AUGUSTA (WGME) – Gov. Janet Mills signed an emergency bill Thursday allowing the hemp byproduct CBD to be produced and sold in edible form.
The CBD tinctures and the gummies are among the fans’ favorites. Now they are back on the shelves at businesses like Atlantic Farms Gas N’ Grass in Portland.
“It means a lot to us as a business and a lot of the customers that we serve, too, as well,” said Tim Sousa, a budtender at Atlantic Farms.
Sousa said the business took the edible and ingestible cannabidiol, or CBD, products down in January, after a warning from state officials.
While the federal government recently legalized hemp, the Food and Drug Administration said adding CBD to foods was not allowed because CBD is considered a medicine.
“I think the whole state was a little shook up by it,” Sousa said.
That all changed on Wednesday, when Mills signed emergency legislation allowing CBD to be treated — and sold — as a food product.
“I had a little bit of a jump for joy, I’m not going to lie,” Sousa said.
Mark Barnett owns Higher Grounds in the Old Port and represents the Maine Craft Cannabis Association. He was one of dozens who testified in support of the bill.
“At least in the eyes of the state, they don’t see me as adulterating my food when I’m using a product that I’ve tested more than the bananas on the shelves of the grocery store that people eat every day,” Barnett said.
He emphasized that hemp is not marijuana.
“They both come from the cannabis plant but hemp has very little THC, which is the psycoactive agent in marijuana. There’s a lot of demand. That’s all I can say,” he said.
While oils and edibles are top sellers for many retailers, the urgency of this bill was not so much for them as it was for the farmers who are growing hemp because they need time to prepare their crops and to know that they are going to have an end market for their product.
While there is still some gray area under the FDA’s rules, for now, retailers are free to offer the popular products in Maine without fear.