Representatives from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) testified last week with regard to federal efforts to regulate domestic hemp production and the sale of certain hemp-derived CBD products.
In December, Congress enacted legislation removing industrial hemp (defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3 percent THC) and products containing cannabinoids derived from hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act.
In Congressional testimony last week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said that the Department is working to create federal hemp regulations by 2020. Under the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill, US states that wish to license commercial hemp cultivation must submit their plan to the USDA. However, the agency is not reviewing any state-specific plans until it has finalized its own federal regulations.
In separate testimony, outgoing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told Congress that the agency is considering various pathways to regulate hemp-derived CBD products, but cautioned that the process could take “two, three, [or] four years.” The Commissioner has previously stated, “[I]t’s unlawful under the FD&C Act (US Food Drugs and Cosmetics Act) to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interstate commerce, or to market CBD or THC products as, or in, dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived.” That announcement led to regulatory agencies in several states pulling certain CBD-infused products from the retail market.
The FDA director told Congress that the agency will soon announce the formation of a “high-level working group” to begin addressing the issue, with public meetings beginning in April.