President Signs Bill Re-Legalizing Hemp, FDA Announces They Will Take Enforcement Action Against Food Products With Hemp CBD In Them

December 21, 2018

President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill yesterday to allow hemp commerce, and soon after the Federal Food and Drug Administration stated in a press release  https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm628988.htm  that the Farm Bill did not remove their authority to regulate cannabis derived products, and  they they will take their oversight responsibilities of regulating products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and section 351 of the Public Health Service Act (Title 21 Chapter 9 of the United States Code https://www.fda.gov/regulatoryinformation/lawsenforcedbyfda/federalfooddrugandcosmeticactfdcact/default.htm ) seriously.

In short, as we have been advising our clients for some time, do not make unsubstantiated claims of therapeutic benefits of products derived from hemp, such as CBD extracts. The FDA uses the same standard for “products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds as we do any other FDA-regulated products — meaning they’re subject to the same authorities and requirements as FDA-regulated products containing any other substance.”  The FDA has sent warning letters in the past to companies illegally selling CBD products that claimed to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure serious diseases.

Further, while state laws allow for food to be sold that contains CBD or THC, it is unlawful under the FD&C Act to introduce such food into interstate commerce.

However, the FDA also stated that food products containing or made from hulled hemp seeds, hemp seed protein and hemp seed oil are legal, as they do not contain THC or CBD.  They have issued a “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) notice on this, in response to a manufacture’s request. https://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm628910.htm

The FDA will hold a public meeting in the future for the hemp industry and their supporters to discuss how to market hemp products, including CBD products in the future.  As the FDA is committed to ensuring the public safety, it is important that the industry demand strong state laws that govern the production and processing of hemp and hemp products.  If a state does not have laws and rules around hemp that protects the public, the FDA may not allow that state’s products into interstate commerce.