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A group of federal lawmakers last week introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation aimed at updating federal hemp rules to ensure hemp-derived CBD products are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) like other legal products used in dietary supplements, foods, and beverages.  

In a press release, the lawmakers – Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) – said the Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act “is essential to protecting consumer safety and treating hemp producers fairly.” 

“For half a decade now, legal hemp-derived CBD products have been available to consumers across the country. Yet, these products lack common-sense safety regulations to keep consumers safe and support manufactures. It’s past time for Congress to act without reverting back to the misguided criminalization of hemp.” — Blumenauer in a statement 

The legislation would give hemp-derived CBD products an opportunity to lawfully be used in dietary supplements, foods, and beverages under the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act; prioritize consumer safety, requiring manufacturers to comply with all existing federal regulations for the products that contain CBD; and ensure that these products are properly labeled. 

The lawmakers noted that the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act prohibits any new dietary ingredient, food, or beverage from entering the market if it hasn’t been studied or approved as a drug. The FDA has the authority to exempt items from this prohibition, but has yet to exempt hemp-derived CBD, despite congressional action to legalize its production and sale. By exempting hemp-derived CBD from the prohibition, the FDA would be permitted to regulate hemp-derived CBD like all other new dietary ingredients, foods, and beverages. 

In a statement, Jonathan Miller, general counsel of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, said the measure “provides a much needed pathway for FDA to establish a clear and consistent framework for the production, marketing, and sale of hemp-derived CBD to ensure consumer safety while fostering a thriving, regulated market.”  

In January the FDA announced that that it does not plan to issue implementing regulations following the legalization of hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill. Instead, the agency said it would “work with Congress” on a regulatory pathway for CBD. 

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