A U.S. congressional committee is scheduled to talk hemp this week as lawmakers presumably will increase pressure on the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to establish guardrails to safely guide the CBD market.
A hearing set for 2 p.m. Thursday will look at “Hemp in the Modern World: The Yearslong Wait for FDA Action.” The session, of the House Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services, is open to the public and may be viewed online.
The oversight committee, chaired by Kentucky Republican Rep. James Comer, is investigating the FDA’s failure to regulate hemp-derived CBD products as dietary supplements.
Lawmakers and the FDA have danced around CBD for nearly five years, with Congress repeatedly calling on the agency to set rules for the unregulated products, which emerged beginning late last decade and grew into a flourishing gray market.
“We are going to investigate why exactly the FDA has decided to ignore their regulation responsibilities related to CBD and other areas of jurisdiction,” said Rep. Lisa McClain, a Michigan Republican who serves on the committee.
“Without these regulations, dangerous products could make their way to the shelves while safe and credible CBD products could be prevented from entering the market,” McClain said.
Dealing with delta-8
The session is also likely to address FDA’s failure to reign in synthetic delta-8 THC, a psychoactive compound made from CBD. Delta-8 products have massively proliferated across the U.S. over the past three years, raising additional health concerns.
Stakeholders have long called on the FDA to clarify CBD’s status. But the agency has been slow to move, focusing instead on enforcement and issuing warnings to CBD makers.
FDA finally declared in January that existing federal safety standards are insufficient to manage the industry, and called on Congress to set rules for the products through legislation. FDA simultaneously released a set of non-binding recommendations for CBD.
CBD stakeholders have repeatedly pushed back, arguing that existing regulatory pathways for dietary supplements and foods, and related rules regarding manufacturing, labeling, and marketing of such products are sufficient for guiding the sector.
FDA currently recognizes CBD as a drug, technically barring it from use in foods or being marketed as a dietary supplement.
Listed as witnesses for the session are Jonathan Miller, General Counsel for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable; Rayetta Henderson, Senior Managing Scientist, ToxStrategies, LLC; and Richard A. Badaracco, President-Elect of the Kentucky Narcotic Officers Association who is also a retired Assistant Special Agent at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.