As we say goodbye to the year 2018, we enter 2019 looking at the CBD industry’s new opportunities, along with the challenges the industry continues to face.
But first, a look back at last year’s most significant milestones for hemp and CBD.
In June, the FDA approved Epidiolex for the treatment of Dravet syndrome and Lennox–Gastaut syndrome. This potent CBD product is the first plant-derived cannabinoid drug to attain FDA approval. But it’s not likely to be the last.
Because the FDA approved the medication, the DEA rescheduled some cannabidiol products in September. Previously, the agency listed all cannabis extracts as Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with no medical application and a high potential for abuse. The DEA now categorizes any cannabidiol product that has FDA approval (for now, that means Epidiolex alone) as Schedule V.
And in the most recent blockbuster news for hemp-derived CBD, the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law in December. The bill redefines the word “hemp” in federal law to include hemp-derived products, including cannabinoids like CBD. And it explicitly removes hemp from the Controlled Substances list.
But the industry faces uncertainty as the USDA and FDA claim their new authority over hemp and hemp-derived CBD. And individual states have shown wildly different approaches to CBD.
Read on to learn more about the state of CBD in the new year.
Farmers in Wisconsin are frustrated with the banking industry’s hesitation to help finance hemp agriculture. As Madison’s Channel 3000 reports, some farmers paid out of pocket in 2018 to finance the state’s first industrial hemp crop since the 1950s.
And while financial support may be key to growing the industry, a recent survey found that the vast majority of bankers weren’t interested in providing loans to the industrial hemp industry.
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While many states already have industrial hemp laws in place, Iowa is working with a blank slate. And farmers and entrepreneurs are hoping that their state will implement hemp regulations that will allow them to benefit from the CBD and hemp boom.
But Iowa’s strict medical marijuana law (which only allows high-CBD, low-THC products) may prove to be an obstacle to that vision.
The Des Moines Register reports that the state’s attorney general and state agriculture officials will meet in January to talk about how the farm bill’s hemp provisions will impact Iowans.
With the increasing popularity of hemp-derived CBD, safety concerns are taking center stage.
A new organization, the US Hemp Authority, aims to address these concerns. Hemp Industry Daily caught up with Marielle Weintraub, the organization’s president, to learn more about the need for standards and strategies for CBD and other cannabinoids.
The owner of the Bellevue, Nebraska franchise of CBD American Shaman, a CBD retailer, received a cease and desist order from local law enforcement.
Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov says that he’s enforcing the state’s drug laws, but American Shaman CBD’s attorney, Sean Pickett, says that the state Attorney General opinion on the Nebraska law is flawed. The company plans to challenge any actions taken against the store.
Last February, authorities targeted 23 stores in Rutherford County, Tennessee for selling CBD products. The stores were closed and 21 people were indicted for selling a controlled substance. But when investigators were unable to determine whether the CBD in the products was derived from hemp or marijuana, all of the charges were dropped.
Now, a group of 17 of the store owners have filed a lawsuit, saying that law enforcement targeted them because of their Egyptian heritage. To support this claim, their complaint references prosecutor John Zimmerman stating that “all the people selling CBD in Rutherford County are foreigners.”
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