The Food and Drug Administration is taking its initial step in determining on how to regulate CBD in food and drinks. The administration will hold its first public hearing on May 31 in Washington, D.C.
“This is a complicated topic and we expect that it could take some time to resolve fully,” said outgoing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a statement. “Nevertheless, we’re deeply focused on this issue and committed to continuing to engage relevant stakeholders as we consider potential paths forward.
Despite the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing the production of hemp, the Food and Drug Commerce Act prohibits marketing CBD as a dietary supplement or in food that crosses state lines. The FDA regulations only cover interstate commerce, but state and federal regulations around CBD have routinely clashed with each other.
Blake Butler, Executive Director of the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission, aptly summed up the confusion in many states to INDYMonday: “North Carolina-produced CBD put into food products is not illegal…but there’s nothing to say that it’s legal.”
To tackle the problem, Gottlieb has tasked Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernethy and Principal Associate Commissioner for Policy Lowell Schiller with co-chairing a working group to evaluate this issue. They will present their findings as early as this summer.
“It’s critical that we address these unanswered questions about CBD and other cannabis and cannabis-derived products to help inform the FDA’s regulatory oversight of these products — especially as the agency considers whether it could be appropriate to exercise its authority to allow the use of CBD in dietary supplements and other foods.”
Several cities and states have recently announced bans on CBD-infused food and beverages being sold at restaurants and bars. New York City’s Department of Health has ordered at least 11 restaurants to stop using CBD as an additive and announced plans beginning this summer to fine establishments who violate this rule. California health officials also announced last fall that CBD could not be added to food or drinks, while Ohio and Maine have also instituted similar bans.