The Consumer Brands Association recently called upon the federal government to take urgent action regarding cannabidiol (CBD) regulation. The coalition of consumer brands, which includes well-known brands like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Kellogg, sent letters to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Senator Ron Wyden on July 22 requesting federal action to ensure consumer safety.
Consumer Brands requests that the FDA take at least six specific actions
The letter sent to Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting commissioner of the FDA, requested the establishment of a regulatory framework that can be applied to all businesses regardless of size.
The letter to Woodcock also urged the FDA to:
Publish a research roadmap to highlight what types of studies are still needed
Review the safety of CBD so consumers can know that the products on the market are safe
Provide an update on the FDA’s progress on establishing a regulatory framework for CBD products
Provide technical assistance to Congress as it tries to find bipartisan solutions
Take necessary enforcement actions to remove unsafe CBD-containing products from the market
Work with stakeholders to develop a plan for transitioning existing products to the new regulatory framework
“It is time for the federal government to engage more meaningfully on regulating CBD, given the continued expansion of a ‘Wild West’ CBD market,” said Betsy Booren in a statement. Booren is Consumer Brands’ senior vice president of regulatory and technical affairs.
Data shows there will be consequences for federal inaction
It may not be too late for the FDA to act, but their years of inaction won’t be without a price. According to a recent report released by Consumer Brands, the consequences of a growing market without appropriate federal regulations are already starting to appear.
A recent Consumer Brands poll reportedly found that 74% of American consumers don’t know that CBD products are not currently regulated. They either don’t know if CBD is regulated or incorrectly assume that it is.
The letter Consumer Brands sent to Woodcock explained that this is why it is so important for the federal government to take action now. It claims federal action is needed “to reduce widespread consumer confusion regarding CBD products — including the misperception that the FDA already regulates CBD.”
Piecemeal state regulation may not be an adequate substitute
Without federal regulations, states legislatures have been picking up the slack. However, this has resulted in inconsistent rules across the country, which Consumer Brands says is only adding to consumer confusion.
“Smart, clearly articulated regulations are essential to providing consumers assurance a product is safe regardless of which state it was purchased in and gives them the information they need to make informed choices,” Booren said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, well-intentioned state CBD regulations have created a confusing, conflicting regulatory patchwork that fails to establish uniform requirements for the safe formulation, production, labeling and marketing or these products,” the letter to Woodcock states.
A Consumer Brands press release takes this concept even further.
“A labyrinth of state approaches has wreaked havoc on the market’s potential, creating conditions that allow bad actors to emerge and keep established, trusted brands on the sidelines,” it states.
The release does not specify if any of the brands that make up the coalition are specifically interested in entering the CBD space. Instead, it proclaims that its actions are in the interests of consumers.
It adds, “The desire for safe, innovative products will drive market growth, but continuing to grapple with misinformation, misconceptions and misunderstandings will cripple CBD’s potential before it can prove its value.”