Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) met with U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner nominee, Dr. Stephen Hahn last week and discussed with the potential Trump Cabinet member the need for a regulatory framework for CBD.
“As Senate Majority Leader, I consistently work with my colleagues in the Trump administration to advance Kentucky’s priorities. Like many Kentuckians who are taking advantage of hemp’s legalization, I am eager for FDA’s plans to create certainty for CBD products.” – McConnell, in a statement
McConnell was a longtime proponent of hemp law reforms federally and, in 2018, President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill which included hemp legalization and its removal from the Controlled Substances Act.
Since the passage of the reforms, several states have signed legislation to legalize hemp cultivation, production, and manufacturing; however, the U.S. Department of Agriculture must approve those programs and a disconnect remains throughout the nation due to the patchwork of laws and no finalized policies at federal agencies such as the FDA and USDA.
In April, McConnell acknowledged the “glitches” in the Farm Bill – including the lack of basic banking services for the industry and the cases of hemp shipments being confused for THC-rich cannabis, leading to confiscation of the product and the arrest of transporters.
Since the passage of the Farm Bill, the USDA has taken several steps to treat hemp like other crops – in May it certified a hemp flower product as organic for the first time, in August it announced hemp qualifies for federal crop insurance, and in October it released draft rules for the hemp industry. Those rules are still pending public comments but, if approved, would be valid for two years.
In July, the FDA suggested their CBD regulations would be released by the end of summer or early fall but the agency has yet to announce or codify any plans.
The meeting between McConnell and Hahn primarily dealt with the “Tobacco-Free Youth Act” which could help keep vape products from children amid a nationwide spate of vape-related pulmonary illness. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control linked the illness to vitamin E acetate found in illegal cannabis vape products.