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Will California Legalize CBD as a Food, Beverage, and Cosmetic Additive after the First of the Year

Updated: Dec 21, 2019

Owners, managers, and employees of American hemp and CBD businesses as well as consumers have anxiously been awaiting legislative action by California to legalize CBD as a food, beverage, and cosmetic additive.

A bill legalizing CBD passed California’s General Assembly this past summer, and Governor Gavin Newsom has stated that he will sign the bill into law.

The California bill states that a “food, beverage, or cosmetic is not adulterated by the inclusion of industrial hemp.” The bill includes derivatives of the hemp plant, including CBD.

After passing California’s General Assembly, the bill was sent to the state’s Senate. The state’s Senate Appropriation Committee has for some reason put the bill in “suspense.”

In response to the action by the Appropriation Committee, the bill’s author, Democratic Assembly member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, indicated that the governor asked that she assist his staff in resolving apparent food safety issues of CBD as an additive.

In response to the Senate Appropriations Committee action, Aguiar-Curry also stated, “I am confident that we will have a bill ready for the governor to sign at the beginning of next year, so that our California hemp farmers and producers of hemp-CBD can take advantage of this new multibillion-dollar opportunity,”

Phyto Intel’s Conclusions

Because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved CBD as a food or beverage additive, states are taking their own action. CBD is now legal as a food or beverage additive in Colorado, Maine, and Illinois.

Last December, New York’s Agriculture Department indicated that it was legal to sell “chocolates with CBD drizzle”, CBD Tea, and other edibles in the state, but that the CBD products must be manufactured and marketed as dietary supplements. New York City has taken a different approach, and despite CBD food and beverages being widely available in the city, health inspectors are embargoing all food and drinks that contain CBD.

But all industry participants have been watching California. The state has a population greater than that of all of Canada and is the world’s fifth largest economy. California is often the leader in establishing consumer trends with many other states following its lead. This will likely be the case with CBD as well.

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