Proposed CBD Legislation Receives Criticism from Consumer Groups


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on February 4, the Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2021 (HR 841) has caused upset among several consumer groups.

Sponsored by Representative Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), HR 841 would permit the inclusion of hemp, hemp-derived CBD, or any other ingredient derived from hemp in dietary supplements, bringing the products under the purview of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A responsibility, opponents said, the FDA would be unable to effectively handle.

In a letter to Capitol Hill, critics of the bill including Consumer Reports, National Consumers League, Consumer Federation of America, and Center for Science in the Public Interest, wrote, “The FDA is currently unable to regulate the current dietary supplement marketplace and cannot be expected to safely regulate the onslaught of hemp-based supplements.”

The letter’s authors went on to say, “Consumers have a right to safe and appropriately labeled consumer products. For this reason, the FDA is currently evaluating the safety implications of CBD use in foods and supplements. The agency also has created a high-level internal agency working group to explore potential pathways for dietary supplements and/or conventional foods containing CBD to be lawfully marketed, held public meetings to determine the safety implications of CBD use, and drafted CBD enforcement policy guidance that was under the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review.

“We strongly oppose any bill to force the FDA to allow cannabidiol (CBD) and ‘any other ingredient derived from hemp’ to be used in dietary supplements as a dietary ingredient within set period of time from enactment. Such a measure would cut short the FDA’s current efforts, create an unsafe CBD market, and irreparably politicize the FDA’s scientific oversight of the food and drug supply.”

Despite the consumer groups’ outcry, the bill has found a base of support.

“[The consumer groups] have gotten it precisely backwards,” said Jonathan Miller, U.S. Hemp Roundtable’s general counsel. “They’re arguing that if this bill passes that there would be unsafe CBD products in the marketplace, and it’s just the opposite. There are currently unsafe products in the marketplace because there is no regulation. And that’s why we so desperately need 841, which would provide for an existing regulatory regime for dietary supplements to govern the manufacture of CBD products.”

At present, the bill has twenty-one co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.



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