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Is CBD Legal in California? CBD Laws 2024

 Is CBD Legal in California? CBD Laws 2024

From sparkling sandy beaches to its glistening Hollywood sign, there are quite a few things that make California unique. More specifically, it was the first state to legalize medical cannabis in 1996 and has since continued the trend, legalizing the sale and manufacture of hemp-derived products and consumable CBD in 2021 under Assembly Bill 45.

CBD is legal in California, but adults must be over the age of 21 when purchasing hemp-derived or marijuana-derived CBD oil. 

In addition to AB 45, two laws — California Proposition 24, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2016, and the 2018 Farm Bill, a federal law legalizing the growth, sale and use of industrial hemp products with less than 0.3% THC — set the framework for California hemp legislation. 

CBD Laws in California: What You Need to Know

Cannabis products have been legal to varying degrees in California for over 25 years. However, it wasn’t until 2021 that hemp-derived CBD was legalized for food and beverage products, which diverges from FDA regulations. 

Let’s explore two California CBD laws pertaining to CBD legalization:

  • The Farm Bill (2018) – A federal bill passed in 2018, the Farm Bill legalized the growth, production, sale and use of industrial hemp nationwide. Per the bill, industrial hemp must contain 0.3% or less THC by volume. But, the bill does not allow CBD extracted from industrial hemp to be used in food or beverage products.
  • Assembly Bill 45 (2021) – After three attempts to pass a CBD bill, hemp-derived products were finally legalized in 2021. The bill stipulates that hemp-derived products and CBD-infused consumable products can be manufactured and sold in California. 

Per AB 45, manufacturers of hemp dietary supplements must register with the State Department of Public Health to verify that the product originates from an approved hemp program within the state of California.

Manufacturers must also follow testing and labeling requirements set by a state-mandated program.

Legal hemp-derived CBD products in the state of California include:

  • CBD oils
  • CBD edibles
  • CBD vapes

So, is it legal to smoke CBD in public in California? No, but Californians can smoke hemp products in the privacy of their homes. CBD driving laws in California are relatively relaxed, and there is no legal limit to how much CBD can be in a person’s bloodstream when driving.

Is CBD Legal in California?

Following the US Agricultural Act of 2018 (also known as the Farm Bill) and AB 45, the production and sale of CBD sourced from hemp is legal in California on a federal and state level. However, the Farm Bill does not legalize the use of CBD derived from industrial hemp in food and beverage products, which California diverges from.

That said, CBD sourced from marijuana (cannabis) became legal on a state level in 1996 when California voters approved the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215), which legalized marijuana for medical use by patients with debilitating health conditions.

In 2003, Senate Bill 420 provided additional legal protections for patients purchasing, possessing and using medical THC and CBD derived from cannabis. The most important impact of this legislation was the implementation of the medical marijuana card system. As such, only those with a medical marijuana card could purchase marijuana-derived CBD and other marijuana products.

In 2016, Proposition 64 was approved by voters. The bill legalized recreational marijuana sale, purchase, possession and use for anyone over the age of 21. This included marijuana-derived products like THC- and CBD-based foods, beverages, oils and other consumables.

Can I Buy CBD in California?

Per Proposition 64 and the Farm Bill, it is legal for adults to purchase CBD in California as long as these products:

  • Follow state laws regarding quality control and content testing
  • Abide by state labeling requirements 
  • Are purchased from a licensed vendor
  • Meet content standards (for industrial hemp products, the THC content must remain at 0.3% or lower)

Can I Buy CBD Online?

California residents can buy CBD products through reputable online retailers.

Look for online suppliers like Zebra CBD who provide a Certificate of Analysis that signifies the potency of certain cannabinoids and the presence of any harmful contaminants. 

Can I Buy CBD at a Dispensary?

Californians can buy both marijuana-derived and hemp-derived CBD at licensed dispensaries and cannabis retailers. These include head shops, wellness centers, vape shops and grocery stores, which sell CBD oil, smokables, vape products and edibles.

Legal Status of CBD in California

CBD is legal in California, but adults must be over the age of 21 when purchasing hemp-derived or marijuana-derived CBD oil. 

However, CBD users should keep a close eye on federal and state laws as they develop — especially before traveling to a state without legal protections for recreational marijuana use.

Legal Disclaimer

The information contained above is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice. The provided information may not reflect current legal developments or information, and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete or current. We recommend checking our source(s) to see if the information or legal status have been revised since our content was published.


1. Is CBD legal in California?

Yes, CBD products are legal in California when sold by licensed cannabis retailers.

2. How old do you have to be to buy CBD in California?

You must be 21 years of age or older to purchase CBD in California.

3. Can I sell CBD products in California?

Licensed cannabis producers and processors can sell CBD products that have undergone state-required testing and screening for cannabinoid potency and toxin levels.


California Legislative Information. Senate Bill No. 420.

Marijuana Legalization Initiative Institute. Proposition 64.

US Congress. H.R.2 – Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

Co-founder of Copycat Copywriters, Adam has written for dozens of CBD and cannabis companies on a wide array of topics, including regulations, economics, farming practices and biochemistry.

About the Author

Adam Biederman Image

Adam Biederman

As co-founder and lead writer of Copycat Copywriters, one of Adam’s primary areas of expertise is within the budding CBD and cannabis space. He has written for dozens of CBD and cannabis companies, producing a collection of white papers, press releases, blog posts, articles and ebooks about a wide array of industry-related subjects, including regulations, economics, farming practices and biochemistry.

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