Senators from Oregon sent a letter to the FDA requesting the agency revise “outdated” regulations on hemp and CBD. Specifically, the senators want the FDA to allow the interstate commerce of foods infused with hemp derivatives, including CBD. Following the full legalization of hemp in December, the FDA released a statement indicating that they consider CBD to be a drug, making it illegal to add the compound to food and drink products without prior approval.
Oregon Senators Send Letter to FDA Regarding Hemp and CBD Regulations
On Tuesday, Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley sent a letter to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb requesting that his agency allow the interstate commerce of food products containing hemp-derived substances, including CBD.
Both Wyden and Merkley were authors on the legislation that fully legalized hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill.
In their letter, the senators argue that “it was Congress’ intent to ensure that both U.S producers and consumers have access to a full range of hemp-derived products, including hemp-derived cannabinoids.”
This statement confirms what proponents of hemp and CBD believed to be the case when the 2018 Farm Bill was passed.
The pair of lawmakers also said that current regulations “limit producers from taking full advantage of the industrial hemp market.”
The senators posed four questions to the agency about how it intends to regulate hemp and CBD:
- What steps is the agency advancing to clarify to the public the authority the agency has in the production and marketing of hemp, specifically Cannabis sativa L. and its derivatives?
- What lawful pathways are currently available for those who seek approval to introduce Cannabis sativa L. and its derivatives as a food, beverage or dietary supplement, including into interstate commerce?
- Are there circumstances in which Cannabis sativa L. and its derivatives may be permitted as a food, beverage or dietary supplement by the agency?
- Will the agency consider issuing a regulation, or pursuing a process, that would allow Cannabis sativa L. and its derivatives in food, beverages or dietary supplements that cross state lines?
In acknowledgment of the current government shutdown, Senators Wyden and Merkley requested an answer from the FDA within 30 calendar days of the government reopening.
The FDA’s Current Stance on CBD
Shortly after President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law, the FDA released a statement concerning its stance on CBD.
Summarily, the FDA considers CBD a drug, making it illegal to add to market it in food and drink products or as a dietary supplement without FDA approval.
However, the FDA indicated it is open to relaxing restrictions when it announced it was planning a regulatory framework for how companies can legally market CBD products.
If the FDA were to honor the request from the senators, CBD and hemp products could essentially be marketed as health supplements, opening the doors for major retailers in America to do business with CBD brands.