Colorado has recommended regulating industrial hemp CBD oils and extracts that are used marijuana products and are sold in medical and retail marijuana stores. In its 2018 Sunset Review, the Department of Regulatory Agencies recommended amending the Medical Marijuana Code and Retail Marijuana Code to close the loophole for industrial hemp CBD and extract. Regulators are concerned the industrial hemp may contain pesticides or other contaminants that may be harmful to consumers, and want to ensure that consumers ingesting industrial hemp CBD receive the same health and safety protections afforded by the use of marijuana based CBD. Under the recommendations, manufacturers that incorporate industrial hemp CBD into marijuana products, or sell the product in medical or retail marijuana stores, will be brought under the marijuana regulatory regime.
Nationally, there is a growing problem on the legal treatment of industrial hemp CBD, and where and when it can be sold. The carve out of industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana under state laws has created inconsistencies within the medical and retail marijuana regulatory frameworks. States like Michigan are currently amending the definition of marijuana to exclude industrial hemp. Thus in Michigan, industrial hemp CBD is still considered to be marijuana, and can only be sold in medical marijuana dispensaries. The disparate treatment across the 50 states has created confusion around the legal sale of industrial hemp CBD oil, and whether it can be sold in or outside of marijuana dispensaries. Ohio recently issued a notice indicating that CBD oil, regardless of whether it is derived from industrial hemp or marijuana, may only be sold by medical dispensary.
Some states that have already excluded industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana must now amend laws and regulations to allow retail or medical dispensaries to sell non-marijuana industrial hemp products. In Colorado, only medical marijuana stores can sell industrial hemp products containing non-marijuana consumables. The Sunset Report recommends changing the law to afford retail marijuana stores the same right in order to create regulatory parity between the medical and retail regimes. The circle is complete now that regulators want to regain control over industrial hemp used in marijuana products and sold in stores as it is consistent with the underlying customer protection rationals. Unfortunately, this might be the canary in the mine shaft for other products and regulatory requirements that may emerge in the growth of this industry across the 50 states.