History of CBD and Cannabis: California
The golden state has always been known for its lax legislation and liberal-leaning values towards substance use and personal rights. In 1996, the California legislature made the landmark decision to legalize marijuana for strictly medical purposes, making it the very first state to open up its substance law since the drug shutdowns during the War on Drugs.
Even before the passage of the Compassionate Use Care Act of 1996, residents have been making their opinions known through contentious ballot initiatives decades before the law went into effect. In 1972, a proposition was only a hair’s breadth away from legalizing marijuana for all purposes.
Little did most Californians know, it would take over four decades for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (prop 64) of 2016 to completely legalize recreational use of cannabis for sale, use, possession, and distribution.
However, before and after the new bill’s passage, health and state officials have maintained a contentious relationship towards edible CBD products. How and why has this complex and often conflicting attitude developed between CBD vendors and law enforcers?
California and CBD
For several years after the passage of the federal Farm Bill in 2014, the California legislature was incredibly hesitant about the legal status of CBD sellers in the state. Though they were technically permissible under federal law, no local agencies had sprung up to keep malicious vendors in check.
Soon enough, state officials sprung into action in ways that would restrict the market and consumer freedom. In these early days, it wasn’t uncommon to hear about store raids or grandmother’s with CBD tinctures being stopped at the airport.
Officials’ concern over edible CBD treats all ties back to protecting the consumer from adverse health effects. In legislators eyes, CBD has a young history of documented research and human use, which means it should be treated like a novelty food item that needs to adhere closely to statewide health regulations.
It’s only been within the past two years that contention has died down as the market continues to surge. Now, three main regulatory bodies control the sale of all cannabis products, including THC-free CBD: the Bureau of Cannabis Control, Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Department of Public Health.
Now, the cannabis and CBD industries are a booming sector in California while the government is providing a regulatory model that other states can emulate. New hemp growers are now licensed everyday as dispensaries are spreading far and wide to every corner of the state.
Far from stamping out the CBD industry, state officials are currently committed to allowing sellers to spread out everywhere in the state. Currently, law enforcers are targeting unlicensed, illegal vendors who pray on isolated communities that don’t have access to official dispensaries.