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FDA Seeks More Authority to Oversee CBD Products

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Jonathan Havens, a former legal counsel on the F.D.A. who now represents corporations within the CBD industry, said many growers and manufacturers had grown frustrated with the F.D.A.’s inaction, which has contributed to a chaotic marketplace that has created confusion for consumers and financial uncertainty for businesses.

“The F.D.A. has never desired to cope with this issue,” he said. “And although that’s regrettable, it could be less regrettable if we knew that in 2018 and Congress could have handled it, particularly at a time when Congress wasn’t so sharply divided and bills more recurrently emerged from each houses and reached the president’s desk.”

Amid the regulatory vacuum, greater than two dozen states have taken up CBD laws, producing a patchwork of laws.

Members of Congress have long expressed impatience with the F.D.A. on CBD regulation. Last September, a bipartisan group of legislators sent a letter to the agency complaining about its lack of cooperation on proposed laws aimed toward resolving the matter.

On Thursday, several lawmakers who’ve worked on the problem expressed guarded optimism that Congress would give you the option to tackle the problem.

“I’m encouraged by the F.D.A.’s announcement today and searching forward to finding a path forward,” Representative Angie Craig, Democrat of Minnesota, said in a press release, echoing remarks from Representative Morgan Griffith, a Virginia Republican who previously joined Ms. Craig to sponsor CBD laws within the House.

But other legislators struck a more combative tone. Representative James Comer, a Republican from Kentucky and the brand new chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, said he would use his committee position to analyze the F.D.A.’s decision to shift the matter to Congress.

“The F.D.A. failed for too long to take steps to make sure the security of hemp-derived dietary products, putting the health and safety of the American people in danger,” he wrote. “We’d like to make sure that the F.D.A. isn’t using this as a possibility simply to leverage more authority and resources from Congress.”

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