WASHINGTON, D. C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine today led a coalition of 37 Attorneys General urging federal cooperation with the states to protect consumers from false advertising and potential harms to their health from products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, including cannabidiol (CBD). In a public comment filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the AGs highlight the need for research into the risks and benefits of cannabinoid products to inform consumers and assist in state-level regulation. They also encourage the FDA to continue partnering with state consumer protection authorities as it considers guidelines for this emerging market.
“While CBD and other cannabis-derived products may benefit some consumers, we still have many questions about the effects of these products and about whether they are being manufactured safely and responsibly,” said AG Racine. “To keep consumers safe and help them make informed decisions, Attorneys General are encouraging the FDA to study these products and to continue to work with states on oversight for this emerging market.”
The Farm Bill, passed in December 2018, removed cannabis products containing less than .3% of THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, from the Schedule I list of drugs prohibited under the Controlled Substances Act. As a result, companies across the country have started to manufacture and sell varieties of cannabis commonly classified as “hemp.” Hemp contains little THC but large amounts of CBD, a compound that has been touted by some to treat a wide variety of health concerns.
The Farm Bill permits states to come up with their own “Comprehensive Regulatory Plan” to regulate the CBD industry within their borders. Those plans will be reviewed by the federal government for approval. In the interim, however, the CBD industry has expanded in the last six months and businesses are operating throughout the country without much oversight.
In their public comment to the FDA, the Attorneys General call for:
- State and federal cooperation around cannabis-derived products: As the primary enforcers of state laws and consumer protections, State AGs want to ensure the safety of CBD and other cannabis-derived products that are reaching consumers. AGs are also concerned that companies may rely on misleading advertising and unsubstantiated claims of therapeutic benefits to lure consumers to use their products. The letter urges the FDA to include State AGs in the process as the agency considers regulatory oversight in testing and manufacturing of these products.
- Continued study of the potential risks and benefits of these products: To keep consumers safe and help them make informed decisions, the AGs encourage the FDA to study how cannabis compounds work, in particular, and how they interact with drugs and dietary supplements. They also emphasize the need for an assessment of the risks these products pose to vulnerable populations, such as children, pregnant women, and the elderly. It is important that consumers have reliable risk and benefit information to make informed choices about initiating and continuing the use of these products.
The comment letter to the FDA is available at: https://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2019-07/NAAG_AG_Comment_to_FDA_on_CBD_and_Cannabis_Products.pdf
The multistate coalition was led by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine and Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and includes the states and territories of Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) works to protect and defend District residents, enforce District laws, and provide legal advice to D.C. government agencies. Karl A. Racine leads OAG as the first elected Attorney General of the District of Columbia. Visit to learn more.