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Is Hemp Legal in California?

California Hemp Legality

California has a long and storied relationship with cannabis.  California is the first state with a medical marijuana program in 1996 and one of the first states to transition to open recreational sale in 2016 through ballot initiatives.

This open-mindedness towards cannabis has allowed taxation to fund numerous state programs and reduce wasteful policing resources.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that California is quite open to both industrial hemp, smokable hemp, and all its cannabinoid-rich byproducts.

California has certain restrictions and requirements for those looking to get into hemp farming and has age limits on purchasing hemp-derived cannabinoid products. Below we will break down specific categories of California law and regulation for all things hemp so you can be as informed as possible as to how CBD hemp flower is legal in California.

California’s Industrial Hemp Regulations

The state of California complies with the Federal legislation referred to as the ‘2018 Farm Bill’ which effectively legalizes hemp cultivation and possession across the country.

Because of something called “state’s rights”, there is a way for individual states to circumvent federal legislation by simply making their own laws that supersede federal law. Thankfully, California has not gone about doing this.

Industrial hemp is Legal to Grow and Cultivate in California

Cultivation requires annual registration through a local agriculture commissioner to acquire proper paperwork and allowances to do so. Established Agricultural Research Institutes can circumvent this registration process but are still required to submit GPS coordinates of grow locations to the same agricultural commissioner offices.

As soon as your registration is approved, you can plant your approved cultivars (industrial hemp seeds) in your registered grow location.

Growing unapproved cultivars would be in violation of both registration and California law.

California has one of the largest GDPs in the world and is known for wide swaths of agricultural land. Industrial hemp’s meteoric rise in popularity can create thousands of jobs and millions of dollars annually to export hemp fiber and grain across the world where it’s needed most. The state is set to become the largest producer and consumer of industrial hemp in the country.

When it comes to the sale of industrial hemp seeds, they must be on the approved list of cultivars and pass all inspections.

Any imported hemp seeds are potentially subject to routine agricultural inspection and must pass pesticide examination. Tri-Crop seeds are approved and are certain to pass any inspection by state officials upon import.

Legality of CBD in California

Currently, CBD as a lone cannabinoid, like in the form of CBD isolates, oils, CBD tinctures and concentrates are allowed to be purchased, processed and possessed by anyone over 21.

As long as the THC content within any CBD product sits below 0.30%, which is the case for Colorado Breeders Depot products, California sees that it falls under the jurisdiction of the Farm Bill guidelines. There is no regulatory body that controls retail sale of any CBD product in the state.

However, as of August 2021, California has a ban on products that infuse CBD into other products like foods, drinks and pet drinks. The FDA has a blanket refusal to see anything cannabis-derived as a safe or approved dietary supplement, and California follows these rules — which prevents a huge market share from being tapped.

Currently, buying CBD oils and CBD concentrates are allowed, but making and selling a CBD-infused edible product is banned. While growing and processing hemp requires a license, sale of CBD products is unregulated and requires no special application or licensure.

There are currently two bills under review in the California legislature which may remove the ban on these CBD-infused products, but the issue is that the language of the bill in turn illegalizes smokable hemp flower growth, processing, and sale.

The bills are still subject to amending, which hemp farmers are lobbying for to prevent this huge market of CBD flower from being suddenly ripped away.

High-CBD Hemp Flower Legality in California

Growing smokable hemp flower is by far the most profitable aspect of the hemp and CBD industry. Much of the hemp currently grown in California is high in CBD and cultivated with extraction or smoking in mind.

As of August 2021, CBD flower is available for sale through dispensaries which de facto limits the purchasing age to 21 or above.

California is plentiful in hemp flower growers and dispensaries that sell their products, and many people enjoy CBD flower as an alternative to the ultra-potent marijuana that is highly psychoactive.

Is Buying, growing, and selling hemp flower in California now legal?

Yes! But smoking in public is still outlawed. Violators who get caught can face a misdemeanor charge of public consumption of cannabis. The law lumps any cannabis consumption together as one plant regardless of THC content.

There is currently no field test for officers to use that can differentiate between hemp flower and high-THC cannabis flower. Best practice is to use private property like balconies, porches, homes and extreme personal discretion if this is unavailable.

While cannabis prosecution has been listed as the lowest priority in California, this doesn’t mean that someone getting caught smoking a CBD joint in public will be let off with a slap on the wrist. Following the law and enjoying hemp flower safely is the best way to use this medicine.

Current political actions may put the legality at risk for smokable CBD hemp flower sometime in the future, but many pro-hemp groups and farmers are lobbying for the continued legal market to thrive.

Is Delta 8 Hemp Legal in California?

California sees Delta-8 as just another hemp-derived cannabinoid. As long as the product is extracted from hemp containing under 0.3% THC, the law allows Delta-8 processing to licensed growers as well as the sale to anyone over 21 without any sort of regulating body or restrictions. Delta-8 can only be sold through dispensaries in California, and this allows the age restriction to be enforced without much extra effort. It’s likely that California will not restrict the sale or production of Delta-8 due to the federal classification of hemp derivatives.

If you have any questions as to the legality of products sold by Colorado Breeders Depot in your state, please do not hesitate to contact us at