Bipartisan Members of House Urge FDA to Issue Temporary CBD Regulations

Democratic and Republican lawmakers have joined efforts in pushing for CBD regulations in favor of industry growth and “market certainty.”

Bipartisan members of the United States House of Representatives sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week, urging the federal agency to take action to create a pathway for legally marketed (cannabidiol) CBD products.

Twenty-six lawmakers in a coalition led by Congresswoman Shelley Pingree (D-ME) and Congressman James Comer (R-KY) approved the letter. Signatories called on FDA to set up a temporary framework until a permanent regulatory regime could be established.

FDA has been tasked with establishing rules and regulations on the nation’s hemp CBD market since its legality was clarified with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill last December. The agency has announced it expects to issue a progress report this fall, but that the full development and implementation of rules will take an estimated two years.

Call on FDA to Provide Path for CBD

In the new letter, the lawmakers called on FDA to “promptly issue guidance announcing a policy of enforcement discretion that maintains FDA’s current risk-based enforcement approach towards hemp-derived CBD products.”

They also pointed out that the lack of regulations has led to issues in the market as it currently exists. Additionally, lawmakers are concerned about the nature of banking in the industry.

“Regularity certainty will allow the legal hemp industry to flourish while opening up exciting new economic opportunities for farmers and entrepreneurs in a way that protects consumers,” they said in summary.

They requested that FDA “consider issuing an interim final rule, pending issuance of a permanent final rule, to establish a clear regulatory framework for CBD as a dietary supplement and food additive.”

The lawmakers suggested treating hemp as a food additive and dietary supplement.

The letter’s signatories consist of a range of backers from across the country, including more progressive and stalwart cannabis supporters Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Mark Pocan (D-WI), as well as Peter Welch (D-VT) and Ted Lieu (D-CA). Two Democratic presidential hopefuls, Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Tim Ryan (D-OH), also signed the letter.

Blumenauer is Chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

The lawmakers argued that the FDA has jurisdiction over the issue due to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. They asserted the nation’s CBD industry is booming, with a great wide of products being produced including lotions, pills, and oils and its increasing ubiquity at retail shops across the country.

“Given the widespread availability of unregulated CBD products, growing consumer demand, and the expected surge in hemp farming in the near future, we believe that FDA must quickly act to provide legal clarity and to establish a regulatory framework that supports this exciting new opportunity,” they concluded in the letter.

The letter was addressed to Ned Sharpless, Acting FDA Commissioner.

Even More on Cannabis

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) last week also put pressure on FDA about CBD. The long-time lawmaker and hemp supporter proposed language that would require FDA to issue temporary regulations to allow the hemp and CBD industries to move forward with more certainty. McConnell hopes to insert the language as an amendment attached to a congressional spending bill.

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