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Why can't horses use hemp or CBD in California?

The 2018 US Farm Bill did two amazing things for pet health. First, the bill legalized hemp at a federal level. Secondly, the spending bill codified the federal Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act which bans slaughtering dogs and cats for food in the United States.

Unfortunately, the bill classified horses (equine) as livestock (something we can eat). The term “livestock” includes cattle, sheep, horses, goats, and other domestic animals ordinarily raised or used on the farm.

According to the FDA, the farm bill failed to include language that allowed for hemp to be added in human or animal food. Only to be used and marketed as a supplement.

California bans sale of hemp intended for horse use.

The State of California, through its Agricultural department, is the only US state to enforce and advance wildly bizarre interpretations of the farm bill. Their un-official statement: 'hemp may be consumed by humans but horses cannot consume hemp because humans may want to consume a horse for lunch. Also, California law expressly forbids the consumption or sale of horse meat.'

The hemp plant and its compounds like CBD have shown benefits in humans, dogs, cats, actually, any mammal with an endocannabinoid system. Horses can benefit from the hemp plant, however, California residents are unable to purchase hemp or CBD products for their horse.

So how did it get here?

Nobody actually wants to eat horses. There exists no USDA approved horse processing plants in the United States. A few horses are bred in the US for human consumption, however, they are sent overseas for processing and sale. Many states (including California) forbid the sale and processing of horse meat per statute. Nobody I know wants to eat horse. Do you?

When horses are classified as livestock, this brings tremendous tax advantages to horse owners.

State/Country Number of Horses
United States 7,246,835
Texas 767,100
California 534,500
Florida 387,100

Your dog food expenses, cat treats, boarding fees, vet bills, supplements and other costs could never be deducted against your income for tax purposes. Horse parents can write off more of their expenditures than the child tax credit offers people parents.

Many proponents of the US Farm Bill language just wanted to have their horse and depreciate it, too.

Why is California doing this?

Why would California penalize horses by limiting their access to hemp, a substance they generally regard as safe? California has long advocated cannabis research efforts and protected the safety of horses through multiple legislation.

It is against California State law to sell a horse to anyone intended for human consumption. California penal code reads that no restaurant, cafe, or other public eating place may offer horse meat for human consumption. Violators are subject to a misdemeanor on their first offense and could be sentenced from 30 days to 5 years in jail.

What are California regulators so worried about? Allowing horses to enjoy the potential benefits of hemp will not roll back major tax advantages already in place for California's wealthiest, horse-loving citizens.

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