California’s booming CBD industry is in disarray after the state Department of Public Health announced earlier this month that CBD cannot be added to food, even if it comes from hemp.
“It’s a real punch in the stomach,” said Chris Boucher, who is growing 60 acres of hemp in Southern California, most of it destined for CBD extraction.
“It’s the last roller coaster. If you have a multimillion-dollar investment in the ground, as I do, this comes at the worst time.”
Lawyers urge caution
Patrick Goggin, a San Francisco attorney who represents hemp producers, says it’s not time to panic yet.
His firm, the Hoban Law Group, believes California’s CBD rule contradicts the definition of hemp elsewhere in state law.
An FAQ on the California Industrial Hemp Program website specifies that hemp is legal, including “every … preparation of the plant.”
“Everybody ought to take a breath,” said Goggin, who pointed out similar pronouncements in Indiana, Wisconsin and Texas – CBD limitations that have all been either reversed or put on hold.
“These products are established in the state of California, and they’re lawful,” Goggin said. “Enforcement action would invite litigation.”