Trump Legalizes Hemp In Farm Bill; FDA Looking For “Pathways” To Legalize Cannabinoid Drinks and Snacks
By Aaron Kesel
All over the U.S., a new trend is taking form — several restaurants are suddenly offering cannabidiol (CBD) infused snacks and drinks; however, according to several state regulators, selling them is illegal. Meanwhile, the battle on the federal level already seems won as the FDA is seeking “pathways” to legalize CBD oil in drinks and snack food.
If you do a simple Presearch for the words “CBD oil smoothie” you are bound to get tons of results. It’s a new trend taking over U.S. restaurants all over from the East Coast to the West Coast, selling CBD-infused drinks or snacks to customers.
CBD oil is derived as a powerful ingredient reaped from the hemp plant. Many may find it shocking to learn that CBD is similar to a compound that our bodies produce naturally, and from birth, called endocannabinoids. Cannabinoids aren’t just found in the cannabis plant, they’re also naturally occurring in other plants in nature, they are just found at a higher potency in cannabis.
So what’s the buzz all about with CBD smoothies/drinks?
CBD oil offers the healing power of marijuana without the psychoactive effect of the chemical compound THC. These drinks — which include teas, lemonade, even iced coffee, and many more variants — are designed to alleviate pain, offering relief to those looking to benefit from the medicinal aspects of marijuana. So don’t expect to feel a high sensation, just expect to feel good and relaxed.
In the mere first few months of this year, several regulators have now moved to kill everyone’s business and are cracking down on CBD-infused drinks and snacks.
According to the New York Daily News, the New York City Department of Health is banning cannabidiol because it has not been officially deemed safe for human consumption.
“Restaurants in New York City are not permitted to add anything to food or drink that is not approved as safe to eat. The Health Department takes seriously its responsibility to protect New Yorkers’ health. Until cannabidiol (CBD) is deemed safe as a food additive, the Department is ordering restaurants not to offer products containing CBD,” a health department spokeswoman said.
NYC Health Dept embargoed #CBD-infused food from @fatcatkitchen. UPDATE: The agency just told @fox5ny that CBD is not deemed safe as a food additive & that all #NYC restaurants should stop offering these products. @nycHealthy pic.twitter.com/SIgqcdSMuy
— Dana Arschin (@DanaArschin) February 5, 2019
New York isn’t the only state to ban the sale of CBD-infused products; the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has also said this month that they are illegal, The Charlotte Observer reported.
The department has even stated that it has already begun sending letters to businesses, notifying them that the sale of CBD in food, drinks, and animal food violates state and federal law.
Marijuana is illegal in North Carolina, and so is hemp if it contains too much THC.
“Once you place products into the marketplace, you have a responsibility to comply with all federal and state laws,” the letters say, according to a copy provided by the agriculture department t0 The Charlotte Observer. “Failure to comply could result in legal action being taken against you, including without limitation, embargo, seizure and injunction.”
There are also the states of Ohio and Maine which are cracking down on the CBD oil industry. State health officials in Maine and Ohio recently ordered businesses to remove CBD-infused edibles from stores, Portland Press Herald reported.
In Ohio, despite its medical marijuana program legalized. local and state authorities have also been cracking down on businesses selling CBD-based products, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Meanwhile, state health inspectors in Texas announced last year that they could confiscate food products containing CBD oil under new procedures proposed by the Texas Department of State Health Services, Dallas Observer reported.
California is another state under fire that suffered a CBD ban last year, The California Department of Public Health’s Food and Drug Branch (CDPH-FDB) issued a revised FAQ on cannabidiol (CBD) in food products that will likely block the sale of hemp-derived CBD products in California, Cannalawblog reported.
Surprisingly, the main regulator, the FDA, has seemed to signal a lighter tone on regulating the cannabinoid industry federally.
In fact, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb even stated that the agency is looking for “pathways” to legalize the sale of CBD oil and other cannabis-derived compounds in food, beverages, and supplements.
Interestingly enough, this comes after U.S. President Donald Trump silently slightly legalized hemp when he signed what’s being deemed “the Farm Bill of 2018” into law right before Christmas of last year on December 20th, 2018.
The Farm Bill was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who announced that he would propose the legislation alongside Senator Rand Paul to legalize hemp by removing it from the list of controlled substances, where cannabis sits alongside psilocybin mushrooms, MDMA, and heroin. The bill would also offer “full protection for individual farmers as well as the interstate commerce of U.S. grown and manufactured hemp products; normalize finance, banking, insurance, and other business proceedings for the hemp industry; advance research opportunities; ensure access to public water rights for hemp farmers; and protect the increasing and perhaps unlimited variety of hemp-derived products by promulgating a ‘whole plant’ definition of Hemp.”
It’s “an $867 billion, five-year spending bill that funds agricultural, nutrition and other federal programs — also loosened some federal restrictions on cannabis. It legalized hemp by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act while preserving the FDA’s authority to regulate the products,” CNBC reported.
The FDA currently prohibits companies from adding CBD and THC to food, drinks, and supplements. The agency also forbids manufacturers and retailers from making any therapeutic claims about their products. It also restrains the sale of food, supplements and other products containing CBD across state lines at its current state of laws.
“We recognize the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds could offer and acknowledge the significant interest in these possibilities,” Gottlieb said in a statement. “We’re committed to pursuing an efficient regulatory framework for allowing product developers that meet the requirements under our authorities to lawfully market these types of products.”
Meanwhile, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stressed that CBD is still illegal. Last year, a spokesperson for the agency explained to Indiana news WTHR that those who violate federal drug laws still run the “risk of arrest and prosecution.” Although, he reassured that the DEA is not going after individuals who have benefited from CBD oil.
“It would not be an appropriate use of federal resources to go after a mother because her child has epileptic seizures and has found something that can help and has helped. Are they breaking the law? Yes, they are. Are we going to break her door down? Absolutely not. And I don’t think she’ll be charged by any U.S. Attorney,” DEA spokesperson Rusty Payne told the Indiana news station.
With the Farm Bill of 2018 passed and signed by U.S. President Trump, the legislation effectively removes industrial hemp from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. While it federally legalizes the commercial cultivation of the crop, what wasn’t touched was CBD oil-based products.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its very first cannabis-derived drug in June of last year, Epidiolex a (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, according to the regulator’s website.
So now a new extension of the drug war seems to be brewing against products with CBD oil in them as an adjuvant, with the states fighting back against the FDA’s own opinion on CBD oil. However, the FDA’s own commissioner has expressed a means to want to legalize CBD-based products.
However, it’s important to note as Business Insider points out, “as long as CBD products are sold without therapeutic claims and within state lines, they appear to be considered legal.”
Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.