The Imperial County Board of Supervisors endorsed a California Assembly Bill regarding cannabis that could help bring investment to the area and create jobs.
On Dec. 7, 2020, Assembly Member Cecilia Aguilar-Curry introduced Assembly Bill 45 to remove food, beverage, or cosmetic restrictions on the use of cannabinoids derived from industrial hemp. The bill explicitly states that derivatives from industrial hemp are not considered adulterants, allowing these products to be sold legally. Industrial hemp is a non-psychoactive component of the Cannabis Sativa plant that does not produce any intoxication when consumed. Research also shows that CBD act as a potential medicine for the treatment of various illnesses affecting society today.
The bill will allow hemp CBD to be used in food, beverages, dietary supplements and pet product, while ensuring consumer safety, including label standards that provide essential information to consumers. It would also require CBD consumer product testing that mirrors comprehensive testing requirements for cannabis, apply existing requirements of the Sherman Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act to all hemp CBD consumer products, and add abundant new product lines to the marketplace subject to sales tax.
In Imperial County, there are almost half a million acres of farmable land. With the abundant agricultural opportunities here in Imperial County, this new industry has the potential to create jobs and spur economic development in our community, especially at a time when all communities are significantly impacted by COVID-19.
Twenty-eight states, including New York, Florida, Texas, Virginia, New Jersey, Kansas, Nevada and Oklahoma, have adopted laws that allow hemp CBD to be used in food any kind of supplements.
“Companies deciding where to site their operations are looking first at those states that affirmatively want their business. Companies already doing business in California may have to look at moving their current operations and jobs to other states if AB 45 is not enacted,” the letter stated.
The county argued that AB 45 would establish the most expansive hemp testing program in the country. As an example, the testing regiment for hemp CBD would be the same as the testing for cannabis. Consumers would have access to the test results for every product they purchase. Additionally, testing would guarantee that the product complies with the federal law cap of 0.3% THC (the psychoactive element in cannabis).
“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy in Imperial County has been profoundly distressed. Tax revenues are expected to decrease over the next few years, many jobs have disappeared and the ability of the state to rebuild itself in a timely fashion is uncertain. However, this legislation can help move us forward. The hemp industry, especially its hemp CBD food, beverage, and supplement markets, represents a major source of new state and local revenues that can be realized quickly,” the letter read.