Legal, academic and industry advocates discuss overcoming legal obstacles, risks of entering CBD and hemp-derived marketplace.
In December, the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association took a step to make better sense of regulation of the hemp industry and the products it creates with a conference in the college town of Murray, Ky. The gathering involved hemp farmers, processors and regulators, and it highlighted the continuing regulatory uncertainty that’s been facing the hemp industry.
Hemp became legal after the 2018 Farm Bill distinguished cannabis with minuscule levels of THC, less than 0.3%, giving farmers the green light to farm it under state and tribal programs. However, most states have different laws concerning hemp and its extracts.
Some allow it; some don’t; while some don’t even have hemp programs. This patchwork of legislation was one of the main issues covered during the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association Holiday Conference and Tradeshow.
The conference was graced with a variety of speakers, including regional lawyers offering insight on current and future hemp regulations, university professors discussing hemp’s chemical composition and industry advocates with expert marketing tips for hemp-derived products.
According to Bob Pearce, one of the professors from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, there is a lot of financial risk surrounding how the federal government will regulate hemp-derived products, primarily cannabidiol (CBD).
Cannabidiol is one of the major cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, and as per the 2018 Farm Bill, it is legal as long as it is derived from hemp (cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, the chemical responsible for cannabis’ infamous high).
CBD is an insanely potent natural medicine with a plethora of applications. Users have claimed the chemical gave them relief from insomnia, chronic pain and high blood pressure, among other ailments. Still, most of the evidence backing these claims up is anecdotal.
The only instance where a medical claim has been researched and tested is Epidiolex. The FDA-approved drug is made from CBD, and it’s used to treat seizures in two rare pediatric epilepsies, Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.
The FDA has made it clear that CBD sellers shouldn’t advertise their products as therapeutic, even going so far as to send warning letters to several companies accused of doing so.
Currently, the agency is working on CBD regulations, specifically whether the hemp extract can be classified as a nutritional supplement that could be added to food products.
“If you’re well invested in this process and that ruling goes opposite of the way you think it’s going to go, you could be all out of that investment,” said Pearce. “So for growers, I always say, ‘don’t get in over your head.’”
Courtesy of HempWire News.