Prioritize Consumer Safety: Our response to a Congressional Request for Information on Federal Cannabinoid Hemp Regulation
Posted byon August 22, 2023
Last week, Americans for Safe Access responded to a bicameral Congressional Request for Information on cannabinoid hemp regulation from the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce and the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
In January 2023, FDA announced that it would like to work with Congress to craft a legislative approach to the regulation of CBD products. In July, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr., (D-NJ), along with Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ranking Member Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), announced a bicameral Request for Information (RFI) regarding Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of CBD.
The purpose of the Request for Information was to assess “the potential for a regulatory pathway for hemp-derived CBD products that prioritizes consumer safety and provides certainty to the U.S. market.”
The request asked “subject matter experts and stakeholders” to provide them with information on “concerns FDA has raised with regard to regulating most CBD products through existing pathways”, how the “absence of federal regulation over CBD created a market for intoxicating, synthetically-produced compounds” and how Congress should “consider federal preemption as it works towards a regulatory pathway” just to name a few.
ASA’s response highlights the need for a comprehensive federal regulatory approach that addresses all cannabinoid hemp products and forms. In our response, ASA notes “The federal prohibition of medical cannabis has led to a confusing set of laws and regulations across the U.S” and that by “only addressing CBD regulations, Congress will potentially be required to repeat this process a hundred times.”
ASA also pointed out that as Congress looks to regulate CBD for use for human and animal consumption, it is our view that a comprehensive approach should be taken that includes the creation of the Office of Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids Control (OMCCC) housed in HHS & the creation of new schedule for cannabis and cannabinoid products, Schedule VI overseen by OMCCC. This would allow Congress to create a definition of “hemp products” for the Farm Bill that would fit into existing regulations at the FDA and USDA.
These actions would address not only FDA’s inability to regulate CBD, but also the uncertainty facing businesses wanting to provide these various products to their respective markets, clarify that any substance not occurring naturally in commercial quantities would require an NDA before being sold to consumers, disparities in product safety protocols across the country and the ongoing conflict between state and federal medical cannabis laws.
ASA also offered the following resources for their consideration:
Right now congress is only looking at adult use and CBD regulatory pathways. ASA is asking for a comprehensive solution, one that prioritizes patients and consumer safety, rather than a piecemeal approach that will likely need to be adjusted in the future multiple times.
Urgent federal regulatory action is needed to protect consumer safety and public health in regulating the wide range of products available as “hemp” today. Your members of Congress need to hear from you that there is another way. You can help us by taking action now!
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