CBD Guidance Needed – Senator “Chuck” Schumer taking his concerns to the FDA

The rise of cannabidiol (CBD) use as an alternative medicine has caught the attention of U.S. Senator Charles (Chuck) E. Schumer of New York State and he’s taking his concerns to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Trista Best
Written by Trista Best, Registered Dietitian
Last Updated
senator chuck schumer

Schumer Entreating FDA

Schumer’s CBD concerns are unlike most other politicians. He sees the industry as a beneficial resource and one that deserves the government’s support and backing. Because of his concern for consumer’s and belief in the product’s abilities he is pushing the FDA to move forward more quickly with issuing official guidance on CBD products.

Senator Chuck played a vital role in the 2018 Farm Bill’s Hemp Farming Act of 2018. The Bill’s major goals regarding hemp and CBD was to remove the Schedule I classification from industrial hemp, give states regulatory authority over hemp, make it possible for cannabidiol researchers to apply for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants, and afford hemp farmer’s the ability to apply for crop insurance.

In an October 2019 report, Schumer expresses the root of his concern for FDA’s guidance. He knows the industry could mean billions for his state alone, but without guidance for all aspects of CBD product production, seed to seal, these individuals are making their own path and this will inevitably lead to issues. Schumer states in this report, “…once the feds spell out these ABC’s of CBD, the industry will seed and grow from one corner of the state to the other, many jobs will be created in the industrial hemp space, and farmers will be able to safely cash in on this cash crop.”

The Request

The request being made by Schumer is simple, provide and outline. He has made an official request to issue an outline of their plans and timeline for CBD’s regulations. If the FDA intervenes U.S. CBD consumers, and future consumers, will have confidence in the industry’s safer standards, manufacturers will have greater clarity, and the economy could see a boost from sells.

On the surface asking the government to regulate yet another industry sounds alarming, but most consumers have expressed a desire for this intervention. The Hemp Gazette reported in October that roughly 44% of Americans aren’t using CBD products due to a lack of FDA regulation.

Schumer is not Alone

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) is another regulatory agency requesting the FDA’s guidance. In a July interview with Supermarket News, FMI CEO Leslie Sarasin stated there is, “significant confusion in the marketplace.” She was referring to the CBD industry and the products making their way into the grocery industry.

The organization needs some guidance on how to handle these new products. This is especially true considering the major interest from their members, like grocery stores, wanting to offer CBD products at a greater rate. Understandably, the organization wants confidence that the industry is stable and sustainable at the grocery level.

In their letter to the FDA the FMI asked for scientific data on hemp and hemp derived products. This request is much like Schumer’s pushing for researchers to have access to better funding, like what is available through the USDA.

Other senators have followed Schumer’s example and began their appeal to the FDA. Senator Mitch McConnell made a formal requestin September of this year to “clear the path” for hemp-derived CBD products. McConnell’s request has some clear deadlines for reporting and enforcement policies.

What Has the FDA Done?

The FDA has started what appears to be an attempt at meeting these requests. Their Public Health Focus for October 16thof this year was based on cannabidiol regulation. The page offers consumers four sections: Consumer Information, FDA Communications, Regulatory Resources, and Questions and Answers.

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Trista Best
Trista Best
Registered Dietitian
Trista Best is a Registered Dietitian, Public Health Dietitian, and former college Nutrition Professor. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Health Science from Armstrong Atlantic State University in 2009, Masters of Public Health Nutrition from Liberty University in 2014, and Bachelors of Science in Food and Environmental Sciences from the University of Alabama in 2018. Her dietetic background is in Public Health, Medical Grade Supplements, and Childhood Nutrition.

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