No clarity on CBD from U.S. hearings

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American Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from the U.S. State of Vermont, got the topic of CBD into the confirmation hearings for federal Attorney General designee Jeff Sessions (Republican Senator of Alabama) this week but failed to press the point. Which was probably worse than not asking him about CBD at all.

After observing the contradiction between federal laws that prohibit marijuana and many states which have legalized pot in various forms; after noting that medical marijuana and hemp-derived CBD is widely used among consumers for a range of maladies, Leahy asked Sessions: “Would you use our federal resources to investigate and prosecute sick people using marijuana in accordance to their state laws even though it might violate federal laws?”

No commitment

Drawled Sessions: “I won’t commit to never enforcing federal law. But absolutely it’s a problem of resources for the federal government. The Justice Department under (Obama-era Attorneys General) (Loretta) Lynch and (Eric) Holder settled on some policies they thought were appropriate to define what cases should be prosecuted in states that have legalized, at least in some fashion, some parts of marijuana.”

Leahy: “Do you agree with those guidelines?”

Sessions: “Some of them are truly valuable in evaluating cases but the fundamental criticism (of the Holder/Lynch policies) I think was legitimate is that they may not have been followed. Using good judgment about how to handle these cases will be a responsibility of mine. I know it won’t be an easy decision but i will try to do my duty in a fair and just way.”

The questioning then segued gently into matters regarding the death penalty, heightening the confusion and thereby the anxiety of any medical MJ and CBD stakeholders that might have been paying attention.


The banal exchange comes less than six months after the U.S. CBD market was thrown into confusion by a joint statement from U.S. federal authorities that aimed to “clarify” hemp’s status in light of a previously issued Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) statement regarding how cannabis is treated at the federal level — particularly medical cannabis derived from high-THC marijuana — or cannabis indica. That statement left CBD in limbo, where it’s now sure to remain — thereby rattling CBD players — for the near future. 

In other questioning, Utah Senator Mike Lee (Republican), asked Sessions generally about state vs. federal cannabis laws, to which Sessions vaguely, and ominously, replied:

“One obvious concern is that the United States Congress made the possession of marijuana in every state, and the distribution of it, an illegal act. If that’s something that’s not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change the rule.”

He “gave a wishy-washy non-answer that provides little comfort to medical marijuana patients, state officials, and others,” Bill Piper, senior director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s office of national affairs, later told reporters in a conference call, reported

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