WASHINGTON, D.C.- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is examining potential “pathways” for legalizing the sale of CBD and other cannabis products across state lines.
The FDA’s announcement comes only days after the new farm bill was signed into law by President Trump. The massive $867 billion bill regulates farming and agricultural industries and also removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. Federal authorities still retain the right to regulate hemp-based products.
The farm bill will also benefit CBD products. Many CBD products are derived from industrialized hemp, meaning they soon may be able to shipped from state to state so long as the products do not exceed .3% THC.
“We recognize the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds could offer and acknowledge the significant interest in these possibilities,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. “We’re committed to pursuing an efficient regulatory framework for allowing product developers that meet the requirements under our authorities to lawfully market these types of products.”
Until the new regulations officially take effect, the FDA will continue strict enforcement of all cannabis products. However, Gottlieb may be signaling a willingness on the part of the FDA to consider further changes to cannabis law.
“While products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds remain subject to the FDA’s authorities and requirements, there are pathways available for those who seek to lawfully introduce these products into interstate commerce,” Gottlieb said. “The FDA will continue to take steps to make the pathways for the lawful marketing of these products more efficient.”
Cannabis advocates have been arguing for years that CBD, which, unlike THC, produces no psychedelic effect, should be legal and available to all adults. Many in the cannabis industry were pleased with both the farm bill’s passage as well as Gottlieb’s comments.
“This willingness by the FDA to start looking at CBD reflects a growing chorus of consumers and businesses asking for clarity on its legality and more research on its potential uses,” Morgan Fox, Media Relations Director at NCIA, a national cannabis trade association told mg. “Coming so soon after the signing of the Farm Bill allowing state production programs for hemp and hemp-derived products is a sign we are heading in the right direction.”
So far, it is unclear what new “pathways” will be created and exactly when they will take effect. Additionally, the FDA has provided little insight as to what CBD producers would have to do to sell their products legally and if it would differ from any other FDA regulated drug or supplement.
Although the FDA’s statements have generally been well received, there are some in the cannabis industry with reservations.
“While we hope for the best outcome with the signing of the farm bill, we have concerns which this statement highlights,” Jason Warf, Executive Director of the Southern Colorado Cannabis Council told mg. We have concerns that companies, like GW are working with the Federal government to exclude other interests from the CBD market.”