Is CBD oil legal in California?
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- What is CBD?
- Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
- California CBD laws
- Where to buy CBD in California
- How to read CBD labels and packaging
California makes cannabis legal to possess and buy for adults 21 and older, and cannabidiol (CBD) oil products are widely available at dispensaries and over-the-counter at other retailers. However, state law prohibits CBD oil derived from hemp from being added to foods and drinks until the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determines it is safe.
California is known as one of the most liberal states in the nation — and so it makes sense that it’s also been one of the strongest supporters of cannabis legalization. California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana when it passed the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. And 20 years later, the state passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which legalized cannabis for recreational purposes.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis. It is the second-most-abundant cannabinoid in the plant after THC. CBD is also purported to showl therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, seizure-suppressing, and anti-anxiety properties.
Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
Hemp strains don’t produce enough of the cannabinoid THC to cause intoxication, but all types of cannabis, including hemp, were considered illegal under the 1970 Federal Controlled Substances Act. The legislation swept all cannabis under the Schedule 1 umbrella, which defined cannabis as a substance with a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, and a likelihood for addiction.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp cultivation and created a clear pathway to remove some cannabis from Schedule 1 status by creating a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana. Under the new legislation, hemp is classified as cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC by weight, while marijuana is classified as cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC. As a result, hemp-derived CBD was descheduled by the bill, but because marijuana is categorized as a Schedule 1 substance, CBD that is derived from the marijuana plant is still considered federally illegal. While hemp is now considered an agricultural commodity under the 2018 Farm Bill, it still must be produced and sold under regulations that implement the bill. The USDA has yet to create these regulations.
New formulations of CBD allow the cannabinoid to be used in a variety of ways. Photo by: (Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)
The Farm Bill also endowed the FDA with the ability to regulate CBD’s labeling, therapeutic claims, and presence in foods or drinks. Despite the Farm Bill’s passage, the FDA has issued a directive that no CBD, not even hemp-derived, may be added to food or beverages or marketed as a dietary supplement. As time passes, the FDA has begun re-evaluating that stance on CBD products but has yet to revise rules or specifically regulate CBD products. The FDA’s slow movement has created further confusion on the state level.
The FDA has historically been strict when it comes to health claims or content that could be understood as medical advice — and makes no exception for CBD.
Hemp production and sale, including its cannabinoids and CBD specifically, remain tightly regulated federally. The Farm Bill provides that individual states may also regulate and even prohibit CBD cultivation and commerce. States may attempt to regulate CBD in food, beverage, dietary supplements, and cosmetic products independently of the FDA’s rules.
California CBD laws
Currently, California’s definition of CBD is consistent with the federal definition. According to a letter issued by the Attorney General’s Office, “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.”
After the 2018 Farm Bill passed, the state introduced AB 228, which would have clarified CBD legality and legalized hemp-derived CBD to be included in food, beverage, and cosmetics products without restrictions, but the bill was held. Until the bill is passed and signed by the governor, California’s laws surrounding hemp-derived CBD and CBD oil remain consistent with the FDA.
Licensing requirements for CBD
The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act, which authorized the commercial production of industrial hemp, went into effect in early 2017. The act, SB 566, authorizes the commercial production of industrial hemp in California and became effective on Jan. 1, 2017. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is developing a program to administer the new law.
CBD oil usually comes with a dropper to allow consumers and patients to measure out their dose. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
All growers of industrial hemp for commercial purposes must register with a county agricultural commissioner prior to cultivation. Registration applications are available on the CDFA Industrial Hemp Program web page. The annual registration fee is currently $900.
While the hemp program is still being developed by the CFDA, the California Department of Public Health has clear labeling regulations around cannabis products, which includes information regarding the products’ origins, expiration, ingredients and amounts of THC and CBD. Labels also may not contain any misleading information, make unproven health claims, or be designed in a way that is attractive to children.
Hemp growers must also submit samples for THC concentration testing no more than 30 days before harvest. Registrants must submit their registration number, name and contact information, anticipated harvest date, name of the seed cultivar(s), physical address, Global Positioning System coordinates, general description of the location, and acreage of the crop, and the name and contact information of the laboratory to conduct the testing for THC content.
Once that information is received, samples will be collected by the commissioner or an approved third-party for testing. All labs must have an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) / International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 17025 accreditation and use a validated method for total THC analysis. Any industrial hemp crop that doesn’t meet testing requirements will be destroyed.
California CBD possession limits
Currently, there are no clear possession limits on CBD oil in California.
Where to buy CBD in California
While hemp-derived CBD cannot be used in food, beverages, or dietary supplements in California, you can still find a variety of CBD products, including CBD oil, in both retail stores and online.
Because the manufacturing and sale of CBD products is still unregulated, it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re purchasing from a reputable source.
How to read CBD labels and packaging
Though California’s product label guidelines have been delineated, there remain some questions about how they apply to hemp-derived CBD products. It’s important to have the information necessary to make an informed decision about the ingredients, efficacy, and safety of the CBD products you purchase. Most reputable CBD producers will typically include the following information required by the California Department of Public Health on their CBD product labels:
- Amount of CBD and THC per package
- Amount of CBD and THC per serving
- Amount of any cannabinoid that makes up 5% of more of the total cannabinoid content
- Supplement Fact panel, including other ingredients
- Net weight or volume
- Suggested and instructions for use
- Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate
- Batch or date code
- Product identity, including the words “cannabis-infused” for edibles
- Universal symbol that identifies items as containing cannabis
- Manufacturer name and contact information
- Date of manufacture/packaging
- Government warning statement for cannabis products
- Unique Identifier (UID) Number
- List of all ingredients (including any allergens or artificial food coloring)
- Expiration date
- Refrigeration notice on perishable products
Is CBD oil legal in California? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is CBD? Why is CBD sometimes illegal? California CBD laws
Where to Buy CBD in California in 2021
If you’re trying to find CBD in California, this article will give you all the relevant information you need to make an informed decision.
California has historically been one of the most progressive states when it comes to marijuana laws. If you live in this state, there are many options available to you for finding CBD both online and in-store.
As a general rule, it’s always better to purchase from a trustworthy online source rather than in-store. Shopping online will allow you to get the best products for less money.
CBD is the latest sensation in health supplements. It can be used to treat many different symptoms, including pain, anxiety, depression, and seizures.
Some varieties of CBD don’t contain THC, so they don’t cause intoxication. If you use this type of CBD, you can receive all the benefits without the high.
The California laws around CBD can change depending on the method used to make it. This article will examine the California laws around CBD and the best practices for purchasing it near you.
Table of Contents
- Buy CBD Oil in California:
- Is CBD Legal in California?
- A Brief History of Cannabis Law in California
- How to Buy CBD in California
- Local Stores in California
- Recommended CBD Retailers in California
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- San Diego
- Final Notes on Buying CBD in California
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Is CBD Legal in California?
The CBD industry is rapidly growing and changing. Laws and regulations in the United States are still developing, so it may be challenging to find a reliable source for your CBD needs.
If you’re looking to purchase CBD in California, we always recommend buying from a dependable online store.
CBD can be made both from flowering marijuana plants and industrial hemp. In 2014, the United States Federal Government passed the Farm Bill, which made industrial hemp an agricultural commodity.
Before the Farm Bill, the Government treated hemp as a Schedule 1 drug, along with the likes of heroin, LSD, and MDMA.
The Farm Bill allows farmers to legally grow hemp for things such as clothing, fuel, food, paper, and construction.
Unlike flowering marijuana plants, industrial hemp contains minimal THC. That means it doesn’t produce the intoxicating effects commonly associated with marijuana.
CBD produced using industrial hemp gives you all the health benefits without the marijuana high.
However, the law regarding CBD in California is sometimes unclear.
In July 2018, The California Department of Public Health released a statement in which it prohibited the use of industrial hemp as the source of CBD in food products.
Despite the worry over this issue, a new ray of sunshine might save the situation! In June 2019, the Assembly Bill 228 passed through the California Assembly and the California Senate with a small number of opposing votes.
The bill is expected to be signed into law soon and would prohibit the current restrictions on products containing CBD and other hemp derivatives; this seems to be in direct conflict with the fact that stores across the state have CBD products on their shelves and some cafes will even add it to your morning latte.
The laws around CBD are still developing, which makes finding a trustworthy source in California troublesome. Therefore, although CBD is widely available in-store around the state, it’s essential that you do your research and avoid the sketchy products.
There a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself from purchasing low-quality CBD products.
See our guide below for buying CBD in California.
A Brief History of Cannabis Law in California
California has traditionally been one of the country’s leaders in reforming marijuana laws. In 1972, California became the first state to introduce a bill (Proposition 19) that would have legalized marijuana use.
Although Proposition 19 failed, it was a step in the right direction.
Just a few years later, in 1975, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana was decriminalized; this meant that simple possession was a civil offense rather than a criminal one.
In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215 (otherwise known as the Compassionate Use Act) which made it the first state to legalize medical marijuana. If you were suffering from certain chronic illnesses, you were now able to get a doctor’s recommendation to treat yourself using medical marijuana.
To clarify the law regarding Proposition 215 and more clearly define patients and non-patients, the state passed Senate Bill 420 (appropriately named), which created an identification card system for medical marijuana.
This law also allowed non-profit organizations to provide medical marijuana to those with a patient identification card.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger was Governor of California, he passed Senate Bill 1449, which further reduced the punishment of possession of less than an ounce to a $100 fine and no mandatory court date.
In 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64, which would legalize the use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. The law went into effect on January 1, 2018, making California the sixth state to legalize recreational marijuana use.
The requirements to purchase marijuana in the state of California are simple. If you are 21 years of age or older and can produce a valid ID, you are good to go.
All you need to do is make your way to a local dispensary and pick up some bud for yourself! Just make sure you don’t have more than an ounce in your pockets, else you might draw some unwanted attention.
If you derive pleasure from gardening, feel free to enrich your plot with up to 6 marijuana plants, unless you’re participating in the state’s medical cannabis program.
Now that you are familiar with marijuana’s history in California, how does CBD fit into all of this?
How to Buy CBD in California
As the popularity of CBD continues to rise, more companies are trying to get their piece of the pie. Some of these companies are advertising CBD that contains heavy metals or pesticides. Others don’t contain any CBD at all!
CBD can come in many different forms, including tinctures, creams, capsules, vape oil, and even products for pets.
The most reliable way to find quality CBD is through an online store. Shopping online allows you to research the different products quickly and ensure you are getting the most value for your money.
Online stores are often cheaper and faster than shopping in-store. Also, they usually have discounts and special offers that you would not find locally.
A Few Tips For Finding High-Quality CBD
- If a company is making claims that seem too good to be true, run in the opposite direction. CBD is a fantastic health supplement with many uses, but it doesn’t replace all of your other medications.
- Always make sure that a third-party lab has tested the products. Any credible company will be able to produce reports that their CBD products are free of any unwanted contaminants and contain the amount of CBD advertised.
- There are many ways of extracting CBD from an industrial hemp plant. CBD produced using CO2 extraction (which is heatless and solventless) retains most of the beneficial compounds found in industrial hemp. This method is more consistent compared with extraction via oil or ethanol.
If you follow the steps above, you will be able to find a quality product that suits your needs in no time. Finding this information about products sold in-store can be time-consuming.
Although we recommend shopping online, California is an excellent place to be when it comes to purchasing CBD in person.
Check our list of stores below!
Local Stores in California
California has dispensaries everywhere; this is great if you are looking to pick up a little bit of weed for the afternoon. Nonetheless, finding a dependable source of CBD can be tricky.
CBD is a relatively new product without any strict regulations governing it. There are hundreds of products on the market that contain little to no CBD, even though they advertise otherwise.
Always be sure you do your research before committing to a purchase. Don’t waste your hard-earned cash on a fake product.
Follow the steps we listed above to be sure you are getting the real deal!
You may be able to find CBD in dispensaries, head shops, vape stores, and health supplement retail outlets.
Recommended CBD Retailers in California
- LA Wonderland Marijuana Dispensary Recreational
- Hollyweed Dispensary
- Downtown Buyers Club Dispensary
- Exhale Med Center
- CBD American Shaman Silver Lake
- Grass Roots Dispensary
- Barbary Coast Dispensary
- The Apothecarium
- Bloom Room
- Harvest off Mission
- URBN Leaf Dispensary
- Goldn Bloom
- Apothekare Medical & Recreational Dispensary of San Diego
- Torrey Holistics
- San Diego Recreational Cannabis
- Cloud 9
- All About Wellness
- Abatin Wellness Center
If you don’t see your city on the list, check out your local dispensaries, vape stores, or head shops. There are hundreds across California, so you should have no trouble tracking one down near you.
Knowledgeable individuals working in these stores may be able to point you in the right direction. When in doubt, you are only one stop away from a trustworthy online shop.
Final Notes on Buying CBD in California
California has always been a leader in the world of marijuana. There are hundreds of options to choose from for your CBD needs, and it can be slightly overwhelming.
Your best bet is usually to buy your CBD online rather than spending a lot of time going from store to store and comparing products in person. Save yourself valuable time and money by getting your favorite CBD products sent straight to your door.
Make sure you protect yourself from sketchy companies by staying up to date with your local laws and regulations. Don’t be an uninformed customer. Follow our CBD purchasing guide to ensure you are getting the best quality products at the lowest prices.
California has historically been one of the most progressive states when it comes to marijuana laws. Here's where to buy CBD oil in Cali.