Long-Awaited Hemp Bill Sent to Governor’s Desk

California lawmakers have passed a long-anticipated bill establishing rules for the state’s hemp industry. AB 45 has been sent to the governor’s desk. He’s expected to sign it.

Highlights of AB 45 include the following:

-Gives the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) regulatory authority over hemp-derived products

-Establishes new testing standards for hemp farmers and businesses and holds out-of-state hemp products to the same standards

-Permits sales of smokable hemp as soon as lawmakers establish a tax for “inhalable products”

-Allows CBD to be added to food, beverages and cosmetics

-Bans the sale of THC isomers such as delta-8 THC outside regulated cannabis sales

AB 45’s passage follows the failure of previous bills that attempted to regulate hemp. It was supported by the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, the California Cannabis Industry Association, the California Hemp Council, and the Cannabis Beverage Association. It faced opposition from the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC), the California-based Hemp Farmers Guild, and the California Hemp Coalition.

Initially, the bill contained a ban on smokable hemp, which was a non-starter for the industry. Although that was lifted, opponents have complained that some of the language in AB 45 remains unclear. You can read more about the criticism here.