Retail stores in California are going to need more shelf space as California Assembly Bill 228 will remove the prohibition on hemp-derived CBD foods and supplements. AB-228 passed through on May 16, 2019, with unanimous approval and will now move to the House floor, which requires a two-thirds majority to move to the Senate.

In July 2018, the California Department of Public Health offered guidance that prohibits the addition of hemp-derived CBD to foods. Currently, the state of California follows federal law in regards to supplements, food additives, and labeling. The FDA concluded that it is in violation of federal law to infuse or deliver any food with THC or CDB, regardless of whether it’s derived from industrial hemp or cannabis.

And while the manufacturing and retail of cannabis-derived CBD products are legally permitted in accordance with CA’s cannabis regulations, hemp-based CBD remains prohibited for use in food products and supplements.

AB-228 is intended to address these guidelines given the recent breakdown of legal barriers surrounding hemp in California.

If AB-228 passes, California would join multiple states, including Illinois and Colorado, that now allow hemp-derived CBD in food products. AB-228 states that “the sale of food or beverages that include hemp or cannabinoids, extracts, or derivatives from industrial hemp shall not be restricted or prohibited based solely on the inclusion of industrial hemp or cannabinoids, extracts, or derivatives from industrial hemp.”

AB-228 will not preclude enforcement by the FDA; however, it will give California residents with a strong defense regarding illegal adulterations of products with CBD. AB-228 will also allow authorized cannabis retailers to legally sell hemp-derived CBD food products and supplements and declare industrial hemp (and its derivatives) as an agricultural product.

The fate of AB-228 now lies in the House of Representatives. If passed, the bill will travel to the Senate for approval by a committee and the House floor before being signed into action by Governor Newsom.

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