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A Win For Hemp, Agreement Is Reached in CA’s Assembly Bill 45

assembly bill 45
Written by Alexandra Hicks

Assembly Bill 45 in California has long been a controversial piece of legislation, threatening to all but completely overturn the Golden State’s hemp market. However, according to the United States Hemp Roundtable, an agreement has finally been reached between hemp-industry advocates and Governor Gavin Newsom that would leave the state’s most lucrative hemp markets open and intact, should the bill pass as it’s currently written.

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Is California Anti-Hemp? About Assembly Bill 45

California has always been a beacon of progressiveness; in pretty much all aspects but especially pertaining to the cannabis industry. As a matter of fact, California’s consumer marijuana market is the largest and among the least restrictive in the world. However, when it comes to hemp and CBD products, that’s a completely different ball game. California dispensaries need a special license to sell hemp flower and it’s illegal to infuse CBD in edibles, despite the fact that CBD is federally legal.

The old version of Assembly Bill 45 would have further regulated the production, distribution, and labeling of various hemp-infused products, ban hemp flowers and smokables. The California Department of Food & Agriculture would join with the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) to oversee the implementation of AB45, which would also outlaw CBD vapes and pens, hemp in beer, wine or spirits, and alcohol-based tinctures. In all, it would create a legislative, bureaucratic, and financial nightmare for hemp farmers, business owners, and other industry stakeholders.

“No state has sabotaged hemp as much as California,” said hemp veteran Richard Rose. “They aren’t content with killing the hemp food market for years through their legerdemain, and the birdseed market permanently,” said Rose. “They want to take CBD and smokable hemp down too.”

Furthermore, opponents of the bill claim that AB 45 is being championed almost entirely but lobbyists from competing industries who are looking to disadvantage the industrial hemp market in any way possible.

“The entire bill is crafted by outside lobbyists paid by big marijuana corporations working with HRT (the U.S. Hemp Roundtable) and the California Hemp Council, which have created a multi-million dollar bureaucracy,” said Chris Boucher, CEO at Farmtiva, a hemp ag services company and CBD consultant who also serves as a board member and treasurer at the Hemp Farmers Guild.

An Agreement Reached?

According to a written statement from the US Hemp Roundtable, the smokable hemp ban has been “replaced by a phase-in approach that will permit [its] sale to adults and the immediate manufacture of smokable products to be sold in other states.”

In this reworked bill, many of the negative facets of AB 45 would no longer apply. Various cannabinoids and hemp extracts would be permitted for use in food, beverages, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and pet food. Also, CBD flowers, vapes, and other smokeable items would not be regulated by the BCC.

It’s worth noting that Gavin Newsom is up for a recall in the state, with a vote set to take place on September 14th. That said, it makes sense that he’s backtracking various laws and bills he unsuccessfully supported and promoted in the past. The US Hemp Roundtable hopes to get a final vote on this upgraded version of AB 45 before the recall vote is underway.

Previously, the California Hemp Council had expressed its opposition to the bill, mainly because of its ban on smokable hemp/CBD flowers. The Hemp Roundtable says it coordinated with the CA Hemp Council to remove this oft-disputed provision.

Statement From The US Hemp Roundtable

“We’re excited to report that a final deal has been reached with Governor Gavin Newsom to move to final passage of AB 45, our long-term effort to explicitly permit the retail sale of hemp-derived extracts such as CBD in California. And a highlight of that compromise was the removal of language to ban hemp smokables in the state – replaced by a phase-in approach that will permit their sale to adults and the immediate manufacture of smokable products to be sold in other states.

We are deeply grateful for the leadership of Governor Gavin Newsom who met with Roundtable leadership and was deeply invested in securing passage of this bill. We are also appreciative for the leadership of the California Hemp Council, the voice of the state’s hemp industry, which partnered with the Roundtable, other California stakeholders, and, of course, our amazing bill sponsor, Rep. Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, to secure the final compromise. But mostly we are thankful to our grassroots California Hemp Supporters, who made sure that policymakers in Sacramento heard the concerns of hemp farmers, CBD businesses, and product consumers.

Of course, the battle is not yet over. While the bill has sailed through six legislative committees and the Assembly floor with only a handful of no votes, we still will have a final vote on the Senate floor next Wednesday, with one last vote on the Assembly floor next Thursday or Friday. We are asking Hemp Supporters ONE MORE TIME to head to our State Action Center to urge their state legislators to vote for this critical bill.”

The statement urges those from California to send a letter to state lawmakers supporting the reworked bill through USHR’s website.

Final Thoughts

 If everything goes according to plan, the vote on Assembly Bill 45 will take place sometime within the next week, then all it needs is a final signature from Gavin Newsom to go into effect. Check back with us for any important updates on this piece of legislation and other.

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About the author

Alexandra Hicks

Managing editor at Cannadelics and U.S based journalist, helping spread the word about the many benefits of using cannabis and psychedelics.