Is CBD Legal in California?
The cannabis industry in California has been undergoing major upheavals since legal recreational marijuana sales began at the start of 2018. There’s a lot of confusion out there, especially around the issue of the legality of CBD oil as well as its use in foods.
Unfortunately, one of the most confusing issues in California is the legal status of hemp-derived CBD. Just as everyone was getting comfortable with the idea that CBD was good to go in California — one of the most forward-thinking states in the U.S. when it comes to cannabis — things got a little shaken up. If you weren’t confused before you probably are now. And if you are confused now, you’re not alone.
California CBD laws in 2019
Is Selling CBD legal in California
What Conditions Does CBD Help
Buying and possession CBD oil
Where to buy CBD online
What exactly are the California CBD laws in 2019?
In July of 2018, California health authorities sent out a memo that essentially claimed that, even if they are produced from hemp, and not marijuana, CBD products are subject to the same rules as marijuana. Furthermore, they claimed that CBD may not be used in any kind of food.
As you can expect, with CBD playing such a large role in California’s cannabis industry this caused quite an uproar.
According to the memo released July 6, the California Department of Public Health, “has received numerous inquiries from food processors and retailers who are interested in using industrial hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) oil or CBD products in food since the legalization of medicinal and adult-use marijuana (cannabis) in California.”
The memo goes on to try to answer these inquiries by claiming that all marijuana-derived CBD products are under the jurisdiction of the state’s Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) which regulates medicinal and adult-use manufactured cannabis products, and that, furthermore, “food products [including CBD oil] derived from industrial hemp are not covered by MCSB regulations. Instead, these products fall under the jurisdiction of CDPH-FDB.”
What the Health Department is saying here, essentially, is that it’s their job to make rulings on products sold outside of dispensaries, while it’s the MCSB who is responsible for products inside dispensaries. And, as I’m sure you are aware, CBD products are quite abundant in California and across the U.S. both within and outside of marijuana dispensaries.
So, since the health department is responsible for hemp CBD products, what is their stance on the issue?
The memo states: “Although California currently allows the manufacturing and sales of cannabis products (including edibles), the use of industrial hemp as the source of CBD to be added to food products is prohibited.” And CBD oil is included in their list of food products. So, they’re saying here that while you can legally make and sell CBD from marijuana, you can’t even make CBD oil from hemp at all in the state of California.
Furthermore, the memo goes on to say that “until the FDA rules that industrial hemp-derived CBD oil and CBD products can be used as a food or California makes a determination that they are safe to use for human and animal consumption, CBD products are not an approved food, food ingredient, food additive, or dietary supplement.” So, once again, they are saying that the only place you are allowed to sell CBD is in licensed dispensaries, and even then, only if it is made from marijuana and not hemp.”
As we said, if you weren’t confused before, you probably are now.
Essentially, what this means is that California is willing to challenge the federal government’s authority when it comes to legalizing cannabis, but it’s not willing to do so when it comes to hemp.
Is Selling CBD legal in California?
While the health department claims that CBD is absolutely illegal outside of dispensaries and illegal to produce from hemp, the government agencies which would be responsible for enforcing those laws actually have exactly zero plans in place to enforce these confusing laws. That’s not just an observation. According to spokespeople at these agencies, whether they be state law enforcement officials or federal agencies such as the USDA, DOJ, DEA, and FDA, there are, indeed, no plans to enforce these laws currently.
In a post on Canna Law Blog, the author writes, “How exactly CDPH-FDB plans to enforce its FAQ is not clear given that hemp CBD products are already rampant in California.” Indeed.
To date, the only thing that could be characterized as a “crackdown” is the memo from the health department warning against adding hemp-derived CBD to any food products. That’s left most decisions about how and where CBD businesses can operate up to local authorities. And, to make things even more confusing, as a result of the widespread government ignorance on the issue, local authorities positions on the matter are all over the map.
Although a few producers and sellers of hemp CBD products have opted out, sales of CBD oil products in California are, for the most part, business as usual. This includes not only retail, carry-out products such as CBD oils, capsules, gummies, vape liquids, and edibles, but also service-centered sales such as is currently seen in coffee shops, health food restaurants, and day spas.
What Conditions Do CBD Oils, Gummies and Products Work For?
Is buying and possession of CBD oil legal in California?
As stated above, for the time being, it’s business as usual when it comes to CBD sales in California. But should buyers of CBD oil and other products slink around worried that they might get busted for possessing the stuff? Probably not.
If the state and federal law enforcement agencies aren’t going to muster the resources required to shut the entire market down, they certainly aren’t going to spend any resources on arresting and prosecuting people who buy CBD products. We know that sounds like a weak argument — its illegal, but buy it anyway — but that sadly and truly is the state of affairs in 2019 for the legality of CBD in California.
If you don’t want to be seen purchasing these products from local retailers, there is another, very accessible option — mail order. The internet abounds with websites that sell CBD products which are legally produced in states such as Colorado where hemp CBD is perfectly legal. There are currently no laws on the books in California that state that it is illegal to purchase CBD oil and CBD-infused products online, so there you go. Go nuts!
Where to buy CBD online
There are numerous companies selling CBD oils online. They also sell a variety of Hemp based CBD products including capsules, vape liquids, and edibles like CBD gummies all the way to CBD infused oil sex lubricants. There is even CBD for your dogs and cats. They will gladly ship their products to California residents. Here are a few of them: