September 7, 2022
The chair of the House Agriculture Committee is the latest co-sponsor of a bill that would legalize hemp-derived CBD in dietary supplements, drawing praise from an industry organization that has lobbied vigorously in support of H.R. 841.
Rep. David Scott, a Democrat from Georgia, co-sponsored H.R. 841 on Aug. 26. The bill has more than 40 co-sponsors following its introduction last year by Rep. Kurt Schrader, a Democrat from Oregon.
The bill would legalize hemp-derived ingredients in dietary supplements, including CBD, despite a provision in the law that excludes ingredients from supplements if they were first approved or studied as a drug.
FDA has found hemp-based CBD meets the drug exclusion criteria above, yet CBD supplements continue to be widely marketed in the U.S. four years after Congress removed hemp from the definition of a controlled substance in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Jonathan Miller, general counsel to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable and a member-in-charge at the law firm Frost Brown Todd LLC, welcomed Scott’s endorsement of H.R. 841, otherwise known as the "Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2021."
“We’re deeply grateful to Chairman Scott for his leadership and his responsiveness to our industry’s concerns,” Miller said in an email to Natural Products Insider. “This is an important signal that FDA’s policy toward CBD will come under severe scrutiny during the 2023 Farm Bill discussions, and we are very hopeful that the resolution will be a regulatory pathway for the sale of non-intoxicating ingestible hemp extracts.”
Scott co-sponsored H.R. 841 following a July 28 hearing on Capitol Hill, where several lawmakers expressed concerns about lack of FDA regulation of the CBD industry.
The hearing was held by the House Agriculture Committee Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research.
“We’ve heard a lot of great recommendations for the 2023 Farm Bill here today, and one that I’d like to add is that the FDA hasn’t really had any kind of regulatory framework for hemp-derived CBD, so I would encourage us to include that in our discussions about the 2023 Farm Bill,” Rep. Jim Baird (R-Ind.) said during the hearing.
The hemp industry is still hoping lawmakers in a committee with oversight of FDA—the House Committee on Energy and Commerce—will hold a hearing at some point on H.R. 841 and related bills that have been introduced in Congress.
In July, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate. That sweeping bill, S.4591, would decriminalize cannabis and also provide for CBD to be regulated as a supplement. But the U.S. Hemp Roundtable considers the bill's provisions less favorable to industry than H.R. 841.
Staff members for Rep. Scott did not respond to requests for comment.
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