A bill that expands cannabis laws in California to include the legalization of smokable industrial hemp, as well as hemp or cannabinoid inclusion in food, drink, cosmetics, and pet food, was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday.
Assembly Bill 45, authored by Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), will now require manufacturers of dietary supplements and food that includes industrial hemp to register with the State Department of Public Health and prove that all parts of the industrial hemp plant are used. Industrial hemp and cannabinoid infused dietary supplements, food, drinks, cosmetics, or pet food will also need to not be adulterated before sale, with proper legal restrictions on those products to be included upon approval.
Health statements about the now legal products will be tightly regulated as well, with AB 45 in particular pointing out no tolerance for false health statements in ads. Taxes will be applied, with the Department of Cannabis Control helping set up the steps needed to make industrial hemp part of the cannabis supply chain. With the help of other departments, a crackdown will also be initiated against unlicensed hemp manufacturers who don’t meet these new requirements.
In short, AB 45 expands the cannabis industry in California by allowing the manufacture and sale of multitude of new hemp and cannabinoid products.
The bill passed in the Senate 29-2 and in the Assembly 64-3 last month, with most Democrats and Republicans either voting in favor or not voting on the bill due to the expansion of the cannabis industry and the economic growth it is likely to bring to many regions in the state.
“I knew that there was a need, and I knew that we needed to make sure that hemp products were safe and have been tested and had good labeling,” said Assemblywoman Aguiar-Curry on her decision to write the bill.
AB 45 signed into law
Supporters of the bill noted that hemp can now compete with cannabis in the growing marijuana market and that hemp would expand the number of new products available.
“We cannot thank the author enough for her tireless and unparalleled work to get comprehensive hemp regulations passed,” noted California Cannabis Industry Association Executive Director Lindsay Robinson on Wednesday. “Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry has been steadfast in her approach to create a level playing field between cannabis and hemp while protecting the health and safety of all Californians.
However, while noting the greater economic opportunities of the bill, many questioned the need for the expansion of the market, especially in regards to the many products hemp can now be used in.
“A lot of people are for the expansion of businesses,” Alan Dunleavy, a business advisor who specializes in recently legalized products in the Western US, told the Globe on Thursday. “You could see this in the support for this bill in California. Many people usually against are for it because of the economic opportunities tied to it. It’s a major growth industry. But a lot of people are unsure of it expanding this fast. There is a framework here, as well as the usual health and safety and legal checks in there, but it being expanded to things like cosmetics and pet food, well, it seems like it’s going everywhere now.”
“If they had done some more research on this to rule out some negative effects, because, you know, cannabis and hemp are still taboo or seen as a major drug to many people, then it might get more people onboard.”
“This was probably going to happen sooner or later, but they could have done a better job with it.”
Due to the inclusion of an urgency statute, AB 45 went into effect immediately Wednesday upon being signed into law.