New Bipartisan Bill Forces FDA to Accept CBD as a Dietary Supplement
The passing of the 2018 Farm Bill saw the legalization of hemp and its derivatives. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is yet to develop an all-inclusive regulation that will allow businesses to sell hemp-derived CBD products. This means the agency is yet to give the go-ahead on the safety of the substance to be included in food supply and nutritional supplements. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner said that the regulation process may take years without any congressional action.
So, finally it seems the congress have intervened by introducing a new bill that would see CBD-infused products sold as dietary supplement. The bill was filed last Monday, Jan. 13th, and it seeks to amend the FDA act to include CBD as a dietary supplement. This could be one way to resolve the controversy surrounding the safety of the substance.
The Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) filed the bill. Initial cosponsors include Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Thomas Massie (R-KY), and James Comer (R-KY).
In a press release, Peterson said that, “The last two Farm Bills were landmark successes for hemp, but we are still very early in this process, and growers need regulatory certainty.” This bill will allow FDA to regulate CBD that comes from hemp as a dietary supplement, providing a pathway forward for hemp-derived products.”
Massie said he is excited to be among the initial sponsors of the bill. According to him, “Bipartisan allies in Congress and in the grassroots have worked hard for many years to pave the way for hemp legalization.” He continued, “In its first year, Kentucky’s industrial hemp industry added hundreds of new jobs and $100 million to the state’s economy! I’m confident H.R. 5587 will be another step in the right direction for industrial hemp.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that its current concern at the moment is to ‘clash’ down on companies still making bogus claims about the therapeutic benefits of CBD oils. The agency further said that it’s taking its time with CBD products that are already widely available all over the U.S.
Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and a lot of other lawmakers have made FDA to understand that the Congress has always intended to push for the marketing of CBD products since the legalization of hemp. And so, they urged the agency to hasten up with the regulatory procedures to that effect.
The President of Vote Hemp, Eric Steenstra said in an email blast to their supporters, that the group “supports this important new bill which will help provide clarity to the marketplace and ensure that CBD supplements can be marketed and sold nationwide.”
He said, “We urge Congress to pass this legislation quickly and FDA to regulate hemp derived CBD the same as any other supplement under existing regulations.”
The bill also has a provision that requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to research on the “regulatory and market barriers for farmers engaged in hemp production.”
USDA would be required to research the costs of setting up a hemp testing program, how to handle hemp products with excess THC, testing timeline growers must adhere to, as well as any other foreseeable challenge in the hemp market. Also, the department is expected to issue a report on its findings a year from the bill’s enactment date.
The department had the responsibility of creating new guidelines for hemp since the legalization of the crop, and it issued a temporary guideline last October, which proposed regulations for the crop. A lot of industry stakeholders and lawmakers have offered their opinion, stating that it wouldn’t be good to have the hemp industry overly restricted.