Texas and California hope CBD legalization will end confusion over U.S. rules

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By Associated Press

CBD oil-infused gummy bears, lattes and other food, drinks and dietary supplements are selling quickly even though the U.S. government says they’re illegal and local authorities have forced some retailers to pull products. The confusion has the nation’s two largest states and others moving to legalize the cannabis compound that many see as beneficial to their health.

Lawmakers in Texas and California are often in opposition, but they’re both pushing bipartisan legislation to sidestep federal law and allow sales of the compound found in hemp and marijuana. Republicans and Democrats in Congress also are urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to change its stance.

The FDA announced Tuesday that it will hold a public hearing in May to gather more information.

Resolving the confusion can’t come quick enough for Jonathan Eppers, who makes Vybes, a popular CBD oil-infused beverage. California health inspectors raided his Los Angeles warehouse in January and impounded $100,000 worth of the drink.

Eppers said about 50 California retailers have since dropped his product and he’s moved production to Texas. He estimates lost sales, legal costs and relocation expenses have cost him at least $500,000.

“What is going on is unbelievable and asinine,” Eppers said. “They put us in this state of limbo that’s costing us.”

Eppers and CBD fans are mystified by the legal insecurity. After all, they say, retailers in California and nine other states that have broadly legalized marijuana sell edibles and other products that get people high, though pot is illegal under federal law. U.S. officials generally have taken a hands-off approach in states where pot is legal.