A group of U.S. lawmakers, led by Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and James Comer (R-Ky.), have urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to “quickly adopt a policy of enforcement discretion and to consider issuing an interim final rule to regulate [cannabidiol (CBD)] as a dietary supplement and food additive while simultaneously moving forward with a robust framework for evaluating the safety and accurate labeling of these products.” The letter stated that the agency’s “current regulatory posture on CBD has created significant regulatory and legal uncertainty for participants in this quickly evolving industry. We are discouraged by FDA’s estimation that a rulemaking process could span 3 to 5 years. We believe there are more expeditious measures that FDA could take that would establish regulatory clarity while pursuing enforcement actions against bad actors.”

In the U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly took a different path in an effort to reach the same ends by proposing to amend the Senate appropriations bill to insert language that would compel FDA to issue temporary guidance on how it will enforce rules on the sale of products containing CBD. The proposed amendment would require the agency to inform Congress within 90 days about its progress in creating its regulatory policies on CBD and implement a temporary policy within 120 days.

The House of Representatives also received a letter from four banking industry organizations expressing support for the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019. The bill “would permit depository institutions to serve the needs of their customers in states where cannabis is legal.” According to the letter, the proposed legislation “provides a mechanism for the cannabis industry and its service providers to deposit their cash in regulated financial institutions, which allows our members to meet the needs of their communities and helps those communities reduce cash-motivated crimes, increase the efficiency of tax collections, and improve the financial transparency of the cannabis industry.”

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.