February 27, 2019

“Alternative Approaches” to CBD from the FDA?

U.S. Hemp Roundtable

Crystal City, Virginia was the center of the hemp universe Tuesday, as state agriculture leaders gathered for a special meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). Featured on NASDA’s agenda was a speech by the Roundtable’s own General Counsel, Jonathan Miller, who shared the industry’s goals for the permanent legalization of hemp and hemp products such as CBD, in all fifty states. But far more important (sorry Jonathan!) was the presence of the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Scott Gottlieb.

This was Gottlieb’s first speech on hemp since the release of his December 20 statement, which for the first time discussed a regulatory path for the full recognition of CBD as a food additive or dietary supplement. While the FDA promised public outreach and meetings, the agency had been silent since, not even answering letters sent by U.S. Congressmen. Gottlieb assured anxious state officials that the agency is “planning to engage,” while admitting the full regulatory process could take time. But then Gottlieb offered something new:

“So we’re also interested in hearing from stakeholders and talking to Congress on possible alternative approaches; to make sure that we have an appropriately efficient and predictable regulatory framework for regulating CBD products.”

What are these alternative approaches? Roundtable counsel will be meeting with our friends in Congress to consider.

Here’s our current position on CBD. When will the FDA discussions take place? Still unknown.

Hemp champion Ryan Quarles, Kentucky’s Commissioner of Agriculture, pressed FDA officials for a timeline, but none was forthcoming. (Here’s a Facebook Live the Roundtable conducted with Commissioner Quarles after the meeting.) But it is clear that FDA is feeling the public pressure. “Since we put out that statement, since the farm bill passed, this is one of the top issues I’m being asked during my visits on Capitol Hill,” Gottlieb told reporters.

Let’s keep the pressure on – contact your Senators and Congressmen today and let them know you want a clear path to clear legal recognition of all hemp products, including CBD.