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Pingree to FDA: Legal Pathways Needed for CBD

Washington, February 19, 2019
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), a long-time organic farmer and advocate for sustainable agriculture, has led a letter to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Gottlieb urging him to provide guidance on lawful pathways for food products containing hemp-derived CBD in interstate commerce.
 WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), a long-time organic farmer and advocate for sustainable agriculture, has led a letter to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Gottlieb urging him to provide guidance on lawful pathways for food products containing hemp-derived CBD in interstate commerce. As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, Pingree plans to question FDA Commissioner Gottlieb when he is expected to appear before the committee next week.
 
Pingree was joined by 11 House lawmakers in sending the letter, including Congressman Jared Golden of Maine’s Second District.
 
The text of the letter can be found below.
 
Dear Commissioner Gottlieb:

We are writing to urge the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide guidance on lawful pathways for food products containing hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) in interstate commerce.
 
On February 5, 2019, The New York Times reported that the New York City Department of Health instituted a ban on food products containing CBD. Officials in other states, including Maine and Ohio, have also recently taken enforcement actions related to food products containing CBD. These actions have spurred a tremendous amount of confusion among product manufacturers, hemp farmers, and consumers of these products.

As you know, hemp production is a growing market for farmers and rural communities across the country. Last December, the President signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 into law, which removed hemp-derived products from the definition of marijuana and removed tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp from the list of Schedule I substances under the Controlled Substances Act.  Following the President’s signing of the farm bill, you released a statement clarifying FDA’s role in the regulation of hemp-derived CBD products in interstate commerce. In the statement, you committed to holding a public meeting on this topic to gather information. Additionally, you announced that FDA had approved Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) designations for three hemp-seed derived ingredients: hulled hemp seeds, hemp seed protein, and hemp seed oil.
 
In light of the aforementioned state enforcement actions and the resulting confusion, we are calling on FDA to swiftly provide guidance on lawful pathways for food products containing hemp-derived CBD in interstate commerce. We are looking for immediate leadership from the Federal Government to eliminate confusion around this issue. We respectfully ask that you provide responses to the following questions by February 22, 2019:
When will FDA provide guidance on lawful pathways for food products containing hemp-derived CBD in interstate commerce?  For example, the GRAS Notification Program seems as though it is one such pathway.
When will FDA hold a public meeting on the regulation of food products containing hemp-derived CBD in interstate commerce?   
Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we look forward to your response. 
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