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California nears formal legalization of delta-8, CBD edibles and smokable hemp

Updated: Sep 17, 2021


Delta 8 in California

A bill regulating smokable hemp, delta-8 THC and hemp edibles passed the California State Senate and Assembly on September 9, reports MJ Biz Daily. It’s now one crucial step away from becoming a law.

That final step? It needs the governor’s signature.


That’s where it gets a bit sticky. Governor Gavin Newsom has until October 10 to sign the bill, but his recall election is September 14. Even so, the results of this particular election might be irrelevant. Any potential replacement wouldn’t take office until October 22. (And the morning of the election, success of the recall is looking unlikely.)


If passed, the bill would:

  • Regulate hemp farming and sales, including mandated lab tests and labeling rules, similar to existing regulations for THC-rich cannabis

  • Require products made outside California to adhere to the same rules

  • Formally legalize the sale of food and beverages containing CBD or other hemp extracts outside of licensed marijuana dispensaries

  • Allow hemp extracts in cosmetic products

  • Confine the sale of delta-8 THC and other psychoactive hemp extracts to cannabis dispensaries

  • Remove the ban on smokable hemp products, after legislators establish a tax for inhalable products

  • Allow the production of smokable hemp, to be sold out of state until in-state sales are legal

“The passage of the bill was the result of years of effort to update industry rules for California’s hemp companies,” MJ Biz Daily wrote in its news brief. “Up until its passage, the measure remained a divisive issue among marijuana and hemp industry stakeholders.”


Aside from creating standards for hemp-derived products that would likely influence the industry nationwide, the bill would put all cannabis products on similar regulatory footing, whether low in THC or rich in it. The unregulated sale of products low in delta-9 THC did create an advantage over those working with high delta-9 cannabis.


“These critical changes to California law will drive economic opportunity and boost job growth by providing certainty to farmers, manufacturers, and retailers through a clear roadmap for expansion by providing consumers with a regulated CBD marketplace.”

— David Culver, vice president of global government relations, Canopy Growth


The bill has the backing of many in the hemp and cannabis industries, reports MJ Biz Daily.


Supporters of the measure included:

  • The U.S. Hemp Roundtable

  • California Cannabis Industry Association

  • California Hemp Council

  • Cannabis Beverage Association

  • Companies including as Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth.”

Canopy’s vice president of global government relations, David Culver, is quoted saying, “These critical changes to California law will drive economic opportunity and boost job growth by providing certainty to farmers, manufacturers, and retailers through a clear roadmap for expansion by providing consumers with a regulated CBD marketplace.”


Opponents included:

  • The California Hemp Association

  • Cannabis Distribution Association

  • Regional cannabis cultivation trade groups

However, some reportedly announced neutral positions thanks to final amendments.


A second bill would streamline medical cannabis use in hospitals

California lawmakers have also approved a bill that would require hospitals to allow medical cannabis use by terminally ill patients, reports Kyle Jaeger for Marijuana Moment.

Jaeger noted that Governor “Newsom hasn’t yet signaled whether he now feels comfortable approving the use-in-hospitals legislation, SB 311.”

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