California hemp farming regulations are nothing short of confusing. Lawmakers can’t seem to agree on what the standards and regulations should be. Other states already have their regulations in place with many farmers already planting their fields. Some California hemp farmers are already planting too, but are unsure of exactly what regulations they’ll have to follow.
As with the state’s cannabis laws, the hemp laws are also bound to have several changes made to them.
California Hemp Product Processing and Manufacturing
There currently aren’t any California hemp product processing and manufacturing standards or regulations in place. The state has not even made licenses available for non-food industrial hemp products or the manufacturing/processing of them. For hemp industry companies, it’s a learn-as-you-go process.
Some companies, like Canna Trading Co., have their own strict standards for quality and purity. At Canna Trading Co., our CBD oil is third-party lab tested to ensure that it is free of chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, herbicides and any unwanted materials. Our CBD oil is obtained from American hemp farmers that use organic farming measures.
Hemp Products in Farmers Markets
California hemp farmers, manufacturers, processors and distributors can make their products available at local farmers markets. The products can even be sold at certified farmers’ markets. While state is still milling over allowing CBD in food items, the Department of Food and Agriculture suggests contacting local authorities to see if the individual jurisdiction is allowing the products to be sold.
The FDA has only said that CBD in food items cannot be made for interstate sales. One of the things holding back the FDA from composing regulations for CBD-infused foods is that CBD is considered to be a drug and the government isn’t too keen on including “drugs” in food.
CBD edibles are quite popular; so many CBD users are turning to DIY options to make their own since some retailers are hesitant to sell CBD-infused foods due to the FDA’s own confusion.
Testing Crops for THC Content
In order to be compliant with the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp crops cannot test over 0.3% THC. In California, samples of hemp must be taken within 30 days prior to harvest. If the crop tests over 1% THC it must be destroyed if two tests have been completed. Crops testing over 1% THC must start to be destroyed within 48 hours but must be completed within 7 days.
One of the good things about California hemp law is that if a crop does test over 1% THC, the hemp farmer will not be prosecuted. Hemp typically contains 0.3% THC or less, but some strains can contain up to about 1% THC. Some state laws would deem hemp that is over 0.3% THC cannabis and not hemp.
Growing Hemp in California
California hemp laws contain provisions allowing certain cultivars (varieties) of hemp. The state has composed a list of accepted seed cultivars. It is important to bookmark this section of the California Code of Regulations if you plan to grow hemp in California.
Some of the regulations for obtaining hemp seed include:
- Ensuring the seed company is approved by necessary agencies
- Ensure that the seed provider is a member of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies
- Appropriate assumption that the crop will not produce more than 0.3% THC
- If the seeds are imported, the provider and receiver must have followed the proper importation regulations.
It’s important to plant hemp and cannabis crops many miles apart. The two plants can pollenate each other, and for hemp – pollination by a cannabis plant is unwanted. Hemp grows best outdoors in natural sunlight and healthy soil. Some cultivators suggest a distance of at least 10 miles between these two crops to prevent cross-pollination.
Know Local Laws
It seems ridiculous that a county or city would outlaw hemp cultivation right? Well, not everyone understands that hemp isn’t illegal anymore and it can’t get anyone high. Some lawmakers think that someone wanting to grow hemp will be a cover for growing cannabis – but cannabis is also legal in California.
The Future of Hemp in California
California is predicted to quickly become the largest producer of hemp in the U.S. Once regulations are finalized, California hemp farmers will feel more secure about growing their crops. Hemp has tens of thousands of uses. California is one of the hubs of creation in the U.S.; a lot of products are invented in California. The same could hold true for hemp products.
Some of the categories of products that hemp can be used for now include:
- CBD oil products
- CBD beauty products
- Hemp seeds for nutrition
- Hemp seed oil for cooking and health/beauty products
- Hempcrete for building purposes
- plastic – thousands of applications including water bottles and car door panels
- Hemp cord for jewelry making and other applications
- wood made from hemp
- Hemp paper
- Clothing — even pet and baby clothing
- Shoe soles
- Livestock and pet bedding
- Hemp rope
- Boat and ship masts
That’s a lot of categories already but more are likely to be invented as more hemp cellulose, bast fiber and other parts of the hemp plant are available in larger quantities.
With more hemp being grown, more hemp will be available including more CBD oil, hemp seeds and hemp seed oil. This is sure to start a long-lasting trend in healthy lifestyles. The cost of hemp clothing and other hemp-based products is also likely to decrease. One of the reasons that hemp products are so expensive now is that hemp is cultivated in limited amounts right now and much of the hemp (fabric, paper and other textiles) have to be imported. This significantly affects the price.
The California hemp industry is still rather new. A few bumps in the road are to be expected. Some regulations may change over time. Some state regulations may change as federal regulations for hemp cultivation, manufacturing and production are determined. Canna Trading Co. suggests signing up for a few hemp news industry newsletters and staying up-to-date on the California Department of Food and Agriculture website to ensure that your hemp business maintains its compliance with the most recent laws.