Congress is cranking up the pressure on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to draft rules to regulate cannabis-based products.
Lawmakers legalized the use of hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) products late last year in the farm bill, sending the agency scrambling to figure out new rules around regulating a unique product that is both a drug and a dietary supplement.
But Congress is signaling that it is growing impatient as the FDA looks for a solution and may not wait on the sidelines for much longer.
“In Congress, some are itchy [for action],” said Jonathan Miller, general counsel for the industry advocacy group U.S. Hemp Roundtable.
Miller said some lawmakers have been privately circulating potential legislation, but he doesn’t expect any formal push from Congress until at least later this fall.
“If their patience ends [and FDA doesn’t act], there will be an effort for legislation,” Miller said.
The FDA held a public hearing at the end of May, and experts and industry representatives said it was a good start but did not advance the ball much in terms of giving clarity from a federal level.
People who attended the meeting said they left without any new sense of the agency’s timing on creating new regulations.
During the 10-hour hearing, acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless made no promises about timing, but FDA officials were clear that they wanted more data from the public. Sharpless said the agency was essentially operating in uncharted waters.
Published: July 06, 2019
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