U.S. House Reps. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Angie Craig (D-MN), and Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) introduced a hemp bill last week for setting standards for CBD-based food and beverage products.
Whatever the differences between the country’s two main political parties are, there also appear to be matters on which their members agree. The interest of a group of lawmakers, consisting of both Republicans and Democrats, in establishing federal standards for CBD products indicates this.
The bill is designed to protect consumers, as well as provide a stable market for cannabis farmers, producers, and retailers. It is called the CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act of 2021. According to Rice, the bill will establish a clear regulatory framework to provide stability for the cannabis business and ensure that unsafe products stay off the shelves.
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According to a press release, the legislation would allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate CBD as it does any other food ingredient, and subject cannabis products to enforceable safeguards to ensure accountability.
FDA would also be entrusted with the job of establishing CBD content limits, packaging and labeling requirements, and also determining in which categories of food CBD is more suitable for use.
The press release added that the bill would help to distinguish between those who are responsible players in the field, and those who ignore federal requirements for quality, manufacturing, labeling, and claims. Such a provision would bring safety and clarity to the market.
The passing of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp by removing hemp and its derivatives from Federal control. This paved the way for states to pass their own laws on cannabis cultivation.
One by one, the states legalized industrial hemp, Idaho being the last one to do so. Research data provided by Brandessence Market Research says that industrial hemp accounted for USD 3.91 billion in 2020 and that it is poised to grow at a rate of 16.27% CAGR during the 2021-2027 period.
Industrial hemp fetched $45 to $50 per pound in 2018, at its peak. The legalization of marijuana in 18 states in the U.S. is accelerating the already robust growth of the hemp market.
Data provided by Brandessence also says that the COVID-19 crisis has had a negative impact on industrial hemp, by slowing down the demand.
The United States Agriculture Department (USDA) estimates that farmers can produce as much as 2 to 12-ton dry-stem yields per acre. Similar estimates are projected in Europe, where farmers produce 3.6 to 8.7 tons per acre.
The USDA also estimated that the variable, fixed, and operator cost accounted for $286 per acre for hemp fiber, $233 for certified seed, and $196 for seed. But these estimates are not the latest, and the legalization of marijuana in 18 states is indicating the possibility of enhanced growth of the industrial hemp market.
However, Angie Craig, the Democrat from Minnesota, pointed out that there was still a lack of clear federal standards in the CBD industry, which was confusing businesses and leaving customers at risk.
She added that despite its growth, the hemp industry needed regulatory clarity to continue selling its products safely and effectively. Craig expressed her gratification in being able to join her colleagues in introducing the bipartisan legislation to create enforceable safeguards and ensure accountability in the industry.
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According to the press release from members of Congress, the discrepancy between the Controlled Substances Act and FDA law has created a regulatory gray area in which CBD is widely available but unregulated—and considered illegal—by FDA.
Morgan Griffith, the Republican from Virginia, said that though the demand for CBD products had surged, Food and Drug Administration regulations did not reflect this altered reality. According to him, as a result, adulterated or unsafe products are available that threaten consumer health, and businesses lack clarity.
The CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act would require the FDA to address the issue and ensure more certainty in the CBD marketplace. He too expressed his gratification in being part of the bipartisan effort for regularizing the cannabis market.