Despite a growing craze for cannabidiol (CBD) products among consumers, restrictions on these items have remained in limbo with the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the Farm Bill, removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act but not clearing it at a federal level.
The onslaught of unregulated new CBD products hitting the market and making unconfirmed health claims prompted the FDA to host a public hearing Friday as it determines how it will approach regulating these products moving forward.
The FDA will accept written comments up until July 2, and the grocery industry, among many others, is urging for a swift and clear decision, given the confusion and high demand for the products.
At the hearing, Peter Matz, director, food and health policy for the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), pressed the “seriousness of the regulatory ambiguity facing our member companies and their customers each day as consumer demand for products containing hemp and hemp derivatives continues to grow.”
Matz pointed out that demand is high: A recent Consumer Reports survey found more than a quarter of Americans have tried CBD products, and one in seven use it every day. However, he pointed to “mass confusion in the marketplace” for the public, suppliers, retailers and even state regulators and law enforcement.
“FMI sees the regulatory challenges surrounding the legal and appropriate sale of hemp and hemp-derived products as a critically important policy issue,” he said. “And, given the prevalence of these products in the marketplace, we respectfully urge FDA to move swiftly to provide additional clarity and establish a pathway forward.”