Our California cannabis business attorneys know this is a field that this is an area of law that is constantly evolving. Case-in-point, two bills that could have a significant impact were advanced. One involves a bill now on the governor’s desk that allows for sales of hemp-derived CBD and ending prohibition on sales of smokable hemp products. The second, a measure to mandate hospitals allow medical marijuana use by certain patients, has advanced in the state legislature.
Our dedicated cannabis lawyers in Los Angeles are committed to assisting marijuana and hemp farmers, producers, retailers, and ancillary firms navigate the changing legal landscape.
The first, Assembly Bill 45, passed easily in both the state House and Senate. The measure is the result of years of advocacy to update the laws for hemp companies in California.
If signed by Gov. Gavin Newsome, the bill would:
- Allow hemp extracts, including CBD, to be used in food, drink, and cosmetic products.
- Establish an outline of rules for farmers, retailers, and ancillary companies for the production and sale of hemp. This would include things like lab testing standards – similar to what is in place for those growing and selling marijuana.
- Require that imported hemp products be held to the same quality and regulatory standards.
- Prohibit the sale of products like delta-8 THC outside of regulated cannabis sales methods.
- Allow the sales of smokable hemp after legislators come to an agreement on a tax structure for inhalable products.
This measure has been somewhat controversial over the last few years. The primary benefit to the marijuana industry is that low-THC hemp products would be subjected to the same rules, testing requirements, and taxing as other cannabis products. Marijuana companies have long argued that these products were not so dissimilar to what they were offering, and yet they’ve been undercut because of comparatively lax requirements for hemp and derivative products.
Proponents of the measure opine consumers will benefit as well from a more regulated marketplace for CBD.
Some hemp farmer advocates were opposed to the measure, but ultimately changed their stance on the law to neutral, after a number of last-minute amendments. As of last year, there were nearly 500 hemp farmers in the state operating on more than 17,000 acres.
Medical Marijuana in Hospitals
The second measure is a bill that would allow for medical marijuana use in medical facilities where terminally ill patients are treated. This has been a fight two years in the making, though with recent passage in the Assembly by a vote of 57-1, it now seems more likely than ever.
The big question, however, is whether the policy would jeopardize any federal funding those facilities receive by doing so, given the fact that marijuana is still legally considered a Schedule I narcotic by federal standards.
Supporters note that for many people in California, especially those suffering from terminal conditions, medicinal cannabis is preferable to other harder drugs. It can provide similar or even superior relief without many of the awful side effects of other drugs.
Although Gov. Newsom is pro-legalization, he rejected an earlier version of the bill over concerns about the implications for federal funding.
The bill is being referred to as “Ryan’s Law,” after the son of state senator and bill sponsor who died of cancer and was initially denied medical marijuana treatment.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, ancillary companies, patients, doctors and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
CA lawmakers approve hemp regulatory bill that divided marijuana sector, Sept. 9, 2021, MJ Biz Daily