Over a week ago, it looked like FDA was ready to review its policies regarding CBD-infused products. But that could change this week after the resignation of FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. When President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill last December, CBD products that were derived from hemp were legalized. The CBD is a close relative of marijuana and is considered illegal by the FDA. Thus, restaurants and companies are prohibited from using it in food and drinks.
Cannabis startup companies, including restaurants and food companies, have opted to move forward and introduce a number of CBD products in anticipation that the FDA will eventually change its rules.
The Most Engaged FDA Commissioner
The former commissioner has been generally viewed as a person who understood the challenges that the supplements industry is faced with in hemp. He was said to be willing to work with several trade associations for reform. The commissioner spoke recently about the pathway to acceptance of CBD as an ingredient for dietary supplements. With him leaving the post, many are wondering whether the progress in the industry that the commissioner hinted at will be slowed down or be stopped entirely.
Gottlieb is seen as the most engaged FDA commissioner. He recently told lawmakers that he heard them loud and clear after the Congress decided to legalize the hemp-derived CBD products. He is said to be in the process of organizing a working group of senior officials that can establish the rules and regulations surrounding hemp. In fact, he said that the FDA has plans to conduct its first public hearing in April and has already outlined the possibilities for what these regulations will turn out.
Movement around CBD Could Stall
On Tuesday, Gottlieb surprised the public when he announced that that he would be stepping down from the post in a month. And this could possibly happen right before the hearing will take place and certainly before any of the policies are approved and implemented.
Now that he is leaving, this could mean that the movement around CBD will stall. Everyone is demanding for some sort of rational clarity but there’s none. His resignation has clearly slowed it down. In most cases, the most significant role of FDA to CBD is to enforce regulations concerning health claims and in the manufacturing process in order to avoid the much bigger questions concerning the legitimacy of the dietary ingredient. The new commissioner who is set to replace Gottlieb might take a totally different approach.
FDA Hearings on CBD Will Move Forward
Many people will surely miss working with Gottlieb because he was truly one of the most competent FDA commissioners. Yet they believe that the upcoming FDA hearings regarding CBD and the regulation of supplements will push forward and they have to be ready for further discussions regarding CBD. It would be too much to expect that certain actions will be taken on CBD now that there’s no commissioner in place. An agency without a head will not be able to make such a bold action.