Committee to Investigate Lengthy Wait for CBD Rules in Hemp Hearing this Week

Committee to Investigate Lengthy Wait for CBD Rules in Hemp Hearing this Week

A discussion on hemp is scheduled to take place this week in a U.S. congressional committee, indicating that lawmakers may increase pressure on the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to establish regulations for the CBD market.

The hearing, titled “Hemp in the Modern World: The Yearslong Wait for FDA Action,” is set for 2 p.m. on Thursday. It will be held by the House Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services and is open to the public. The session can also be viewed online.

Chairman of the oversight committee, Kentucky Republican Rep. James Comer, is leading an investigation into the FDA’s failure to regulate hemp-derived CBD products as dietary supplements.

Continuing dance

For nearly five years, lawmakers and the FDA have been engaged in an ongoing discussion about CBD. Congress has repeatedly urged the agency to establish guidelines for the unregulated CBD products, which emerged in the late 2010s and have become a thriving gray market.

Rep. Lisa McClain, a Michigan Republican on the committee, stated, “We are going to investigate why exactly the FDA has decided to ignore their regulation responsibilities related to CBD and other areas of jurisdiction.”

McClain added, “Without these regulations, dangerous products could make their way to the shelves while safe and reputable CBD products could be prevented from entering the market.”

Dealing with delta-8

The session is also expected to address the FDA’s failure to control synthetic delta-8 THC, a psychoactive compound derived from CBD. Delta-8 products have seen a significant increase in availability across the United States over the past three years, raising additional health concerns.

Stakeholders have long urged the FDA to clarify the status of CBD. However, the agency has been slow to act, instead focusing on enforcement and issuing warnings to CBD manufacturers.

In January, the FDA finally acknowledged that the existing federal safety standards are insufficient to regulate the CBD industry and called on Congress to create legislation to establish rules for CBD products. The FDA also released a set of non-binding recommendations for CBD at the same time.

Current status

CBD stakeholders have consistently argued that existing regulatory pathways for dietary supplements and foods, as well as the related rules regarding manufacturing, labeling, and marketing of such products, are adequate for guiding the industry.

Currently, the FDA recognizes CBD as a drug, making it technically prohibited from being used in foods or marketed as a dietary supplement.

The listed witnesses for the session include Jonathan Miller, General Counsel for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable; Rayetta Henderson, Senior Managing Scientist at ToxStrategies, LLC; and Richard A. Badaracco, President-Elect of the Kentucky Narcotic Officers Association and a retired Assistant Special Agent at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

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