This Week in CBD: June 7, 2019
If you keep your ear to the ground for CBD news, you probably heard about last Friday’s FDA hearing on CBD.
The hearing, titled “Scientific Data and Information About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-Derived Compounds” gave over a hundred speakers the opportunity to air their thoughts on the future of CBD regulation.
The upshot? Many speakers agreed on the need for better testing, research, product labeling, and dosing guidance.
Dr. Amy Abernethy, the FDA’s Acting Commissioner tweeted on Friday, “We will work as quickly as possible to define a way forward. Appreciate a speaker’s observation: ‘You guys have a tough job. Good luck with that.’ Indeed.”
The hearing highlighted the complexity of formulating a regulatory framework, causing cannabis stocks to take a hit as investors took in the reports from the hearing.
In North Carolina on Wednesday, a bill passed the Senate Agricultural Committee that would both expand the state’s pilot hemp farming program and eventually impose a ban on smokable hemp.
The ban was proposed by the State Bureau of Investigation, due to the difficulty for law enforcement officers of distinguishing between marijuana and smokable hemp. In April, a woman was arrested in the state and charged with marijuana possession, though she claims she was smoking hemp for anxiety and pain.
In response to the complaints of farmers, lawmakers agreed to delay the ban until December 2020. The reprieve is meant to give them time to sort out a way to regulate the growing hemp industry. Farmers are hoping that by that time, the industry will have developed equipment that will help officers ascertain THC levels.
Layn Corp, a Chinese company that has won global acclaim for their plant-based sweeteners, announced this week that it is investing in the American CBD industry. The company, which has expertise in botanical extraction technology, plans to invest around $60 million in a facility that will be capable of processing 5000 tons (minimum) of hemp per year into CBD products.
The company has already contracted with farmers, half of which are organic certified, and plans to build a facility somewhere in the Midwest by late 2020. And in the long term, they’re not just interested in CBD. According to Layne USA president, Elaine Yu, “Now it’s all about CBD, but more than 100 cannabinoids have been identified.”
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On Monday, Louisiana lawmakers voted to legalize hemp cultivation as well as the sale of some CBD products. The bill, which lays out a tightly regulated hemp program and distinguishes CBD from marijuana, will now go to the governor’s desk for signing.
The legislation was heavily re-written in the Senate. It includes a ban on selling CBD in beverages unless the FDA explicitly approves its use as a food additive. Any CBD products being sold in the state will also have to meet labeling requirements and be extracted from hemp grown under a state hemp program.
The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe in South Dakota is suing the US Department of Agriculture for its delay in processing the tribe’s application to grow hemp in 2019.
Ben Fenner, the tribal attorney, argued in Federal Court this week that under the 2018 Farm Bill, states and tribes may present plans for hemp cultivation to the USDA. The agency then has up to 60 days to approve or reject the plans.
But the USDA has delayed the process until federal regulations are solidified, stating that rules would be in place by the fall of 2019. The lawsuit argues that the delay “curtails tribal revenue” and that the courts should force the USDA to make a decision on the tribe’s hemp program within the 60 days stated in the Farm Bill.
More than a year after authorizing hemp cultivation, Alaska has revealed proposed regulations that would reward farmers for using certified-seed varieties that contain lower levels of THC.
The draft of regulations proposes that farmers using non-certified seeds would pay a testing fee of $1200, rather than the $200 testing fee for certified seed varieties.
In April 2018, Governor Bill Walker signed a law allowing hemp production in Alaska. But due to the state’s delay in proposing regulations, farmers have not yet been able to plant the crop.
And finally, in case you missed it, this is Hemp History Week. An initiative of the Hemp Industries Association, this week marked the 10th anniversary of the event with the theme “Return of the Plant!”
Events will be taking place nationwide to “educate, activate, and celebrate.” There’s even a theme song – with a music video!