January 16, 2020
Author: Rod Kight
The hemp industry has been abuzz about the introduction of a new bill regarding cannabidiol (CBD). I do not generally comment on pending federal cannabis-related legislation since it rarely gets passed and the end product is often much different from the original bill. However, given the interest and confusion generated by this bill I think it is important to summarize its salient points.
A copy of the bill as introduced is below and information about it can be viewed and tracked by clicking here.
Here’s what we know about the new CBD bill:
Title: “H.R.5587 – To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the regulation of hemp-derived cannabidiol and hemp-derived cannabidiol containing substances.”
Introduced: January 13, 2020 by Collin Peterson (D-MN)
Sponsorship: The bill is sponsored by both Democratic and Republican House members. As of this writing, the co-sponsors are James Comer (R-KY), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Thomas Massey (R-KY).
Primary effect: If passed, the bill’s primary effect will be to allow hemp-derived CBD and substances containing it to be marketed as dietary supplements and to allow CBD and CBD substances in food.
Other effects: The bill contains a requirement that the USDA conduct research on “the market and regulatory barriers for producers operating under the domestic hemp production program” and to deliver a report after a year that details its findings. There are some important requirements for conducting the study that are described in this portion of the bill, including, “the costs and requirements for the destruction of hemp crops determined to be in excess of 0.3 percent delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or opportunities for remediation or alternative uses[.]” That last bit about remediation is a crucial issue for farmers and processors since outright destruction of all hemp with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentrations exceeding 0.3% creates a huge, zero-sum risk for farmers and a missed opportunity for processors.
By removing much of the remaining “grey area” regarding hemp and CBD in consumer products, enactment of this bill into law would be a game-changer. In particular, it would signal the entrance of large corporate conglomerates into the market. These corporate interests have mostly been unable to enter due to the FDA’s prohibitions on marketing CBD as a dietary supplement and using it in food. (We have seen large corporate interests get involved with CBD cosmetic products since they are not prohibited by the FDA. I discuss that issue in more detail here.) This entry into the CBD market by large corporate interests will be very good for some, and very bad for others.
All of this being said, we do not know if the bill will, in fact, become law. It will almost certainly pass the House; however, passage in the Senate is far from a foregone conclusion. The Senate is much more conservative and has shown an unwillingness to pass, or even consider, most cannabis-related bills. Additionally, the pharmaceutical industry will likely be lobbying hard against its passage. Finally, the Senate will be consumed with the impeachment trial in the near-term and so this bill will not likely receive the attention it deserves, at least in the near-term.
You can be sure that we will be watching the bill and keeping you updated if it is passed. If you have any questions about hemp and CBD then contact the hemp lawyers at Kight Law by clicking here. We advise clients in the hemp and CBD industry every day.
January 16, 2020
Rod Kight is an international cannabis and hemp attorney. He speaks at cannabis conferences across the country, drafts and presents cannabis legislation to foreign governments, is regularly quoted on cannabis matters in the media, and maintains the Kight on Cannabis legal blog, where he discusses legal issues affecting the cannabis industry. You can contact him here.