USDA listening session on CBD brings promise to industry

USDA listening session on CBD brings promise to industry

The United States Department of Agriculture recently hosted a first-ever roundtable discussion on how the body should treat CBD and other hemp products, reflecting changing attitudes throughout the country.

Tuesday, the head of the USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said the agency is still taking things slow with regard to regulations and guidelines. Most of the oversight on CBD comes in products where the substance is added to food and drink, and those rules fall to the Food and Drug Administration.

In the realm of agriculture and farming hemp, however, the USDA is head honcho. That’s what makes the roundtable they hosted this week on how to handle CBD and hemp so important.

According to reporting from Marijuana Moment, the USDA should have a solid set of guidelines and attitudes for hemp farming by the 2020 planting season. [1]

Part of the USDA’s purview is to approve the regulatory or legislative schemes around CBD proposed by individual states, and so far there have been a slew of rulings at the state level.

Texas recently removed it from the state’s list of scheduled substances, and a number of states across the U.S. have pilot programs and other permitting to allow planting this spring. [1]

Marijuana Moment reported that two legislators, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), sent a letter to the USDA pleading for fast action on hemp rules back in February. [1]

At the recent roundtable, McConnell offered to smooth out “glitches” in possible CBD problems by writing legislation that would circumvent the regulatory agencies. This follows a pattern, as he was one of the main proponents of passing the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp as an agricultural product. [2]

Pointed legislative criticism addressed to the USDA isn’t an isolated phenomenon. A prominent caucus of legislators in the House of Representatives sent a letter around the same time to departing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. [3]

Gottlieb advised legislative solutions to the regulation problem. As it stands, FDA regulators may take two to three years to devise a solid framework.

The Hemp Industry Daily reported that senators from Oregon, Montana and Kentucky said at the the hemp roundtable on Monday they were particularly worried about how the USDA lack of action would affect loans ensured by USDA and the regulation of hemp shipping across state lines. [4]

“Without USDA regulations, Montana farmers will face substantial uncertainty,” Senator Steve Daines said to USDA head Perdue at Monday’s meeting. [4]