as a much-needed economic driver during the pandemic. She introduced a similar measure without the smokable hemp ban last year, but it failed in September because lawmakers ran out of time to consider it as they worked on pandemic-relief measures.

“We were so overcome by all the bills that the administration didn’t want to move anything forward (on hemp) at that time,” Aguiar-Curry said.

In addition to allowing CBD in food and beverages, the bill would also set testing requirements for safety and to ensure products don’t have more than 0.3% THC.

, California bill to legalize hemp extracts in food, drinks, includes ban on smokable flower

Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry

Boucher said the bill does has some merit, since it would open the door for CBD products to go be sold legally across the state – sales that are now largely unregulated. But he views the proposed ban on smokable flower as a way to appease California marijuana businesses that face strict regulations while competing with hemp-derived products that have proliferated on store shelves across the state.

“We’re selling it in grocery stores and gas stations and headshops – unregulated. And you flip the page over to marijuana and they’re selling cannabinoids, too, but theirs are all regulated,” he said.

Boucher said banning smokable hemp flower could hurt small farms that have come to rely on the money it generates. But others argue the bill is a major step forward for the industry.

“Regulating hemp manufacturing will lead to a mainstreaming of hemp products in California creating increased demand for hemp materials and raise farming prospects,” Patrick Goggin, chief lawyer for the California Hemp Council, said in a statement. “Additionally, regulations will bolster consumer safety and confidence in the quality of consumable hemp products.”

Goggin said smokable hemp “almost requires its own set of regulations.”

“We will continue to address this issue during the legislative session with rolled-up sleeves,” he said.

Ivan Moreno can be reached at [email protected]

5 comments on “California bill to legalize hemp extracts in food, drinks, includes ban on smokable flower
  1. Joseph Kirkpatrick on

    Gavin Newsom is imminently facing a recall supported by both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. If that isn’t consensus, I don’t know what is. So, it appears that the standard players have hitched their wagon to the wrong vehicle yet again. If I were Pat Goggin, I’d ask the sponsor to ignore the soon to be ex-Governor’s wishes and keep the peace between hemp and marijuana.

  2. Ray on

    So why can’t we just let adults make adult decisions when it comes to what we want to smoke. I don’t need politicians telling me what is good and what is bad it’s my body my decisions, I only want to know if the product I am using is what is labeled on the package. Smoking CBG hemp is probably the fastest way to get pain relief for a lot of people. I’m 52 years old, get out of my body government.

  3. TGJD on

    By banning smokable hemp flower products, California is only empowering its domestic, and more importantly, it’s international competitors.
    Banning smokable hemp flower products is naive, short-sighted, and plainly foolish.
    At the worst economic times since the Great Depression, California is stupidly limiting itself by trying to ban smokable hemp flower products.
    Hey California, your competitors thank you for your naïveté and less than stellar business acumen towards smokable hemp flower products. Banning smokable hemp flower products is completely asinine on many levels. They’ll learn this the hard way apparently.

  4. Nick Smith on

    Divide and conquer…this has the hallmarks of ‘Big Pharma’ all over it. Pushing the artisan grower back into the ‘illegal’ zone. Look at the ridiculous state of the law in the british isles, 50 years since the ‘Misuse of Drugs Act’ came into force, hopelessly out-of-date and has stymied research, inflicted criminal records on 10s of thousands of recreational smokers, and is still used in a draconian way when it suits the authorities to do so… The biggest exporter of medical cannibinoids in the world(I read recently that not one prescription has been issued through the NHS) – GW pharmaceuticals, are well established in the UK and other big players are setting up industrial grows in other parts of the country…the market is vast and expanding. And the profits are extra-ordinary. Hemp, on the other hand for seed-oil and building materials, +100s of other uses. Mass planting of Hemp is a vital part of any ecological recovery and still has to build an infrastructure…But why, oh why do they fear THC? Sure some folk don’t like the side-effect of being ‘stoned’. But after 50 years+smoking hashish and flowering tops, my generation(who still smoke) know a helluva lot about the substance are marginalized as ‘criminals’…California, wise up!

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