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Idaho bans CBD, other hemp products for animals, saying they’re ‘adulterated’

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A ban on the sale of CBD and other hemp-derived products intended for pets and farm animals will go into effect Nov. 1 in Idaho after the state’s Department of Agriculture determined they are illegal.

“These products are considered adulterated. They’re considered that way at the federal level and the state level,” Chanel Tewalt, the agency’s deputy director, told Boise TV station KBOI.

Under the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, products intended to treat a disease or which have a therapeutic or medical application, or any non-food product that affects the structure or function of the human or animal body is considered a drug.

The Idaho policy taking effect next month was first published in July. It says: “Idaho law does not recognize hemp as a feed or remedy ingredient. Safe levels of hemp and hemp-derived products in animal feed have not yet been established under federal or state law.

“As such, these products are not approved feed ingredients and cannot lawfully be added to or incorporated into commercial feed. This includes feeds, treats and remedies intended for pets, livestock, or any other animal.”

No safety standards

The animal feed industry, feed regulators and animal health officials have pushed for more research on hemp products in order to develop uniform regulations. In February this year, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), the American Veterinary Medical Association, and 15 other animal health and feed industry groups co-authored a joint open letter addressing health concerns regarding hemp in animal feeds and pet food, and threats to the human food chain from farm animals consuming unproven products.

AAFCO said that while it understands the importance of supporting the hemp industry, “we also believe it is simply too soon to know whether hemp is safe for farm and ranch animals, as well as for our pets.”

AAFCO said instead of initiating statutory or administrative approval of hemp in animal feed at the state level, it recommends “state leaders and proponents of hemp in feed work through the defined regulatory pathways used for every animal feed ingredient.” The Association suggested states should concentrate their efforts on research.

FDA warnings

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued warnings to four companies that make CBD products for animals in May, citing safety concerns and ordering them to halt marketing. No companies from Idaho were sanctioned by the drug agency.

The FDA has said a lack of research means curative claims made regarding the use of CBD in animals are unproven. The agency warned against animal owners supplanting veterinary care and instead administering the compound. As with AAFCO, the FDA has said it is also concerned about CBD entering the consumer food supply through farm animals.

Customers confused

Jennifer Willett, the owner of Bark N’ Purr, a Boise pet store, told KBOI the Idaho policy on CBD for animals has confused her customers.

“We have had people in the store crying. We have had testimonials on social media. We have had phone calls. Just people saying what do I do now?” Willett said.

Stakeholders worry that the ban will have a reverse effect on the market. “There’s going to be unscrupulous suppliers of this who don’t know how to dose, who could have THC in their products, or they (pet owners) have to move to a really expensive prescription medication,” Willett said.

Supporters of CBD products for animals in Idaho say they have asked the governor to pause the ban, and will hold a protest rally in Boise Sept. 24.

Under Idaho Office of Drug Policy rules, CBD is legal for human consumption if it is derived from hemp and contains no THC – a rare requirement because delta-9 and other forms of THC are present in at least trace amounts in almost all CBD products. Nonetheless, as in other states, a gray market for CBD has developed in Idaho.

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