Massachusetts clears path for hemp-derived CBD ingestibles in MJ retail

Massachusetts’ governor has agreed to allow marijuana dispensaries to sell hemp and hemp-derived products grown and manufactured in the state.

The change makes Massachusetts the latest to open up marijuana dispensaries to hemp operators and gives Massachusetts’ 79 farmers and 19 hemp processors their first route to selling CBD in foods, drinks and dietary supplements. The change also gives marijuana retailers a cheaper source of CBD inventory.

The provision – part of a $45.9 billion state budget signed by Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday – provides a lifeline to Massachusetts hemp farmers hampered by state rules banning them from processing their plants into CBD edibles, The Boston Globe reported.

“It literally changes everything for small hemp farmers like myself,” said Linda Noel, who grows hemp at Terrapin Farm in Franklin. “Our ranks dwindled this year, and I was not going to renew my license” before seeing the amendment.

She said the change “has given me hope that finally this will be a viable crop for me and so many small farmers.”

More than a dozen states have adopted rules in the last year to allow CBD and other hemp-derived products to be sold at marijuana dispensaries, opening a new sales outlet for the growing industry.

Under the new Massachusetts law, licensed dispensaries can now buy hemp products made by farmers or processors licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Out-of-state hemp products remain off-limits.

“This is a long-awaited fix to an oversight in the law that negatively impacted the Massachusetts hemp industry,” Mike Matton, president of Massachusetts-based CBD white labeler High Purity Natural Products, said in a statement.

Adult-use marijuana retailers in Massachusetts have generated $663 million in gross sales since the start of the year.

Since Massachusetts’ first two marijuana stores opened in 2018, 82 more have been cleared to begin operations statewide and are in the process of opening. Another 201 stores with provisional or final license approval are completing inspection and compliance procedures.