Last month, a bill that would make certain that CBD products derived from hemp fell under the domain of the FDA in the same way as other legalized products added to beverages, foods and dietary supplements, was introduced in the Senate. The legislation, dubbed the Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act, was tabled by Oregon senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
Wyden stated that CBD products were legally being produced and used across the country. However, because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hadn’t updated its regulations, producers and consumers remained in a gray zone. Wyden added that it had been more than two years since he’d collaborated with his colleagues to call for Congress to legalize products obtained from hemp as well as hemp itself. He noted that the time had come for the federal regulator to update its regulations, for the good of farmers and consumers in America.
Earlier in 2018, the U.S. Congress approved the Agriculture Improvement Act, which removed industrial hemp from the first Schedule of the CSA, where it had been classified. This led to the legalization of the sale and production of hemp derivatives and industrial hemp, including cannabidiol (“CBD”). Despite this move, the FDA still outlaws any new beverage, food or dietary ingredient from being traded across state borders if it had ever been approved or studied as a drug, which is the case for CBD.
Epidiolex is the only drug approved by the FDA for treating seizures linked to Lenox-Gastaut syndrome, which had CBD in a highly purified form. While the FDA possesses the mandate to exempt any substance from prohibition, it has claimed that it has a limited grasp of CBD’s safety profile, as well as other compounds derived from cannabis. Thus far, the only move made by the agency with respect to CBD is conveying warming letters to firms that make therapeutic claims about the substance.
The sponsors of this hemp access legislation are hopeful that another bill of Congress may pave a path for the legal use of CBD in beverages, supplements and food. Paul notes that this latest bill will direct the agency to regulate all hemp products adequately, which provides relief to merchants, processors and farmers. On the other hand, Merkley asserts that the bill will allow for the issuance of clear guidelines for CBD products obtained from hemp.
The sponsors add that the legislation will also place emphasis on consumer safety as it will require manufacturers to adhere to the existing federal laws for products that contain CBD.
Once this legislation is enacted, players in the CBD space such as The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (CSE: WTER) will have more clear regulations to guide them, and the sector could thrive as a result.
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