McConnell Pushes FDA to Rule on CBD

By Marc Lewis

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced legislation that would require the FDA to issue formal “enforcement discretion” on the sale of hemp CBD products, according to a release from the Hemp Roundtable.

Currently, the FDA says it is illegal to introduce CBD into interstate commerce as a food additive or dietary supplement. The agency has said that change is coming, but it has also said it may take months or years to issue meaningful rules and regulation. At least one curious public hearing did little to comfort all those with an interest in CBD.

Here’s more from the Hemp Roundtable.

Today, the US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture will “mark up” language submitted by Senator McConnell that would require the FDA to formally stand down on any enforcement of its troublesome anti-CBD guidance. Specifically, the language (linked here) would require FDA to:

  • Within 90 days, provide Congress a report outlining its efforts to develop an enforcement discretion policy on hemp CBD;
  • Within 120 days, issue its formal enforcement discretion policy on hemp CBD;
  • Keep the enforcement discretion policy in effect until the agency has implemented its final regulatory process; and
  • Ensure that going forward, CBD manufacturers would be able share safety data through existing FDA notification procedures to be fully compliant with federal law and policy.

In the short run, the McConnell language would help lift the current regulatory cloud that’s been discouraging financial institutions to work with CBD companies, and that’s encouraged some local government officials to suggest that CBD is illegal in their state.  In the long run, it would set forward a fair and expeditious path for hemp CBD products to be formally recognized as safe and legal as a matter of federal law.

The bill will be marked up by the full Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, and could go to the full Senate soon.

We’ve covered the back and forth on CBD at both a national and local level, and the lack of clarity has left businesses, farmers, and consumers guessing about what is and isn’t okay. Any push to bring clarity to the space is welcomed.

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