Jul 27, 2023
Bicameral legislation to update regulations to ensure equal and safe access to hemp-derived CBD products

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; and U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore. reintroduced legislation 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 — an action that is essential to protecting consumer safety and treating hemp producers fairly. Wyden, Paul, Merkley and Blumenauer’s Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act is especially important following the January announcement by the FDA that it does not plan to issue implementing regulations following the legalization of hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill, and has instead kicked the matter back to Congress.

Currently, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act prohibits any new dietary ingredient, food, or beverage from entering the market if it has 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 Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act will allow FDA to regulate hemp-derived CBD like all other new dietary ingredients, foods, and beverages.

“Despite being legally grown in the United States for nearly five years, hemp and hemp-derived CBD are still in a regulatory gray zone that puts consumers at risk and holds producers back,” Wyden said. “The FDA says it needs Congress to act. We’ve got the bill to ensure equal and safe access to hemp-derived CBD.”

“Hemp-derived CBD products and businesses have earned their recognition in the marketplace, but the FDA, unfortunately, hasn’t treated them like any other food additive or dietary supplement,” Paul said. “The Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act directs the FDA to regulate hemp products properly and provides a huge relief to hemp farmers, processors, and merchants.”

“Our hemp farmers need updated CBD regulations to thrive—FDA get it done!” said Merkley.

“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,” said Blumenauer. “It’s past time for Congress to act without reverting back to the misguided criminalization of hemp.”

The Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act 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.

A summary of the bill can be found here.

Bill text can be found here.

The bill is endorsed by U.S. Hemp Roundtable, Oregon Farm Bureau, Wine and Spirits Wholesalers Association (WSWA), Vote Hemp, We Are For Better Alternatives (WAFBA), American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), Hemp Industries Association (HIA), National Hemp Growers Association, Realm of Caring, U.S. Hemp Authority (USHA), Veterinary, Cannabis Society, Midwest Hemp Council, Colorado Hemp Association, Kentucky Hemp Association, Georgia Hemp Association, iHemp Michigan, and the Virginia Hemp Coalition.

Jonathan Miller, general counsel of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable said, “We commend Senator Ron Wyden for re-introducing the Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act, a crucial piece of legislation that addresses the pressing need for FDA regulation of CBD. This bill 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. We look forward to supporting his efforts and appreciate his longtime commitment to unlocking the full potential of the hemp industry.”

Michael McGuffin, president, American Herbal Products Association said, “The leadership of Senators Wyden, Paul, and Merkley in resolving this matter is greatly appreciated. Americans deserve to have assurances that the hemp and CBD products they include in their food and dietary supplement choices are properly regulated. AHPA supports this legislation since it would clarify the lawful pathways for bringing such products to market.”

Courtney N. Moran, LL.M., Agricultural Hemp Solutions said, “We are grateful for the continued leadership and bipartisan support by Senators Wyden, Merkley, and Paul for cannabinoid hemp. The re-introduction of the Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act keeps potential pathways for cannabinoid regulation within existing FDA authority open while encouraging more detailed dialogue between Congress, FDA, and industry stakeholders to find the best option for a comprehensive regulatory framework that balances consumer safety and industry market access.”

Katie Moyer, president, Kentucky Hemp Association said, “The Kentucky Hemp Association stands with Senator Wyden on this much-needed change. It’s important that the FDA allows hemp-derived cannabinoids like CBD to be used as a food and beverage ingredients because it’s a major step in bringing these hemp products into the mainstream. On behalf of Kentucky farmers and hemp stakeholders, we are grateful for the Senator’s consistent leadership on hemp legalization and reform.”

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