The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources has just released a policy statement regarding the sale of hemp-derived products in the state. The policy outlines the rules and regulations for the cultivation of hemp and the production and sale of hemp products. And it aims to bring Massachusetts’ hemp laws in line with recent changes to federal law legalizing hemp and hemp-derivatives like cannabidiol (CBD). The new rules mean that the cultivation, processing and sale of hemp in Massachusetts will fall under both federal and state law. As a result, the policy bans certain CBD products en masse, while allowing for the sale of other hemp products.
Massachusetts Follows Federal Law Banning CBD in Food, Beverages
On December 20, 2018, Donald Trump signed the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 into law. The bill instituted the first-ever change to the Controlled Substances Act, removing hemp from the list of banned substances and making it an agricultural commodity. Previously, federal law did not distinguish between hemp and marijuana. Now, hemp is legally recognized as a separate crop, and its cultivation now falls under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
But the 2018 Farm Bill also gives the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) jurisdiction over the public health requirements for hemp-derived products. And several months after the passage of the Farm Bill, the FDA released a policy statement restricting certain hemp-derived products. The policy limits the types of cannabis-derived and hemp-derived products that companies can manufacture and sell to consumers.
In particular, the FDA has prohibited any food, beverage or other consumable products that contain cannabidiol (CBD) without FDA approval. And Massachusetts, so as not to contradict federal hemp law, is following that prohibition in its own policies.
Here’s the CBD Products Massachusetts Just Banned
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is the agency responsible for regulating food safety in the Commonwealth. And it’s policy on CBD products is consistent with the FDA policy that prohibits the manufacture or sale of any food or other consumable products containing CBD. Any such products that cultivators or retailers wish to produce or sell will require special approval.
So what did Massachusetts ban specifically? According to the policy statement, the following products are not approved for sale in Massachusetts, because they’re likewise not permitted for sale under FDA guidance.
- Any food product contain CBD
- All products containing CBD derived from hemp that makes therapeutic/medicinal claims
- Any product that contains hemp as a dietary supplement
- Animal feed that contains any hemp products
- Unprocessed or raw plant material, including the flower that is meant for end use by a consumer.
But Massachusetts still allows some hemp products. Hemp seeds, seed oil, seed powder, hemp protein, clothing, building material and other hemp-fiber products are all okay. So it’s still possible to obtain CBD oil legally. The product just can’t add that oil to food or drinks or make any health claims on the packaging.
Massachusetts officials say failure to comply with the CBD ban could be costly. Law enforcement, DPH or municipal health boards could revoke a company’s ability to sell hemp products in the future. They could also seize and destroy illegal products, revoke licenses and more.