Federal lawmakers have agreed on a $1.4-trillion government-wide 2020 spending package. The package contains two spending bills, one of which touches on hemp-derived CBD and provides the FDA and USDA with $2 million for research, policy evaluation, market surveillance and issuance of an enforcement discretion policy.
Last year saw the longest-running government shutdown in U.S. history. To avoid a repeat in 2020, the House and Senate have settled on an appropriations bill that passed a House vote this week and is expected to clear the Senate soon.
Fiscal year 2020 began Oct. 1. By that date, lawmakers are expected to enact a federal spending budget that appropriates federal spending funds to all 12 appropriations subcommittees.
Like every year since 1997, an agreement wasn’t achieved by the Oct. 1 deadline, so the government is relying on temporary measures to keep afloat until Dec. 20, when a government shutdown will begin if an agreement is not in place.
The legislation instructs the FDA to develop a policy of enforcement discretion for hemp products containing CBD. The agency is also instructed to conduct a market-wide research of CBD products and perform a sample study that analyzes products against their labeled contents.
“While providing funding for testing is a positive first step, unfortunately, today’s action falls short of what is needed to protect consumers. The future of the U.S. hemp industry and the farmers and producers who provide it are directly tied to smart regulations for CBD, which includes FDA establishing a safe level of consumption so consumers are protected,” said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., the president and CEO of the Natural Products Association.
More resources should be allocated to CBD regulation in order to avoid a public health crisis like the one tied to vaping, in Fabricant's view.