Senators Demand Action From FDA On CBD Guidelines

A group of U.S. Senators is pressing the FDA to put a swift end to the “Wild West” of unregulated hemp products.

A group of United States Senators led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is urging the federal government to speed up the process of creating guidelines for cannabidiol (CBD) products.

Blumenthal held a press conference on Tuesday urging the Federal Drug and Food Administration (FDA) to finalize and implement a regulatory framework for hemp-derived CBD oil. Blumenthal said currently the country is in a “Wild West of hemp products.”

The senator went on to say while some of the products have the potential to be enormously beneficial, some of the product names and claims could be deceptive.

“Consumers need and deserve guidance. So do manufacturers and hemp growers. That is why I am calling on the FDA to establish a regulatory framework as it has promised to do for these products,” said Blumenthal.

“What we need to do is stop the bad actors, rid the market of unsubstantiated and inaccurate health claims, make sure the good guys have a leveled playing field where truth and accuracy are valued and rewarded by consumers and by the regulatory framework.”

In a Sept. 23 letter addressed to the FDA’s Acting Commissioner Norman E. Sharpless, Blumenthal and his colleagues requested an update on the agency’s CBD-related activities no later than 90 days. The letter also asked that the FDA include guidance on the classification, labeling, quality, marketing, and sale of CBD-containing products.

Hemp and hemp-derived products like CBD oil were made federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law last December. Moving forward, the FDA is responsible for regulating any product marketed as having natural effects. Because many CBD oil products are sold to promote health and well-being, it’s up to the FDA to establish rules on regulations on those products.

The nation’s CBD market is on the rise and is expected to grow to $20 billion by 2024. An estimated 7 percent of Americans currently use CBD products.

Other senators joining Blumenthal in signing the letter were Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

The Democrats join other lawmakers calling for action from the FDA. In September, a bipartisan coalition of 26 House members sent a letter to the head of the FDA pushing the agency to provide a clear path for CBD products to be legally marketed.

Also in September, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) worked to introduce language into a congressional spending report that would reinforce the need for the FDA to move quickly. McConnell’s amendment would require the FDA to issue temporary regulations to allow the hemp industry to move forward with more certainty.

2018 Farm Bill Legalizes Hemp

The FDA was tasked with creating rules and regulations on the nation’s hemp CBD market since its legality was clarified under the 2018 Farm Bill. Within the act is a provision titled the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which amends the federal list of controlled substances with regard to hemp and reclassifies the plant as an agricultural commodity.

The FDA announced in July that it would work to expedite the creation of rules and regulations for CBD products and that it expects to issue a progress report by early fall. However, according to the FDA, full development and implementation of rules will take an estimated two years.

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