CBD News Roundup: April 1-5

field of hemp

Here are the main CBD stories from this week:

  • The FDA schedules a public hearing about CBD for May 31
  • Ohio retailers continue to sell CBD products despite the ban by the state
  • Texas officially removes hemp from its controlled substances list

Table of Contents

  1. The FDA Schedules Public Hearing on CBD
  2. Ohio Retailers Still Selling CBD Products Despite State Restrictions
  3. Texas Officially Removes Hemp From List of Controlled Substances

The FDA Schedules Public Hearing on CBD

The FDA has scheduled a public hearing on CBD for May 31, from 8 am to 6 pm.

A hearing has been in the works for some time but never had an official date until now.

The FDA intends to gather information during the hearing about how to regulate CBD.

“The goal of the hearing is to obtain additional scientific data and other information related to cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds, both from botanical and synthetic sources, to inform our regulatory oversight of these products,” said the notice about the hearing.

However, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has said creating a regulatory framework for the cannabinoid could take years.

The memo reiterates that point.

“FDA does not intend for this hearing to produce any decisions or new positions on specific regulatory questions,” states the notice, “but this hearing is expected to be an important step in our continued evaluation of cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds in FDA-regulated products.”

The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and the purview of the DEA, giving oversight of the plant and its derivatives to the FDA.

With Commissioner Gottlieb resigning from his position, however, his departure could further prolong the development of regulations for CBD.

Another option does exist to expedite the regulatory process.

During a Brookings Institute event, Commissioner Gottlieb said that Congress could pass CBD-specific legislation to allow the cannabinoid into food and drink.

This would make CBD tinctures, sprays, capsules, and other edible methods completely legal.

Gottlieb noted Congress has already taken a similar approach with human growth hormone and fish oil.

In spite of the lack of regulations, hemp-derived CBD continues to gain popularity and respect across the country.

Ohio Retailers Still Selling CBD Products Despite State Restrictions

Ohio retailers are dismissing the state’s ban on hemp-derived CBD products.

Per Ohio’s medical marijuana program, only marijuana dispensaries can sell CBD.

The state has not legalized hemp.

According to a report by “The Columbus Dispatch,” CBD distributors believe the Ohio pharmacy board that banned CBD products “overstepped its boundaries.”

State officials showed teeth when they embargoed CBD products from one store in January during an inspection that included seven stores in Cincinnati.

Products from hemp industry powerhouse CV Sciences are commonly found on the shelves of retailers selling CBD in Ohio.

Josh Hendrix, the president of hemp production at CV Sciences, has spoken on the issue of hemp legality.

“There is no list of controlled substances that includes CBD,” Hendrix said. “It’s a naturally occurring compound within a legal plant.”

Fortunately for retailers, a bill that could clear up the confusion is gaining traction.

The proposal, which would legalize hemp and hemp-derived products, including CBD, recently passed the Ohio Senate unanimously and is now on to the House.

Republican Senator Steve Huffman, who co-sponsored the bill, noted the potential economic benefit growing hemp could provide.

“It is important to understand that hemp is not marijuana, it is much more versatile and lacks an appreciable amount of THC to cause any psychotropic effects,” said Sen. Huffman. “This is an incredible opportunity for our farmers to help diversify their crops by allowing them to grow legal hemp.”

The bill offers the same provisions as the 2018 Farm Bill and requires the state’s Department of Agriculture to come up with a regulatory plan for hemp.

Ohio will then send the plan to the USDA for approval.

Implementation of the bill may be slow, as Ohio did not create a pilot program under the 2014 Farm Bill, making it one of the few holdouts in the nation.

Those holdouts are dwindling, too.

Texas Officially Removes Hemp From List of Controlled Substances

Texas is officially removing hemp from its list of controlled substances.

Commissioner John Hellerstedt of the Department of Health Services signed an amendment on March 15 removing the plant, which took effect April 5.

“You just watch, there is going to be more hemp grown than we could ever process,” said Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller in an interview with NBCDFW.

With the cultivation of hemp comes products from hemp derivatives, such as CBD, something Miller is supportive of.

“If CBD oil will help you physically, I’m for it,” Miller said. “Anything that can medically take away someone’s pain or relieve their tensions or whatever they’re taking it for, we should use it.”

Miller also believes hemp farming will boost the economy and help farmers.

“Not only do we want our farmers to be able to grow hemp, we want the processing facilities to be located here in rural Texas, and bring those jobs to rural Texas,” Miller said.

While Texas removed hemp from its list of controlled substances, the plant is still not legal yet.

Lisa L. Pittman, a cannabis law attorney in Austin and Denver, told NBCDFW, “It doesn’t make (hemp) legal. There does need to be a legislative change for the criminal penalties.”

However, Rep. Tracy King has introduced Texas House Bill 1325, a bill that would unequivocally legalize hemp and hemp-derived CBD products in the state.

Currently, the bill is still in committee.

“It’s the proper time,” said Rick Hardcastle, a former state politician, “and this bill is a great start.”