FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb resigns, leaving CBD questions open

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb resigns, leaving CBD questions open

Legislators, business-owners and consumers have been pressuring Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to hurry back to them with information regarding the regulation of CBD and its related products.

Tuesday, Gottlieb announced he would be resigning from his post at the FDA in April, despite claims that he made in Congress that there would be more information about the regulation of the non-psychoactive hemp derivative by next month.

The Washington Post reported the news of the resignation, but did not report whether the resignation would come after CBD talks or before, but now industry leaders are worried for that very reason. [1]

The 46-year-old was one of the leading figures in the movement to call into question vaping among teenagers, which culminated his November calls to limit the amounts of nicotine available in e-cigarettes and other products.

His tenure at the top of the FDA was also during stressful periods of the U.S. opioid panic. President Trump was alerted of Gottlieb’s departure, but it didn’t come as a firing from top down, the Post reported. [1]

While he and others at various levels have called teen-vaping an epidemic, many adults do use the technology of high-nicotine vaping to escape from the cancer risks of more harmful tobacco products.

“It was a very hard decision,” Gottlieb told the Post of his retirement. “This is the best job I will ever have. I’m leaving because I need to spend time with my family. I get home late Friday, work on weekends and come back to Washington on Sunday. I did the job 100 percent."

His reasons for leaving, along with his activism in areas like opioid abuse and tobacco regulations, are less helpful than a firm statement on CBD would be for those in the industry.

According to Marijuana Business Daily, Gottlieb’s comments to Congress last week included statements to the effect that CBD should not be allowed in food and drink products. [2]

This move was seemingly contradictory to the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp and its products as agricultural goods, and the claim was controversial, but Gottlieb reaffirmed that regulation of CBD is within the FDA’s purview.

States and municipalities, notably Maine, Ohio and New York City that implemented limited bans and restrictions on the sale of CBD in foodstuffs have also ruffled feathers, bringing about the scorn of elected legislators and retailers alike.

Twelve U.S. Congress members wrote an open letter to Gottlieb last month asking him to clarify CBD rules last month. They were recently joined by New York City council members sharing similar concerns about transparency. [3]

Now, despite the heightened interest from ordinary people who have come to love and depend on CBD oils and CBD products in their everyday lives, the question of how industry-leaders and community members can contribute to regulating the budding industry is an open question.


[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2019/03/05/fda-commissioner-gottlieb-who-raised-alarms-about-teen-vaping-resigns/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.10c8f61945a6

[2] https://mjbizdaily.com/report-fda-chief-to-resign-leaving-cbd-review-in-question/

[3] https://www.nothingbuthemp.net/blog/new-york-city-officials-join-chorus-of-those-concerned-over-cbd-ban