Attorney General Bonta Protects California Youth by Taking a Stand Against Intoxicating Hemp Products

Wednesday, March 20, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today, along with 20 other attorneys general, sent a letter urging Congress to protect Californians from intoxicating hemp products by updating  language of the Farm Bill. The letter argues that vagueness in the 2018 Farm Bill has led to the proliferation of intoxicating hemp products across the nation and challenges the ability for states and localities to respond to the resulting health and safety crisis.

“Our children deserve better,” said Attorney General Bonta. “The 2018 Farm Bill, however well-intentioned, created a loophole that has led to the proliferation of products, often containing synthesized cannabinoids, that are more intoxicating than legal and regulated cannabis products. These products often take the form of candy and are designed to appeal to young people and children. California prohibits intoxicating cannabinoids in hemp products, whether naturally derived or synthetic. The California Department of Justice will continue to protect the legitimate businesses who are operating responsibly in this space.” 

Intoxicating hemp products are produced using Delta-8 THC, in addition to other cannabinoids, which is extracted from hemp and then are often synthesized. All are products which both the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration consider to be illegal, subject to the Federal Analogue Act if not for protections granted by the 2018 Farm Bill. Applied to foods, the 0.3% THC limit which distinguishes industrial hemp from cannabis, is inadequate to distinguish the potential for intoxication. This has resulted in excessively potent products that are manufactured under fewer controls than in states that have legalized cannabis. Because of the ambiguity created by the 2018 Farm Bill, a massive gray market worth an estimated $28 billion has been created. States are now seeing poisonings from poorly manufactured products, products with misleading labels, and uninformed consumers resulting in consumption of these intoxicating products by children and individuals who are under the age of twenty-one.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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