The U.S. House is again considering a bill that calls for designating hemp and hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) as legal dietary supplements when meeting the same standards as other FDA-approved ingredients.
U.S. Reps. Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon, and Morgan Griffith, R-Virginia, introduced the bill aimed to move the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to approve CBD and – with the exception of the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – all other hemp-derived cannabinoids and terpenes for use as dietary supplements.
In addition to Schrader and Griffith, the bill has drawn support from 17 co-sponsors, five Republicans and 12 Democrats.
The Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2021, introduced as H.R. 841, is the same bill introduced in September during the last Congress as H.R. 8179. If it is approved in both houses and eventually becomes law, the measure would make hemp meet the same regulations subject to other dietary supplements.
The bill would also maintain the current definition of hemp as a cannabis plant with a THC content of less that 0.3%. Many within the industry perceive a lack of clear regulation on the part of the FDA as an obstacle to satisfying consumer demand and establishment of safety standards among manufacturers.
The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), a dietary supplement and functional food industry advocacy group, lauded the legislation. CRN Vice President of Government Relations Julia Gustafson said in a statement that the CRN has repeatedly called on the FDA to use its authority to allow CBD to marketed as other dietary supplements.
“This critical bi-partisan legislation will promote a safer and stronger dietary supplement marketplace,” Gustafson said, “as it will direct FDA to provide a legal pathway to market for dietary supplements containing hemp-derived cannabidiol, while still assuring FDA’s stringent requirements for manufacturing, labeling and marketing of other dietary supplements apply to these new ingredients.”
Gustafson observed that responsible CBD product manufacturers that produce safe dietary supplements must compete with disreputable companies who are lax on product safety, endangering the public.
“Products containing hemp-derived CBD have been proliferating in the marketplace,” Gustafson added. “Due to continued FDA inaction, more consumers are at risk every day of unsafe or illegal products that are poorly manufactured, incorrectly labeled, or illegally deliver THC or other adulterants.”
The American Herbal Products Association said in a statement that the legislation would allow hemp and hemp-derived CBD products to be legally marketed as dietary supplements while establishing safeguards to protect public health.
“There remains an absence of substantive progress on FDA’s reported attention to creating a lawful pathway for CBD, and a similar lack of clarification from the agency that simple hemp products, such as tinctures and extracts, should be regulated the same as other herbal supplements,” said Michael McGuffin, president of the AHPA. “This legislation will fill those gaps, and we see it as important for ensuring that consumers will be able to find hemp and CBD products that are clearly subject to FDA’s enforcement of the robust regulations that apply to all other herbal supplements.”
The clarity the bill would bring, say industry advocates, would set standards for manufacturers as well as boost consumer confidence in CBD products. The legislation would also bring some clarity to hemp growers, as well.
The AHPA and CRN are both part of a coalition of 18 dietary supplement, hemp industry and hemp farming associations supporting the Hemp and Hemp derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2021.
H.R. 841 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.