Bipartisan House lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bill to require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop regulations for food and beverages containing hemp-derived CBD and allow for their interstate commerce.
The “CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act” would help address a regulatory gap that hemp stakeholders have been pushing FDA to resolve. It’s being sponsored by Reps. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Angie Craig (D-MN) and Dan Crenshaw (R-TX).
While hemp and its derivatives were federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill, there are currently no rules in place to allow for the lawful marketing of CBD-infused foods and beverages. That’s despite the fact that such products are widely available in markets across the U.S.—just without regulations.
Under the bill, FDA would be required to develop rules and hold a public comment period on the maximum amount of hemp-derived CBD that could be added to a food item or beverage per serving, labeling and packaging requirements and the “conditions of intended use,” according to the text of the legislation.
“CBD products are exploding in popularity, but the lack of federal regulation surrounding them has put consumers at risk and left businesses looking for clarity,” Rice said in a press release. “The bipartisan CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act will establish the clear regulatory framework needed to provide stability for business and ensure unsafe products stay off the shelves.”
Griffith said that demand for CBD products “has surged, but Food and Drug Administration regulations do not reflect this new reality.”
“As a result, adulterated or unsafe products are available that threaten consumer health, and businesses lack clarity,” the congressman said. “The CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act would require the FDA to address the issue and ensure more certainty in the CBD marketplace.”
The industry groups Consumer Brands Association and U.S. Hemp Roundtable each expressed support for the bipartisan reform proposal.
“Years after CBD was decriminalized, a lack of clear federal standards in the CBD industry has left businesses guessing and customers at risk,” Craig said. “It’s clear that this growing industry needs regulatory clarity in order to continue selling their products safely and effectively.”
Bipartisan senators introduced a bill in May that would similarly exempt “hemp, hemp-derived cannabidiol, or a substance containing any other ingredient derived from hemp” from certain restrictions that have blocked the emergence of legal consumable hemp products while the FDA has slow-walked regulations.
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Griffith, who is a co-sponsor of this latest bill, also joined bipartisan colleagues in reintroducing separate legislation in February that would allow hemp and CBD derived from the crop to be marketed and sold as dietary supplements.
Earlier this year, FDA withdrew draft guidance on CBD enforcement that it had submitted for review to the White House under the Trump administration. There are few details about what the proposal included, but it was expected to give the industry a better understanding of the federal perspective when it comes to marketing cannabis products.
The decision to withdraw it came shortly after President Joe Biden was inaugurated and his chief of staff sent out a government-wide memo calling on federal agencies to pull pending rules.
The agency was mandated under appropriations legislation enacted in 2019 to provide an update on its regulatory approach to CBD, and it did so in March of last year. The update stated that “FDA is currently evaluating issuance of a risk-based enforcement policy that would provide greater transparency and clarity regarding factors FDA intends to take into account in prioritizing enforcement decisions.”
Also last year, FDA released separate draft guidelines that are meant to streamline approvals for generic oral CBD medications.
Meanwhile, the agency recently announced that it plans to use Reddit and other “novel” data sources to gain a better understanding of public health issues surrounding use of CBD and other “emerging” marijuana derivatives like delta-8 THC.
Read the text of the new congressional CBD bill below:
Photo by Kimzy Nanney.