Topics: Cannabis, News, Press

Assembly Majority Leader Aguiar-Curry Bill To Increase Enforcement Against Intoxicating Hemp Passes the Assembly Floor with Bipartisan Support

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Assembly Majority Leader Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D- Winters) announced today that her Assembly Bill 2223 passed the Assembly Floor with over 65 bipartisan Assemblymembers voting to support the bill. AB 2223 will protect public health by eliminating access to intoxicating hemp products, while providing a pathway for well-regulated hemp and cannabis industries to participate in the federal and state legal hemp marketplace.

“When the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp nationwide, the market was flooded with new, legal hemp products. In 2021, my Assembly Bill 45 created the strongest structure in the nation for regulating these products, registering companies to fund enforcement against illegal products, and implementing needed guardrails on hemp products,” said Majority Leader Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters). “We have made it clear that synthetic intoxicants were not legal in hemp products. Those products were sold illegally prior to the bill, and unfortunately still are.  I’ve introduced AB 2223 to protect public health by greatly enhancing the tools available to state and local health and law enforcement officials to stop the sale of these products.  We must act this year to enhance the restrictions under AB 45 so we can adapt to this constantly evolving illegal market. The bottom line is that if it gets you high, it should not be sold outside a dispensary. Period.”

“The proliferation of unchecked and duty-free hemp products has reached a fever pitch. AB 2223 lays the important groundwork needed to re-imagine how we regulate cannabinoids for intoxication – regardless of whether they come from cannabis or hemp,” said Caren Woodson, President of the California Cannabis Industry Association. “Cannabis products are excessively regulated and overtaxed, while intoxicating hemp products remain under-regulated and subject to no special taxes. AB 2223 presents an opportunity to reimagine a legal and regulatory framework for cannabinoids in California and beyond.”

“UFCW’s cannabis members have a front-row seat to how intoxicating hemp products are a danger to public health and undermine California’s legal market,” said Todd Walters, president, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135. “UFCW has championed the legal cannabis industry in California since day one along with the need for protections to keep workers and consumers safe. AB 2223 will expand California’s cannabis enforcement to intoxicating hemp products, and we’re proud to support this bill.”

In 2021, AB 45 (Aguiar-Curry, Chapter 457, Statutes of 2021) created the most protective testing standards and regulations for the hemp industry in the nation at the time, while maintaining access to non-intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD) products. But, despite strong standards, intoxicating hemp products have become increasingly popular. Some of these products exploit a loophole in federal law that measures THC content by weight, rather than intoxicating effect. Other products contain synthetic intoxicants that are already illegal in California. Agencies have had difficulty enforcing existing laws for hemp, and these challenges are now impeding enforcement against illicit cannabis products as well.

AB 2223 increases enforcement against illegal hemp products by empowering state and local public health agencies. The bill also strengthens prohibitions on intoxicating hemp products by limiting the amount of THC in hemp products and strengthening restrictions on synthetic intoxicants. This bill will now go to the Senate for further policy committee hearings.

 Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all of Lake, Colusa, Napa, and Yolo Counties, and part of Sonoma County.                           

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: John Ferrera                                                             Phone: 916-402-8900