The cannabidiol (CBD) industry is a lot stranger than most sectors. For starters, most industries take a while to pick up steam and get rolling, but barely a year after CBD became legal, the market for the hemp extract is worth at least a billion dollars, and experts believe it will hit $20 billion by 2024. This is despite the fact that the industry is barely regulated, with the exception of the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized industrial hemp.
The legislation classified cannabis with less than 0.3% THC levels as hemp, and for CBD to be legal, it also has to have similar levels of THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol). It is the chemical in cannabis that produces the plant’s infamous ‘high’.
Although the FDA has admitted that it doesn’t have enough information to term cannabidiol as generally recognized as safe (GRAS), and taken steps to prevent companies from selling CBD-infused food and drinks, people have still been flocking to buy these products.
A Washington lawmaker recently tabled a bill that would allow companies to sell CBD in food, although it is in stark opposition to federal and state regulations concerning cannabidiol in food. Tabled on January 7 by Republican Rep. Drew MacEwen, the bill will allow processors to put CBD in food and beverages.
The legislation has received a lukewarm response. Agriculture Department spokesman Chris McGann says that there are still concerns about allowing CBD in food. “A state-led effort to allow food ingredients not allowed by the FDA would be complicated to enforce and put processors and markets at risk.”
Last year, the FDA sent letters to several companies, warning them of selling CBD-infused foods and claiming their therapeutic benefits. Tons of users claim cannabidiol is medically effective against a variety of illnesses, ranging from anxiety and high blood pressure to insomnia. However, there’s little scientific research to back these claims, and most industry players agree that more research is needed.
The only FDA approved CBD drug is Epidiolex, and it’s used to manage seizures in two rare and hard to treat pediatric epilepsies.
Industrial Hemp Association of Washington director Bonny Bo Peterson says the new state bill to allow CBD in foods is ‘useless’, arguing that it won’t stop the FDA from coming in and saying, “Hey, you can’t do this.”
Drew MacEwen, the Bill’s sponsor, and the FDA haven’t made any public comments regarding the pending legislation.
It is likely that the CBD industry, including companies like Sugarmade Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD) and Willow Biosciences Inc. (TSX: WLLW) (OTCQB: CANSF), may be watching how this bill is handled by the Washington legislature. After all, states have defied federal law before by legalizing marijuana so there is a slim possibility that the same could happen for CBD.
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