California hemp bill
17 Jun 2024

What will be the impact of the California hemp bill?

As state governments nationwide grapple with how to regulate hemp-derived cannabinoids, California could integrate marijuana and hemp producers under new legislation.

But Assembly Bill 2223 also would restrict the hemp industry, particularly when it comes to intoxicating hemp products.


AB 2223, which Assembly Majority Leader Cecilia Aguiar-Curry introduced in February, passed the Assembly Floor with bipartisan support in May.

The bill builds on AB 45, legislation from 2021 that permitted hemp-derived CBD to be used in food, drinks and other products, temporarily banning smokable and inhalable products and increasing testing requirements for hemp products.

But some hemp product makers “exploit” a loophole in the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill that measures THC content by weight instead of how intoxicating it is, Aguiar-Curry’s office said.

And Gov. Gavin Newsom in April directed the California Departments of Public Health (CDPH) and Alcoholic Beverage Control to issue recalls and warnings about intoxicating hemp products.

Enforcement in action

The CDPH issued a warning last week about Mary Jones hemp-infused sodas – which contain hemp-derived THC isolate – deeming them “unsafe.”

“I’ve introduced AB 2223 to protect public health by greatly enhancing the tools available to state and local health and law-enforcement officials to stop the sale of (intoxicating hemp) products,” Aguiar-Curry said in a statement.

“We must act this year to enhance the restrictions under AB 45 so we can adapt to this constantly evolving illegal market.

“The bottom line is that if it gets you high, it should not be sold outside a dispensary. Period.”

Aguiar-Curry’s bill states that:

  • Licensed cannabis operators could manufacture, process, distribute and sell regulated products that contain industrial hemp or hemp-derived cannabinoids, extracts or derivatives, which would be tracked through the state’s compliance system in the same way marijuana products are.
  • Synthetic cannabinoids where the molecular structure of the cannabinoid has been changed would not be permitted to be sold, even by licensed cannabis companies.
  • Hemp can’t contain more than 0.3% THC or a “comparable cannabinoid,” such as delta-8 or delta-10 THC.
  • Final products containing hemp can’t contain more than 1 milligram of THC, and each serving per package can’t exceed 0.25 milligrams.


The bill has the support of the United Food and Commercial Workers labor union, which represents cannabis workers in the state, and the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA).

“Cannabis products are excessively regulated and overtaxed, while intoxicating hemp products remain under-regulated and subject to no special taxes,” CCIA President Caren Woodson said in a statement.

“AB 2223 presents an opportunity to reimagine a legal and regulatory framework for cannabinoids in California and beyond.”