McConnell puts pressure on FDA to expedite CBD rules

The senator most responsible for legalizing hemp is now trying to use a legislative finance maneuver to speed up federal rules on putting hemp extracts in food and beverages.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, introduced new language that would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue an “enforcement discretion policy and appropriate regulatory activities” on the sale of hemp-derived CBD products.

FDA’s stance that it is illegal for CBD to be recognized as an ingredient for food, beverages or dietary supplements for interstate commerce continues is a “primary policy challenge” facing businesses in the hemp and CBD industries, the U.S Hemp Roundtable, an industry advocacy group, said in a Tuesday advisory.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture was set to review McConnell’s report Tuesday while the full Senate Appropriations Committee plans to review the language Thursday before it is sent to the Senate floor.

The maneuver would require FDA to:

  • Provide Congress with a report outlining efforts to develop an enforcement discretion policy on hemp-derived CBD. A process for which CBD meets the definition of hemp will be evaluated for use in products within 90 days.
  • Issue a formal enforcement discretion policy on products containing hemp-derived CBD within 120 days.
  • Keep the enforcement discretion policy in effect until the agency has implemented its final regulatory process.
  • Ensure that CBD manufacturers will be able to share safety data through existing FDA notification procedures to be fully compliant with federal law and policy.