California Hemp Industry Takes Next Step with SB 153

Brian German Agri-Business, Legislative

Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed Senate Bill 153 (SB 153) into law, bringing the regulations dictating the California hemp industry in line with federal guidelines.  The law will go into effect on January 1, 2020, and will replace outdated state statute language which conflicted with certain aspects of the 2018 Farm Bill.

California hemp industry

“The California hemp industry looks to become a significant force nationally thanks to the passage of SB 153,” President of Vote Hemp Eric Steenstra said in a press release. “We are grateful to Senator Scott Wilk for championing this important legislation and to Governor Newsom for signing it into law.”

SB 153 requires California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross to consult with Governor Newsom, as well as the California Attorney General to establish official plans for industrial hemp in the state.  The plan for California hemp will need to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture by May 1, 2020, which will have 60 days to complete an evaluation.  California growers have high expectations for the potential of industrial hemp in the state.

“SB 153 opens the door for California to take full advantage of the exciting opportunities industrial hemp offers our agricultural and manufacturing sectors,” said Senator Scott Wilk.  “With SB 153 now law, California is back in position to take advantage of the opportunities presented for our agricultural and manufacturing industries.”

When the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law, it removed hemp from the list of Schedule I controlled substances and effectively negated previous California law pertaining to hemp cultivation.  States are now allowed to cultivate the crop like any other commodity after having plans for industrial hemp production approved by the Secretary of the USDA.  The 2018 Farm Bill also expanded the definition of hemp to include extracts and other derivatives.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West