NIHC Position on Latest Developments

As you may have heard, Congressmen Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA) re-introduced their bill to designate hemp and all hemp-derived ingredients, including cannabidiol (CBD), as a dietary supplement under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.  The Congressmen originally introduced this legislation in the previous Congress, late last year.

This week, NIHC staff and our Government Affairs Committee co-chairs met with Congressman Schrader’s office and other stakeholders to discuss concerns with FDA’s failure to regulate CBD and other hemp products, and to share our thoughts on the bill.  We look forward to discussions with Congressman Griffith’s office as well in the coming days.

Congressman Schrader believes that Congress should intervene in lieu of the FDA’s failure to act. NIHC supports this effort and believes it’s a good starting point toward establishing regulatory certainty with CBD and other hemp-derived consumer products. However, our perspective on the legislation as currently written is that CBD would be labeled only as a dietary supplement, but not as food. NIHC is concerned that this may effectively limit market access for many farmers and other producers who supply hemp-derived foods and food ingredients, and also limit consumer choice and safety with respect to hemp-derived food products.  We feel further investigation is needed to determine the extent to which designation as dietary supplement may harm smaller and independent farms who depend on market access as food.

Though designation of hemp as a dietary supplement does not preclude it from being also designated as food in the future – and many States are nevertheless establishing their own regulatory guidelines for hemp-derived foods in the meantime – we are concerned that a patchwork of State regulations with respect to food and the lack of FDA guidance could unfairly disadvantage broad swaths of the industry aimed at supplying hemp-derived food products, particularly smaller and independent hemp farmers and farm-to-shelf consumers.

We believe that Congress and industry stakeholders need more information to determine the extent to which this could have unintended consequences on these key industry constituencies. Thus, the NIHC continues to engage industry stakeholders and hasn’t yet taken an official position on the bill.

However, we do welcome the Schrader-Griffith bill as a strong incremental step toward bringing certainty and a level playing field to the hemp industry. We encourage both Congress and FDA to redouble efforts to provide adequate regulatory direction for hemp-derived consumer products across the board, including both as dietary supplements and as foods.

If you have thoughts on this legislation, we want to hear from you. Please share your thoughts with us at info@hempindustrial.com.