Although it is quite a divisive product, cannabidiol has taken the world by storm. The compound has proven itself as one of the most powerful and versatile natural medicines seen in years, if not decades. Backed by plenty of anecdotal evidence, CBD is said to be effective against a variety of conditions ranging from chronic pain, anxiety and depression to high blood pressure. For the past year, the CBD industry has seen unprecedented growth in both demand and supply. This comes after the December 2018 Farm Bill that legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp, the plant that produces cannabidiol. Last week, after pressure from stakeholders and interested parties, the USDA finally passed its interim final regulations for the hemp industry.
However, as states and tribes are reviewing and working on implementing the new regulations, the state of New York still remains in a state of uncertainty. A bill that would regulate CBD has already been passed by the State Legislature but Governor Andrew Cuomo hasn’t acted on it yet. The Senate sponsor of the bill, Jen Metzger, a Democrat from the Hudson Valley says that right now, the CBD market is like the Wild West. “There are zero regulations for these products,” she adds. Metzger is hopeful that the governor will soon sign the bill she sponsored to regulate CBD.
As per the bill, all CBD products sold in the market will be tested and labeled to certify that they actually contain the promised levels of CBD. It will also set up the long awaited guidelines for New York farmers to grow and sell hemp for CBD production. Although it’s not illegal to sell hemp-derived CBD, the FDA forbids companies from marketing their CBD products as alternative medicines. The New York City Health Department recently banned the sale of CBD products, arguing that the cannabis extract hasn’t been approved by the FDA as a food additive, thus it shouldn’t be used as one.
Metzger introduced the bill late in the 2019 legislative session with Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo after seeing that a comprehensive marijuana bill that also made the recreational use of cannabis for adults legal would not be passed. Governor Cuomo is currently working with three neighbor states to craft a bill on cannabis use and vaping that could be ready to vote on in 2020. Metzger, however, argues that it still makes sense to regulate CBD before the end of the year. “There is no need to wait for a broader cannabis bill.”
Industry watchers think that CBD industry actors like Willow Biosciences Inc. (CSE: WLLW) and VIVO Cannabis Inc. (TSX.V: VIVO) (OTCQX: VVCIF) could be more interested in nationwide CBD rules rather than fragmented laws that complicate operations.
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