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CBD News Roundup: FDA Commissioner Says ‘It’s a Fool’s Game’ to Ban CBD Products

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Written by The CBD Insider

Here’s the latest CBD news:

  • The FDA Commissioner acknowledged that it would be “a fool’s game” to ban CBD products in a speech on Wednesday.
  • USDA and DEA have delayed certain policies in its Interim Final Rule for hemp that hemp farmers and advocates considered restrictive.
  • The Idaho Senate passed a bill that would allow the production and transportation of hemp but would not legalize CBD oil.

Table of Contents

  1. FDA Commissioner: ‘It’s a Fool’s Game’ to Ban CBD Products
  2. USDA, DEA Delay Policies on Testing Labs and Disposal of Non-Compliant Hemp
  3. Idaho Senate Approves Bill to Grow and Transport Hemp

FDA Commissioner: ‘It’s a Fool’s Game’ to Ban CBD Products

In his first speech as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn acknowledged that CBD products would not be coming off shelves.

“People are using these products,” said Dr. Hahn. “We’re not going to be able to say you can’t use these products. It’s a fool’s game to try to even approach that.”

FDA has been working on its regulatory framework for CBD since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill when both hemp and its derivatives, including CBD, were federally legalized.

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said it could take years for the agency to develop such regulations unless Congress intervened with legislation.

“FDA has spent a lot of time looking at this,” said Hahn. “We are trying to formulate what our stance is going to be on this.”

The agency has cited a lack of information and research on CBD as one of the reasons it has not developed a conclusion on it.

On May 31, 2019, FDA held a public hearing on CBD to gather more information about the cannabinoid.

In November 2019, the agency released an update on CBD, stating that FDA did not have enough information to know the effects of CBD.

“We need to fill the knowledge gaps,” said Hahn.

However, Hahn did acknowledge that “there might be some value in these products, and certainly Americans think that’s the case. But we want to get them information to help them make the right decisions.”

In January, Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN) filed a bipartisan bill that would define CBD as a dietary supplement, allowing the FDA to regulate it as such without the need for a unique regulatory framework.

USDA, DEA Delay Policies on Testing Labs and Disposal of Non-Compliant Hemp

The US Department of Agriculture has delayed enforcement of certain policies in its Interim Final Rule (IFR) for hemp that were deemed restrictive by farmers and hemp advocates.

USDA is delaying its requirements that all hemp must be tested at Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-registered laboratories, along with the requirement that non-compliant hemp must be disposed of by “a DEA-registered reverse distributor or law enforcement.”

“Because currently there isn’t sufficient capacity in the United States for the testing and disposal of non-compliant hemp plants, USDA has worked hard to enable flexibility in the requirements in the Interim Final Rule for those issues,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach in a press release.

Both of these policies will be delayed starting this growing season, and until October 31, 2021, or the final rule is published, whichever comes first.

“One of the top considerations in making these changes was the desire to provide additional options that minimize, to the extent possible, the resource impact to state and local law enforcement in handling hemp that is out of compliance,” continued Under Secretary Ibach.

The announcement was met with praise from the industry.

“We are excited to understand that, despite the fits and starts of a new industry, the USDA is listening to our concerns, and is acting on our requests,” said the US Hemp Roundtable in an email to its supporters.

Nevertheless, the industry wants to see the policies done away with altogether.

“We continue to believe that DEA certification of labs is unnecessary, and will use this time period to renew our arguments,” said the Roundtable in a separate email.

Farmers and industry stakeholders have expressed concerns about the USDA’s hemp policies and others since the IFR was released in October 2019.

Idaho Senate Approves Bill to Grow and Transport Hemp

Hemp is one step closer to becoming legalized in the Gem State.

The Idaho Senate approved a bill that would permit the production and transportation of hemp by a vote of 27-5.

CBD oil will not be legalized if the bill becomes law.

The bill would define hemp separately from marijuana, but the crop would not be removed from the state’s list of controlled substances.

“This is strictly an agriculture bill,” said Senator Abby Lee.

If the bill passes the Idaho House, it seems it will not be rejected at the governor’s desk.

“I’m fine with hemp so long as it’s not camouflage for marijuana,” said Idaho Governor Brad Little.

Idaho is one of three states, the others being South Dakota and Mississippi, that have not legalized hemp production.

South Dakota has a hemp legalization bill that has passed the state House and is awaiting an upcoming vote in the state Senate.