The Aloha State just dealt another blow to the state’s hemp industry this month when the Hawaii Department of Health adopted interim rules for hemp processors and hemp products (mostly pertaining to CBD).
The new rules ban some of the most popular CBD products on the market, so far with little justification. According to a statement published on the Department of Health’s website:
“These rules are the next step toward regulating the growing hemp industry in Hawaii in a way that provides local hemp farmers a legal pathway to bring consumable hemp products to market while protecting consumers by requiring lab testing for contaminants and labeled cannabinoid content.”
Most leaders in the hemp industry would agree that regulation is both necessary and expedient for the CBD market. Without it, the CBD industry will remain the now cliched “Wild West,” with potentially dangerous products competing on the same shelf as those that have been properly manufactured, dosed, and tested.
So Hawaii’s move towards requiring product testing and labeling rules is not really contentious. Bu these reasonable new standards are mixed in with this statement:
“Only the sale of properly labeled and tested hemp products containing naturally occurring cannabinoids, like cannabidiol (CBD), are allowed when intended:
- To be consumed orally to supplement the diet in tablet, capsule, powder, soft gel, gelcap, or liquid form (e.g. hemp oil); or
- For topical application to skin or hair.”
The latest round of CBD regulation in Hawaii combines common sense labeling and testing requirements while banning a wide variety of the most popular CBD products on the market.
Wait. What? Properly labeled, tested, and containing naturally occurring cannabinoids – that all sounds great. But why the extremely limited list of allowed products? Is the Department of Health actively trying to put the CBD industry out of business in the state?
The answer to that is unclear, but it will certainly make it less appealing for CBD businesses of any kind to set up shop in Hawaii.
So what can you continue to buy? If you live in Hawaii, your options will be limited to products that you can take topically or orally – specifically, “liquids, tablets, capsules, powders, soft gels, or gelcaps.”
But when they say “liquids” they do not mean a CBD latte. And when they say “tablets” they do not mean gummies. That’s because the new rules explicitly ban CBD in food or beverages of any kind. So no more CBD gummies or CBD coffee.
Not surprisingly, the new rules also explicitly ban any kind of smokeable or inhalable hemp. But less predictable is the ban on “hemp-containing products that are intended to be introduced into the body via eyes, ears, nasal cavities, and other non-oral routes of entry.”
So if you’ve become attached to CBD suppositories for menstrual cramps or endometriosis pain, this will no longer be an option. The statement from the Health Department offers no explanation of why “non-oral routes of entry” present a threat to public health.
One thing is clear. The new rules make things harder for hemp farmers who are already struggling to get by in Hawaii. The relatively limited daylight, combined with the climate, makes growing hemp difficult, and according to the Hemp Roundtable (a hemp industry lobbying group), the new rules “create burdensome registration, record-keeping, and other compliance requirements for licensed hemp producers and processors.”
The rules will obviously also make it harder for CBD retailers to stay in business, but dodging the new regulations is not an option. Retailers found selling hemp products “out of compliance” may be subject to penalties up to $10,000 for each offense, including product removal from sale.
So, for your review, if you live in Hawaii, your CBD choices will henceforth (at least for the foreseeable future) be limited to the following:
- Topicals (including hair products)