CANNRA’s Executive Director, Gillian Schauer, PhD, MPH, will testify on behalf of the association tomorrow before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability in a hearing about hemp regulation. Dr. Schauer will outline the need for a comprehensive federal regulatory framework that addresses the many cannabinoids being derived from hemp. This includes products that are intoxicating and are being sold across the country in gas stations, grocery stores, smoke shops, hemp stores, and online.
A Dire Need for Regulated Hemp Products
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp-derived cannabinoids, yet did not authorize a specific federal regulator for cannabinoid hemp products, many of which increasingly resemble or extend beyond products that are permitted in state-legal cannabis (marijuana) markets. Cannabinoid hemp products remain unregulated federally and have no required product testing, no regulation of how products are manufactured, no required packaging and labeling to let consumers know what is in the products and what effects they need to be aware of, no policies to prevent the appeal and marketing of products to children, and no age-gating to prevent the sale to minors. This is in stark contrast to state-regulated marijuana markets, which are highly regulated for consumer safety and youth prevention.
Filling the Regulatory Gaps
While state legislatures and cannabis and hemp regulators have worked to enact policies state-by-state to protect consumers, even the most comprehensive state-based regulatory approach to cannabinoid hemp leaves regulatory gaps – like online markets and interstate commerce – where federal regulation is essential. A federal regulatory framework is needed that accounts for the range of products in the marketplace – including products that are ingested, inhaled or smoked, and used in other ways (e.g., as suppositories, tinctures, topicals). A federal regulatory framework cannot just focus on one cannabinoid either, given that cannabinoid hemp products often contain many cannabinoids – all of which need to be regulated for safety.
CANNRA is not encouraging the recriminalization of cannabinoid hemp products, but rather comprehensive regulation that accounts for the potential consumer safety risks across the many ways cannabinoids can be consumed, The industry also needs a framework that accounts for existing marijuana markets that states have carefully architected to protect people consuming the same cannabinoids that we now see in hemp-derived products.
CANNRA’s full written testimony, as submitted to the House Oversight Committee, can be read here.