Update on California Industrial Hemp Law

California Industrial Hemp Law

Senate Bill-1409 signed into law by Governor Brown

California recently passed a modest reform to its hemp laws. Hemp will now be regulated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in accordance to the Food and Agricultural Code. Among the changes, the definition of industrial hemp will no longer be subject to the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act definition as a densely planted fiber and oil seed crop. The new language allows for a broader definition of hemp which now includes hemp grown for extracts, such as CBD extracts, and whole plant use.

Additionally, CDFA is authorized to carry out an agricultural pilot program in line with the Federal Farm Bill. Research institutions growing hemp in California will be required to disclose Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates before cultivating hemp. Clonal propagation of hemp will now be allowed from a list of approved seed cultivars. The outdated requirement for cultivars to be certified on or before January 1, 2013 is eliminated. Now, hemp cultivators must instead list the state or county of origin of cultivars in registration or renewal applications. CDFA will establish sampling procedures for industrial hemp testing and lab reports for required THC testing on a dry weight basis. The law goes into effect January 1, 2019.

In spite of these improvements, California’s hemp program remains in its infancy. Under California law, County Agricultural Commissions need to adopt permitting programs to authorize the cultivation of industrial hemp. To date, no such county regulations have been adopted. Therefore, in spite of hemp being legal under state law, there is no way to legally cultivate hemp in California except with a connection to a research institution. As a result, many hemp cultivators, distributors, and retailers are unknowingly operating illegally in California. With the recent ban by California Department of Public Health on sale of CBD food products, the future regulatory approach to CBD in California remains uncertain.

If you have questions regarding California hemp laws, contact McAllister Garfield, P.C. today.

Click here for additional information on SB-1409. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB1409