Is CBD In Trouble: The Farm Bill and Its Impact on California

What the hell is going on? This July the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Food & Drug branch came out with a statement claiming that hemp-derived CBD is not considered a “food” so therefore it cannot be allowed in any form of consumable products such as edibles and tinctures. Not for you, your granny or your sweet pooch who suffers from seizures. The only way they say you can get CBD is if it comes from cannabis, not hemp.

So is the CDPH misinformed, have they lost their minds or is there something deeper going on?

Feeling that the move is a good thing, I recently spoke with a cannabis business owner who asked to be anonymous. “Quality CBD comes from cannabis and people are adding hemp CBD extracts coming out of China. Do you really know what it is and how it was grown or made? We don’t want that happening here. The California cannabis industry doesn’t want that here.”

Hemp CBD extracts being imported from China stir up feelings of uncertainty for some recreational consumers and medical patients. After conducting a bit of research, it appears many of the current companies that provide hemp CBD products being sold in health food stores and co-ops source their hemp CBD statewide from places like Colorado and Kentucky.

Within a month of the FDA approving the use of GW Pharmaceutical’s Epidiolex, a purified drug substance derived from the cannabis plant used for seizures associated with two rare forms of epilepsy, the CDPH put out their statement banning oral hemp CBD. Just about the same time that Californian hemp CBD companies and retailers started wondering what the hell is going on.

Is Epidiolex bad? Well, the verdict is still not out. One thing for sure, with a yearly price tag of $32,500 Epidiolex will not be for everyone.

But maybe the California Cannabis Mafia and the Deep State along with the pharmaceutical industry aren’t the issue. Maybe the CDPH doesn’t have all of the information.

I spoke with Ola Lessard the VP of Consumer Marketing & Communications over at Barlean’s, an oil supplement company that has been in the natural products industry for over 25 years.

“We’re looking very closely as to what is happening with California because our retailers are generally not dispensaries. They’re usually small independent health food stores.” Shops that support the new and unusual products before the large chains snatch them and make them trendy, they’re the ones that get hurt. “CBD has kept many of these mom and pop shops alive.” Also, the elderly customers that don’t feel comfortable going into dispensaries but opt to purchase their CBD from their local co-op may feel negative impacts.

A well informed and optimistic Lessard points out, “I think all of this will be cleared up by the Farm bill. It’s being debated right now and hopefully will be signed the end of September. Right now there hasn’t been any issues with the hemp aspect of it. We feel that if it passes, it will clarify that hemp is legal to grow, extract and make products that include CBD.” Some are not so optimistic. According to an interview with the Huffington Post, Tim Gordon the current president of the Colorado Hemp Industries Association states, “Just because the farm bill passes doesn’t mean hemp is suddenly legal and everything’s great.”

It seems we will know more once the Farm bill is decided on this September. All we know is that if the Farm bill doesn’t pass and California pushes through banning hemp CBD, those who need CBD the most will most likely be the ones punished.

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Shwa Laytart

A California native, Joshua "Shwa" Laytart has been working in the Natural Products Industry for almost twenty years and a cannabis grower and indulger for almost thirty. He was the first employee at Guayaki tea company and then went on to work for 12 years at INDIGENOUS, an organic and fair trade fashion designer. Shwa has also worked as a landscaper, manicurist, masseur, candy maker, chef and ran with the circus. He is currently the Co-Founder and President of the cannabis company, Giggle Therapeutics, alongside his Co-Founder and CEO wife Sugar, who is a DOPE photographer, as well. His love for activism, art, altered states, comedy, cannabis and cuisine can be found threaded throughout his writings. He considers himself more of a storyteller, than a writer and can spin a tale for hours with the right combination of substances.

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