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California Bans Hemp-Derived CBD Oil

California Bans Hemp-Derived CBD Oil
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California Bans Hemp-Derived CBD Oil

California health authorities dealt a blow to the burgeoning CBD industry by banning preparations of CBD derived from industrial hemp rather than psychoactive cannabis. The decree adds to the legal confusion around the cannabinoid and highlights the need for greater clarity from authorities at both the state and federal level.

Despite the fact it has received little media attention, a recent decision from Sacramento bureaucrats has potentially far-reaching implications for the cannabis industry — and for patients who have come to rely on CBD to treat a wide range of ailments.

On July 6, the California Department of Public Health issued a memo making it clear that CBD oil derived from hemp was banned in the state. The memo asserts that CBD oil derived from hemp is not under the purview of the state’s cannabis regulations.

According to the memo, the public health department’s Food and Drug Branch (FDB) “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 makes clear that the public health department’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) “regulates medicinal and adult-use manufactured cannabis products,” while “food products derived from industrial hemp are not covered by MCSB regulations. Instead, these products fall under the jurisdiction of CDPH-FDB.”

Interestingly, the memo argues that while California is willing to challenge the federal government’s authority when it comes to legalizing cannabis, it’s not willing to challenge the federal government when it comes to hemp. 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. 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.”

This memo will most likely add to the confusion about the legal status of CBD, and the difference between what the memo terms “hemp” and “cannabis.”

Further explanation is in order. The difference between psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana,” by the increasingly disfavored traditional term) and hemp is a question of THC content — and legal classification. The federal government defines hemp as cannabis with 0.3 percent THC or less in terms of dry weight. The 2014 federal Farm Bill legalized state pilot programs for hemp, and 40 of the 50 states now have defined industrial hemp as distinct from cannabis and removed barriers to its production — including California. However, California’s hemp pilot program is overseen by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) — not either the CDPH or Bureau of Cannabis Control.

Earlier this year, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the DEA’s classification of CBD as a controlled substance, regardless of whether it is derived from hemp or psychoactive cannabis.

The CDPH memo adds to the confusion by drawing a distinction between “hemp” and “cannabis” — even though hemp is a form of cannabis. If it weren’t, you wouldn’t be able to derive CBD from it. Avoiding this confusion is part of the case for not purging the word “marijuana” from the English language, despite the stigma increasingly associated with the word.

Now, while CBD derived from hemp or psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”) is chemically identical, there may be reasons other than legal concerns to make the distinction. If the hemp in question is low in CBD as well as THC, it may take exponentially more hemp than marijuana to produce the same amount of CBD. So this raises concerns about concentrates of pesticides and other contaminants getting into CBD oil made from hemp — especially hemp that has traditionally been grown for industrial purposes, and under standards developed with that in mind. In the case of places like China, even those standards may be too lax or not enforced at all.

In any case, California’s decision to ban CBD oil from hemp seems like it may be informed more by legalistic hair-splitting. And to illustrate how finely that hair is split, recall that CBD is a controlled substance under federal law, regardless of what it is derived from. Yet federal policy is also contradictory. The FDA’s recent approval of the CBD medicine Epidiolex comes despite the fact that the DEA considers CBD a Schedule I substance, with no medical applications. A DEA rescheduling or de-scheduling of CBD would go a long way toward resolving these questions — and is coming in the next three months.

TELL US, do you think hemp-derived CBD oil should be banned?



  1. Johnny G.

    November 8, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    Thanks for the knowledge. I was planning on starting a cbd business in Cali, but now I’m going to wait till fda approval. Prob gonna take awhile though. What type of licence so you need for cbds?

  2. Ken Guest

    August 22, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Deep state’s tentacles have wrapped themselves around Sacramento. Some
    major block of powerfully corrupt, figures that want to stall widespread CBD
    Industry so they can position themselves to get their usual Lion’s share of
    another new burgeoning industry.

  3. Sarah

    July 26, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Ridiculous! Which Marajauna lobbyists pushed this through? Horrible decision California legislature! Californians please contact your reps!

  4. William

    July 24, 2018 at 5:38 am

    The price of CBD oil is ridiculously high, however, I do seem to have less pain and get a better sleep when taken before bed. I just checked out Amazon and all of their hemp oil says it has no CBD in it, and yet they all claim to reduce stress and pain and allow you to get better sleep. So what is the deal? Is it all psychological? Of course the prices at Amazon are way cheaper too. I am going to try it.

    • Sarah

      July 26, 2018 at 12:35 pm

      The hemp oil without the CBD concentration is from the seeds. There are still some health benefits, including a little anti-inflammation and the right balance of the Omegas. Will it help you sleep? I’m not sure. That depends on what’s keeping you awake I suppose.

      The best bennifits according to the government’s ownn reports on research seem to come from CBD and ultimately the “entourage effect” when it is in it’s most natural coumpounds. This oil must come from the flowers (preferably) and stems.

  5. CBD sense

    July 24, 2018 at 2:20 am

    We’re thinking of expanding into the USA as well. We want to hire a fulfilment-company to do our shipping. But what I would like to know is; would we get into trouble when we send boxes full of CBD products to the USA. Customs are federal, so will we be in trouble then?

  6. Al Anon

    July 23, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Terrible!!! I am so dissapointed at these lame politicians…
    meanwhile California is full of trash on the streets, the heroin industry taking over our streets, homeless problems in every city.
    Police losing their power.
    Political Correct? this state is becoming a terrible place.
    My family members rely on this supplement it alliviates their fibromology and seizures

    Such bullshit this recreation ballot was a trick from phamaceutical companies to take over the medical cannibis. People vote but don’t do the right research.

    now i have to deal seeing my mom getting back on evil opioids!!!

  7. russ hunt

    July 19, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    but are they going to seek out and prosecute? and is this a step for govt to rebrand and only make certain types approved hemp for sale?. aka their own is the only stuff you can buy b/c they are the authority?

    • Stephanie Robbins

      August 6, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      I doubt they will. However, online CBD companies will no longer be able to ship to California and it will not be available in stores. In other words, California is making it inaccessible.

  8. Sekou

    July 19, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    I just wanted to say… Bullshit!! I just had my second seizure last week. My former coworker’s cousin died from just his first one just last month. It’s just hemp damnitt! If this state isn’t going to fight for it’s people than it’s people have no business fighting for it! “Give me liberty or give me death,” like the twisted forefathers. -S.M. Black

  9. Debra

    July 19, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    The CBD I take comes from hemp grown in Austria on a 100 year old farm, organic Co2 extracted and triple purified! Being a horticulturist it was important to me to find a product that was free of molds and toxins. Cannabis plants are Bio inhibitors. This means they take it all in, nutrients, toxins(pesticides), mold and metals into the plant. Also Co2 extraction is cleaner then butane, propane and kosher alchohol I would suppose. CBD has changed lives for many people! Go to ECHO and find the research and life changing stories. I have my own story!

  10. Nancy Duitch

    July 19, 2018 at 9:19 am

    i love the CBD and what i purchase has something called a CofA which is a certificate of analysis by a third party lab stating no metals, no pesticides and no THC. It is awesome

  11. Jerry

    July 19, 2018 at 4:55 am

    I’m betting big pharmaceutical companies are behind this. I’m hey want us tacking there chemicals to relieve pain and discomfort. Then take more chemicals for the side effects of the the previous chemicals.

  12. Jeffrey Von Stetten

    July 19, 2018 at 1:46 am

    This has been taken waaaaaaaay out of context.

    Unless I’m mistaken, I’d like to make these points.

    The group within the state trying to regulate this as something separate from anything made from industrial hemp, cannot. Federal law supersedes that.

    Secondly, an item that has never had full legal status cannot be made even more illegal. Anyone carrying this item always has done so knowing it’s in a grey turf.

    Third, California as a state doesn’t have the right to determine what is acceptable to sell as a supplement, and the overzealous cannabis group which has been newly formed, has greatly overstepped their boundaries.

    Fourth, the entirety of the “edit” is not a ban, it simply states that the ingredient may not be added to foods. That’s it. It states that there is no new legality or illegality to it that there hasn’t been all along. Albeit, badly, and in an idiotically worded rushed page. It just discusses it as a food additive, which, even then, is stupid.

    Fifth, simply if a state chooses to not recognize something a supplement, that really doesn’t mean shit, because they don’t have the authority to do so anyway.

    Sixth, Even the FDA doesn’t have the authority to designate something as a supplement. They can choose to recognize it as a supplement or not, and if so, they can try to establish limits or ignore it. That’s it.

    Seventh, With regards to a drug, only the Feds can determine what a drug is. California has no authority to designate a substance in any capacity as a drug or supplement.

    Eighth, Any form of hemp agriculture, if derived from an industrial variety that has less than .03% THC in it, is federally legal for any designated use. It has been since 2004, it was reaffirmed by the farm bill of 2014, and it’s about to be finalized and ok’d to grow anywhere in the upcoming farm bill with complete bipartisan support.

    So, all this hysteria and nonsense and over stating really isn’t helping things for an industry that’s already stressed out about the grey turf and botanical idiocy that’s been wasted by the feds or DEA on this matter.

    The fact of the matter is, this item as a supplement, is on the same good and solid ground it has always been. And on top of that, the hemp bill that is coming up in less than a month, will overrule this stupidity once and for all.

    The state of California has broken the law and overstepped it’s boundaries in this matter, and will lose in every type of harrassment they try to start.

    The new legislation only gave the ability to buy medical cannabis for 21 and over, and for rules to be decided about it’s taxation. That’s it.

    Nothing in the new legislation gives some random ass new group powers over the feds to designate the status of a substance as ok or not ok for the whole state.

    For that to take place we’d have to have a whole separate vote on making CBD not ok, and for that to take place it would have to be completely legal federally to begin with. Which it’s not.

    So, honestly, all this fear mongering and misquotation and overreaction to a poorly phrased document is not helping anyone.

    What is helpful is to point back to all the industrial hemp products that are already out there, and the 2004 victory regarding hemp that was won way back when on bob marley’s birthday.

    It is very legal. Nothings changed, and honestly leave it to the fucking state of california to try and fuck up something good with an idiotic overstepping of phrasing into an area of turf they have no power to interfere in with in the first place.


    • Prevail Ambassador Program

      July 19, 2018 at 8:08 pm

      Thank you for the clarification. It’s driving me crazy to see people take “snippets” of random articles and spread fear and misinformation about what’s allowed and what’s not.

    • David Goodall

      July 20, 2018 at 9:08 am

      Great points! Thanks for the clarification!

    • John Scott Singler

      July 20, 2018 at 10:21 am

      Gw pharma EPIDOLEX (CBD)
      Just got FDA approval fast tracked
      “New drug program”
      FEDLUBE for epilepsy
      The only way they can dominate the market is making it illegal for everyone else .
      You would be surprised whos behind prohibition, even the current license holders want it illegal

      • Sammy Oleander

        July 21, 2018 at 9:59 pm


    • Vince

      July 21, 2018 at 11:17 am

      Thank you so much for taking all the time to expand and clarify on these points.

    • Linda Kim

      July 23, 2018 at 6:28 pm

      Great response, Jeffrey!!!

    • George Bianchini

      July 24, 2018 at 10:09 am

      Let’s not compare what’s happening to hemp to common sense. Let the state try to tell about 90% of the population that CBD is now banned. I see it as an advertisement. Well that and the lawsuit I will be filing in federal court. Once again we have proof that the BCC is in violation of Business Code 26013-14. They have hijacked prop 64 and are systematically gutting and delivering it to the large players. The entire board needs to be fired and replaced with an industry board. The two union members are ok, but the rest got to go. It says a lot when the good part of the board are the unions and the rest are the appointed assassins.
      Let’s give them a few months to correct the damage before we have to do another “real public initiative” . One without Gavin Newsome or any other politician attached to it. Prop 64 required a five year phase in before the big money players mess up our simple plant, in back room dealings. Now I think five is not enough. We can go back to the voters and ask for a good common sense cannabis program. About three pages of rules listed right in the law. Even with just three pages of regulations we can assure that cannabis does less harm than, (insert any drug or food item here).

  13. Mike schaef

    July 18, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    First off I’m shocked at all you people in the so- called cannabis industry think there’s some new type of cannabis out there called hemp there’s three types of cannabis…. cannabis ruderalis, cannabis Indica, Cannabis sativa, there’s no new strain called hemp. It’s not cannabis or hemp or marijuana that gets you high it is THC before you post stuff you should do a little more research and I’ll tell you what this is all about just like I said for 5 years with everyone disagreeing its GW Pharmaceuticals say goodbye to all extracts and normally it’s three hundred bucks an hour that was 4 minutes it’s on the house

  14. Karen

    July 18, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    We grow hemp in VT using all organic practices and produce CBD products using CO2 extraction methods. Banning a product that is clean and safe and helping so many people seems completely ridiculous to me. People should do their own research and choose products that are tested. Whenever possible, know your farmer!

  15. CBDShe

    July 18, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    This memo is virtually unenforceable as home delivery to CBD is nearly impossible to track – the best they could do it visit every single retail outlet and grab it from the shelves.

    CA already has its hands full (poorly) implementing it’s legal marijuana laws, it’s doubtful whether there is time, money or political willingness to go into retail stores and remove a product that’s federally legal to sell and own based on the Hemp Farm Act of 2014. It’s also poorly written (as referenced in the article). I agree with the poster that this has to be politically or financially driven.

    • Sharon Johnson

      July 19, 2018 at 2:24 am

      It’s crazy that CA would legalize recreational use of marijuana but ban CBD Oil. It’s does seem to be more motivated for financial reasons. Maybe they want more people to smoke and purchase marijuana because they can tax the hell out of it. CBD Oil is pricey but maybe the State of CA can’t figure out how to tax CBD Oil. This is like the government banning hemp based products after prohibition ended.

      • Cheri Dodge

        July 20, 2018 at 11:21 am

        I live in BC Canada and the same thing is happening here. I am aligned with an amazing US hemp based CBD oil company. We now need a prescription to get the Hemp CBD in Canada yet I can walk into any medical marijuana shop w/o a prescription and get any type of medical marijuana product no problem. We will be legal for recreational use in Oct but need an Prescription for Hemp based. It’s ridiculous. Must be about who gets to make $.

  16. Amber Ogert

    July 18, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    This is ridiculous! Buy your Hemp from an Organic source and don’t worry about it!

  17. Andrew Johnson

    July 18, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    MyNaturalCBD seems good right?

  18. Julia Keller

    July 18, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    If Hemp CBD is officially banned in CA, how are the online Hemp CBD people getting by still selling/shipping to CA?

  19. 806buddhabliss

    July 18, 2018 at 9:32 am

    CBD from hemp will NOT cure cancer like CBD from Cannabis will & a lot of people do not understand the difference! Banned…No! Just marketed for what it is, hemp CBD from China is not the same as hemp CBD from West Virginia.

    • Kat

      July 19, 2018 at 11:51 am

      The CBD molecule is exactly the same no matter what plant it comes from. The molecule isn’t different because it came from hemp. If it were different, it wouldn’t be CBD. Hemp is a different story, but isolated CBD on its own is CBD no matter where it came from. It is also impossible to determine the source of CBD once it has been isolated

    • Cheri Dodge

      July 20, 2018 at 11:34 am

      As stated in the above article “Now, while CBD derived from hemp or psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”) is chemically identical”
      CBD from hemp is identical chemically and therefore will cure cancer equally as well. The difference in effectiveness would be more whether it is a full spectrum product vs an isolate. As hemp does contain some THC, hemp derived CBD can be full spectrum. What you are saying is equivalent to citrus from an orange is better for colds than citrus from limes. As w CBD citrus is citrus (chemically identical) regardless of the source.

  20. Debbie Custer

    July 18, 2018 at 5:07 am

    Someone should be following the money. There is a reason for such a ridiculous ruling

    • Cheri Dodge

      July 20, 2018 at 11:37 am

      It’s always about the $.

  21. Norm Siefken

    July 18, 2018 at 12:04 am

    Public Safety must be priority #1. If the CBD passes pesticides testing it should be made available for sale. Regardless if it came from Hemp or Marijuana.

    • CBDShe

      July 18, 2018 at 4:03 pm

      Ask any reputable CBD manufacturer, and they will provide you with a Certificate of Analysis (COA) showing pesticide levels.

  22. Judi

    July 17, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Is CBD good in Halequin GDP added or grows naturally in flower Cannibus in Vancouver BC Canada

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