May 19, 2021

Wyden, Paul, Merkley Introduce Bill to Update Regulations to Ensure Equal and Safe Access to Hemp-derived CBD Products

Washington, D.C. U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., today introduced legislation to ensure hemp-derived CBD products are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) like other legal products used in dietary supplements, foods and beverages – an action that is essential to protecting consumer safety and treating hemp producers fairly.

Currently, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act prohibits any new dietary ingredient, food, or beverage from entering the market if it has been studied or approved as a drug. The FDA has the authority to exempt items from this prohibition, but has yet to exempt hemp-derived CBD despite Congressional action to legalize its production and sale. Wyden, Paul and Merkley's Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act exempts hemp-derived CBD from this prohibition, allowing the FDA to regulate hemp-derived CBD like all other new dietary ingredients, foods, and beverages. 

“CBD products are legally being used and produced across the nation. Yet because the FDA has failed to update its regulations, consumers and producers remain in a regulatory gray zone,” Wyden said. “It's been more than two years since I worked with colleagues to have Congress legalize hemp and hemp-derived products. It's long past time for the FDA to get with the program, for the sake of American consumers and farmers.”

“Hemp-derived CBD products and businesses have earned their recognition in the marketplace, but the FDA, unfortunately, hasn't treated them like any other food additive or dietary supplement,” Dr. Paul said. “The Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act directs the FDA to regulate hemp products properly and provides a huge relief to hemp farmers, processors, and merchants.”

“Every day that the FDA drags its feet to update its CBD regulations, hemp farmers are left guessing about how their products will be regulated, and real economic gains for workers and business owners in Oregon and across the country are left on the table,” said Merkley. “Hemp-derived CBD products are already widely available, and we all need FDA to issue clear regulations for them just like they do for other foods, drinks, and dietary supplements.”

The Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act:

  • Gives hemp-derived CBD products an opportunity to lawfully be used in dietary supplements, foods and beverages under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. 
  • Prioritizes consumer safety, requiring manufacturers to comply with all existing federal regulations for the products that contain CBD. 
  • Ensures that these products are properly labeled. 

A one-page summary of the legislation can be found here.

Bill text can be found here.

Dawson Hobbs, Executive Vice President, Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America: “The lack of clarity on the legality of hemp-derived CBD products used in foods and beverages has been a significant source of confusion in the marketplace. America's family-owned wholesalers are federally permitted and regulated businesses that need clarity from federal regulators regarding the legal status of CBD products. We applaud this action directing the Food and Drug Administration to affirm that CBD is legal in dietary supplements, including food and beverages. It will allow America’s wholesalers to continue providing U.S. consumers with the most diverse product selection in the world.”

Jen Daulby, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Consumer Brands Association: “The Consumer Brands Association commends Senators Wyden, Paul and Merkley for shining a spotlight on a product that has been a catalyst for a conflicting patchwork of state laws and regulations. Consumer Brands has long advocated for a national regulatory framework for CBD that empowers FDA to establish smart, consistent regulations and gives them the resources they need. Today’s action is a first step in delivering these much-needed regulations for American consumers.”

Jonathan Miller, General Counsel, U.S. Hemp Roundtable: “The Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act is a huge win for American consumers, farmers, and the hemp industry as a whole. Consumers will benefit from knowing that CBD products must be manufactured according to FDA-approved CBD processes. Struggling American farmers will benefit from a stabilized marketplace. It also will stimulate innovation and job creation in the hemp industry. The U.S. Hemp Roundtable is deeply grateful to Senator Ron Wyden for crafting this smart, sensible, and critical legislation, and to Senator Rand Paul and Senator Jeff Merkley for serving as the original co-sponsors.”

Michael McGuffin, President, American Herbal Products Association: “The leadership of Senators Wyden, Paul, and Merkley in resolving this matter is greatly appreciated. Americans deserve to have assurances that the hemp and CBD products they include in their food and dietary supplement choices are properly regulated. AHPA supports this legislation since it would clarify the lawful pathways for bringing such products to market.”

Scott Melville, President & CEO, Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA): “We strongly commend Senators Wyden, Paul and Merkley for their bipartisan bill which will provide a pathway for CBD to be legally marketed as a dietary supplement. A lawful regulatory pathway will provide long-term certainty in the hemp-derived CBD market and protect consumers from potentially unsafe products.”

Angi Bailey, President, Oregon Farm Bureau: “We are so thankful to both Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden for their steadfast support for one of Oregon’s fastest growing agricultural crops. This important legislation will ensure consumers have access to non-intoxicating hemp and hemp derived ingredients in both food products and dietary supplements. Providing consumers with the assurance that the CBD products they are purchasing are safe and property labeled is of utmost importance to the industry.”

Eric Steenstra, Executive Director, Vote Hemp: “It is critical that FDA begin regulating CBD products to ensure that consumers are protected and top quality compliant producers are the only ones on store shelves. Hemp derived CBD should be regulated the same as all other food and dietary supplements and we thank Senator Wyden, Senator Paul, and Senator Merkley for their leadership and support.”

Patrick Atagi, Board Chair, National Industrial Hemp Council: “Last year, nearly $15 billion in economic benefits were left out of the economy because CBD wasn’t regulated appropriately. If the FDA can’t act, Congress should fulfill its oversight role and pass this legislation. NIHC supports Senators Wyden, Paul, and Merkley’s recognition of hemp and CBD as an ingredient in both food and supplements, and we applaud their legislative approach to ensure that it’s regulated accordingly.  This bill will deliver safe products to the marketplace and create a hemp economy that works for everyone.”

Courtney N. Moran, LL.M., Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association (OIHFA): “We are grateful for the continued leadership of Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Rand Paul (R-KY) in advancing hemp policy, creating economic opportunities and broadening protections for our industry stakeholders. This bill is an important step forward not only for the cannabinoid sector, but for the grain and fiber sectors investing in infrastructure to open the food, animal feed, and supplements markets.”

Brian Furnish, Owner, Hempin Hill Farm: “I want to Thank Senator Paul for being a co-sponsor of the Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act. This is a much needed step in moving the hemp industry forward. This bill will clarify that hemp byproducts are treated as a food or dietary supplement.  Senator Paul has been an advocate for hemp legalization since the very beginning.”

Katie Moyer, Owner, Kentucky Hemp Works: “I am so grateful for Senator Paul's continued support of the U.S. hemp industry. This bill will take us one step further in ending the Drug War mentality and allow hemp farmers and processors to not only break even, but to flourish in their fields. Current regulations pit state and federal bureaucracies against our farmers, and I've never been prouder of my Senator for consistently looking for ways to get government off the farm.”

Derek Selznick, Executive Director, Kentucky Guild of Brewers: “The Kentucky Guild of Brewers would like to thank Senator Paul and all of the other sponsors of this bill. Allowing breweries to use safe products like CBD in beer allows us to continue to innovate and respond to consumer demand by offering new and unique beers. Innovation is at the core of our industry and this is one more way we can further diversify our product portfolio.”