Proposed Hemp Bill Aims to Federally Regulate CBD Products

December 7, 2021


A bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to establish federal standards for the CBD market that has blossomed in recent years.

U.S. House Reps. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Angie Craig (D-MN) and Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) introduced a bill last week that they say will help set standards for CBD-based food and beverage products “to protect consumers and provide marketplace stability for farmers, producers and retailers.”

The bill, called the “CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act of 2021,” “will establish the clear regulatory framework needed to provide stability for business and ensure unsafe products stay off the shelves,” Rice said in a statement.

The legislation “would allow [the Food and Drug Administration] to regulate CBD as it would any other food ingredient and subject these products to enforceable safeguards to ensure Accountability,” a press release explained, while also charging the agency “with establishing CBD content limits and packaging and labeling requirements and determining in which categories of food CBD is appropriate for use.”

“This bill will help distinguish responsible players from bad actors that ignore federal requirements for quality, manufacturing, labeling and claims, and it will bring safety and clarity to the market,” the press release said. 

The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp and its derivatives from the list of federal controlled substances, clearing the way for states to pass their own laws governing its cultivation. In April, with Idaho’s passage of its own measure, all 50 states had legalized industrial hemp. Market research data released last week found that “industrial hemp accounted for USD 3.91 billion in 2020.”

The data from Brandessence Market Research found that the industry’s projections “are on a promising trajectory to grow at promising 16.27 percent CAGR during 2021-2027 period.”

“The legalization of marijuana in 18 states in the United States has increased the promise of already robust growth of the hemp market. At its peak, industrial hemp fetched $45 to $50 per pound in 2018,” Brandessence said in its report. 

“The COVID-19 crisis has had a negative impact on industrial hemp with a slowdown in demand. The United States Agriculture Department (USDA) estimates farmers can produce as much as two to 12 ton dry-stem yields per acre. Similar estimates are projected in Europe, where farmers produce 3.6 to 8.7 ton per acre. The USDA also estimated that the variable, fixed and operator cost accounted for $286 per acre for hemp fibre, $233 for certified seed and $196 for seed. While these estimates are age-old, the promising new growth due to legalization of marijuana in 18 states is a promising new driver for growth of the industrial hemp market.”

But despite the industry’s growth, and the ubiquity of CBD-based products, there remains “a lack of clear federal standards in the CBD industry [that] has left businesses guessing and customers at risk,” Craig, the Democrat from Minnesota, said in a statement.

“It’s clear that this growing industry needs regulatory clarity in order to continue selling their products safely and effectively,” said Craig. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation to create enforceable safeguards and ensure accountability in the industry.”

The press release from congressmembers said that the “discrepancy between the Controlled Substances Act and FDA law has created a regulatory gray area in which CBD is widely available but unregulated—and considered illegal—by FDA.”

Griffith, the Virginia Republican, said that “demand for CBD products has surged, but Food and Drug Administration regulations do not reflect this new reality.”

“As a result, adulterated or unsafe products are available that threaten consumer health, and businesses lack clarity,” Griffith said. “The CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act would require the FDA to address the issue and ensure more certainty in the CBD marketplace. I’m pleased to join this bipartisan effort.”

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A new hemp bill would help federally control and regulate CBD, a substance that has largely been regulated in grey areas.
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