On August 30, 2019, the California Senate Appropriations Committee failed to move AB-228 out of the committee and instead held the bill on “Suspense” during its final hearing of the 2019 legislative session.  As we have written previously, AB-228 proposes to establish a regulatory framework for industrial hemp products to be used as a food, beverage, or cosmetic.  Importantly, the bill proposed to state that a food, beverage, or cosmetic is not adulterated by the inclusion of industrial hemp or cannabinoids, extracts, or derivatives from industrial hemp, and would prohibit restrictions on the sale of food, beverages, or cosmetics that include industrial hemp or cannabinoids, extracts, or derivatives from industrial hemp based solely on the inclusion of industrial hemp or cannabinoids, extracts, or derivatives from industrial hemp.

The bill’s sponsor, Assembly member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, issued a press release expressing optimism in light of the temporary hold on the bill:

“We have been asked by the Governor to work with his staff during the interim on the complex issues of food safety related to CBD, as well as the complicated rules associated with selling products in state marijuana dispensaries. Regardless of the action in Senate Appropriations today, I am confident that we will have a bill ready for the Governor to sign at the beginning of next year, so that our California hemp farmers and producers of hemp-CBD can take advantage of this new multi-billion dollar opportunity.”

Many stakeholders were hopeful, given the size of California’s economy, that if the state moved forward to allow CBD from hemp in foods, it would put even more pressure on FDA to clarify a non-drug pathway for CBD.  With this stall, however, the bill is likely to be on hold until at least the 2020 legislative session.