Each cannabinoid product needs to be evaluated fairly based on science

There are several competing opinions and assertations, including by industry lobby groups, that any cannabinoid product deemed an ‘intoxicant’ is a threat to public health. This has given the NHA Board pause to review our position and approach to this segment of the industry.

There is a certain level of irony that other groups, who all but exclusively lobby for open commercialization of CBD extract, have recently stated that some extracts are not legal and pose a public health risk. This is the exact message FDA has been expressing in the dozens of warning letters they’ve issued about all cannabinoids, including CBD, since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.

NHA understands that it was never the intent of the 116th Congress to legalize components of hemp for intoxicants. In fact, we forcibly argued that hemp was not a gateway “drug”.  However, we also acknowledge that the language in the 2018 Hemp Farming Act included “extracts”, “all parts of the plant” and “naturally occurring”, which some have used to develop new products, including intoxicants.

The proposal that CBD be allowed in food and beverages would make it nearly impossible for consumers to track how much they are consuming. This could potentially pose an equivalent health and safety risk as someone that intentionally consumes an intoxicating cannabinoid. Many over-the-counter products, including cold medicine and tobacco products, have age restrictions which require ID to purchase so the mechanism to restrict purchase by minors is already in place. The real public health risk is not in the cannabinoid itself, whether intoxicating or not, it is in the lack of regulation.

The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 did not amend the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act therefore retaining oversight of all things consumed or applied topically by humans with the FDA.

We should continue our efforts to have FDA create a fair and reasonable regulatory framework for all hemp products. Continuing to educate our membership of what we know are the challenges and pathways to those regulations is a top priority. We are always open to learning from our members how to best put their interests before the FDA.

As NHA will continue to do for grain and animal feed, we need to continue to encourage FDA to act quickly.  State legislation and regulations are creating a patchwork that is not helpful to either our members or consumers. The FDA is the final say as to what is and what is not safe and how it should be regulated. The industry is not the arbiter here but can provide data and resources to help FDA create a regulatory framework that both protects the consumer and the industry.

There will no doubt be dozens of new cannabinoid products developed over the years. Our role is to support our membership as they develop products from hemp to bring to the marketplace. Additionally, we will continue to educate government agencies and promote investment in scientific research.

NHA has reiterated this position due to the recent demonization of certain cannabinoids derived from hemp which are considered intoxicants. Each cannabinoid product needs to be evaluated individually, fairly and scientifically based upon its safety profile.