Congress has introduced a legislation
to compel the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) to approve cannabidiol (CBD) for use in dietary supplements.
House Resolution 841, also called the Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2021, was introduced by Democratic Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader and Republican Virginia Rep Morgan Griffith, with five Republican and 12 Democratic co-sponsors. The bill would simply make hemp subject to all the regulations as any other dietary supplement – subject to new dietary ingredient (NDI) filings, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and labeling and marketing provisions.
Under the bill, hemp's definition as a cannabis plant with less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive constituent of cannabis – would remain unchanged. The focus on THC also means that other cannabinoids and terpenes within hemp can also be approved for use in dietary supplements.
New bill will create an opportunity for hemp growers
For years, hemp farmers, small businesses and CBD consumers have been struggling due to the FDA's failure to legally recognize and regulate the sale of CBD and other hemp-derived products.
At the same time, multiple CBD products continue to be sold on the market. But some of these products have raised significant quality, safety and other consumer protection concerns.
Under H.R. 841, hemp-derived CBD and other non-THC hemp extract manufacturers would be required to comply with the existing comprehensive regulatory framework for dietary supplements. This would ensure that the products are properly labeled, deemed safe and prepared using GMP.
The bill's passage would also help stabilize the hemp market and possibly open up a promising economic opportunity for hemp growers. (Related: CBD is proving to be an effective natural treatment for depression
"It provides the category and all of us that play in that field a legitimate entry point into the mainstream marketplaces that have kept us at bay for years now," stated Josh Hendrix, chief growth officer at Driftless Extracts and Workman’s Relief. "This is a step in the right direction for sure. It's certainly not the final piece of the puzzle but a very important first step for those that are making quality products."
Julia Gustafson, vice president of government relations for supplements trade group the Council for Responsible Nutrition, hopes that this bill would shift the FDA's thinking around hemp and hemp CBD and get safer products out to market.
"Due to continued FDA inaction, more consumers are at risk every day of unsafe or illegal products that are poorly manufactured, incorrectly labeled, or illegally deliver THC or other adulterants," said Gustafson. "Concurrently, responsible CBD companies that adhere to federal regulations and product and market safe and beneficial CBD dietary supplements are forced to share the shelf with disreputable companies that compromise public safety for profit."
Industry lauds bill sponsors and calls on FDA to help expedite it
In Congress, concern still remains about whether or not H.R. 841 would be passed. But the sponsors of the bill were lauded by prominent figures in the industry.
"Reps. Schrader and Griffith have shown true leadership on this issue, and we anticipate support continuing to build as it progresses through Congress,” said Jonathan Miller, general counsel for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable “The organizations working collectively to establish a trusted marketplace for ingestible hemp-derived ingredients applaud the bipartisan approach on this legislation."
In a press release
, the U.S. Roundtable and 18 other groups representing hemp and supplements lamented the "regulatory uncertainty" surrounding the use of hemp and hemp-derived CBD in supplements.
Meanwhile, Gustafson has called on the FDA to engage with the bill's sponsors to address any reservations it may have with it to "help craft a legislation that protects public health while fostering a new category of supplements."
On the other hand, Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association, emphasized the need for the legislation to make sure that consumers could get safe CBD products.
"This legislation will fill those gaps, and we see it as important for ensuring that consumers will be able to find hemp and CBD products that are clearly subject to FDA’s enforcement of the robust regulations that apply to all other herbal supplements," he said.
for more on H.R. 841 and other legislations surrounding hemp and CBD.