(This story will be updated after Thursday’s hearing.)
Hemp farmers and federal health regulators are headed to the U.S. Senate on Thursday to try to clear up confusion about the newly legal plant and its extracts.
Senators have ordered Trump administration officials who regulate agriculture, public health and pesticides to testify before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry.
They’ll be joined by hemp producers and industry activists, who will call for increased legal certainty on how hemp can be grown and sold.
Of particular concern is a looming CBD review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which just this week admonished Curaleaf, one of the nation’s largest CBD producers, saying that common CBD products “can put patients and consumers at risk.”
“There is a real uncertainty for CBD processors and sellers like us because current law leaves open to interpretation how products should be tested, at what levels and how often,” Ceres Natural Remedies Founder Shayne Lynn wrote in an email to Hemp Industry Daily.
“More guidelines for the industry will result in better products for consumers and more trust in the industry itself.”
The National Hemp Association is among those on the docket. Among other things, the industry group is expected to request:
- A national THC-testing procedure, instead of rules that vary from state to state.
- A ban on importing hemp biomass from countries outside North America.
- That the federal government disallow states from banning smokable hemp flower, as some have done.
A former U.S. surgeon general who advises a California CBD company, Dr. Richard Carmona, told Hemp Industry Daily that the hearing will give the hemp industry and politicians alike the opportunity to press for answers from the FDA on where things stand with its review of over-the-counter CBD products.
“The FDA recognizes now it needs to get a handle on this and be able to protect the public and provide some guidance to those who are producing these products,” said Carmona, who served as surgeon general from 2002 to 2008 and now sits on the advisory board of privately held CBD maker Kadenwood.
The committee is not expected to take up any proposed legislation relating to hemp or CBD in Thursday’s hearing.