INSIDER Law
Alabama AG 2019

AGs urge FDA to preserve states’ CBD regulatory role

In a letter to FDA's top official, a group of 37 state attorneys general suggested companies supplying CBD products, FDA and the states should all share in responsibility for protecting consumers.

A coalition of state attorneys general this week urged FDA to incorporate their feedback and guarantee “states maintain a role as regulators” in the burgeoning market for cannabis-derived compounds, including CBD.

“We write to express our hope that the FDA continues to explore manufacturing, testing and marketing best practices so that consumers are not at risk of misleading advertising or harm to their health from dangerous additives or undisclosed risks of use,” a group of 37 attorneys general (AGs) stated in a July 16 letter to Norman Sharpless, M.D., FDA’s Acting Commissioner.

As part of its oversight and regulation of cannabis-derived products, it’s critical FDA examine potential benefits and risks of the products, especially for such populations as adolescents, children, the elderly and pregnant women, the state officials wrote. FDA also should assess how the cannabis-derived products interact with other dietary or pharmaceutical products, the letter said, adding consumers should not be misled by companies.

Various cannabinoid products today, the letter suggested, are not subject to any oversight or testing requirements.

“The inherent complexity of cannabinoids, combined with the danger of hazardous additives,” the AGs wrote to Sharpless, “raises serious public health concerns that absent some rules or regulations, unscrupulous companies will be able to distribute products that include illegal cannabinoid combinations or have dangerous additives.”

The letter also expressed concerns over the potential for incorrect or misleading labels and packages, exploiting consumers and posing risks to them.

“Although many operational companies making cannabis and CBD products appropriately test, package, and label their products, some do not,” observed the AGs, who are responsible for enforcing their states’ consumer protection laws. “These products should be subject to testing and manufacturing guidelines in order to keep consumers appropriately informed and safe.”

The letter suggested companies supplying CBD products, FDA and the states should all share in responsibility for protecting consumers.

“We applaud the FDA’s recent steps,” the state officials wrote, “including the formation of the CBD working group focused on exploring pathways for dietary supplements and food regulation, seeking to clarify code citations, regulating cosmetics, and researching existing science and developments.”

The AGs further expressed appreciation for FDA’s willingness to consult with them concerning the regulation of cannabinoids and CBD products.

“We hope that the FDA will continue to recognize the important role that states play in this emerging market, and that the FDA will incorporate the ongoing feedback that state attorneys general provide,” the letter concluded.

The letter was signed by the state AGs of Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

“I urge the FDA to include state attorneys general in oversight over the emerging market of cannabis-derived products so we can continue to protect consumers and ensure they are not at risk of misleading advertising or exposed to products that could be harmful to their health,” Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in a statement.

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