The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a press release on the evening of Monday, November 25 concerning its recent enforcement actions and a regulatory decision concerning products that contain cannabidiol (CBD).  The Warning Letters follow FDA’s trend of focusing its CBD product enforcement on unapproved drug claims.  The regulatory decision stated in the press release concerns FDA’s decision that CBD is not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use as a food additive.

The fifteen (15) Warning Letters, each dated November 22, 2019, were issued to companies for marketing various CBD products. The products identified in the Warning Letters spanned conventional foods, dietary supplements and animal products.  FDA made specific mention in several Warning Letters about statements regarding the use of CBD products in infants and children. Continue Reading FDA States CBD Is Not GRAS for Use in Food, Issues More Warning Letters

Last week, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (the “CDC”) announced what the agency considers to be an important breakthrough in their investigation on vaping illnesses. While the CDC has not ruled out other possible factors, the investigation has revealed a correlation between those suffering from symptoms and Vitamin E acetate. The CDC considers the compound to be a “potential toxin of concern”. Of the 29 lung tissue samples tested, all  had detectable levels of Vitamin E acetate. Tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) or its metabolites were found in 82% of the samples and 16 of 26 patient sample contained Nicotine metabolites.

These results are consistent with a findings by New York health officials in September and make sense since Vitamin E acetate is used as an additive in THC and other vaping products. While there may be multiple causes for this outbreak of illnesses the CDC finds  the correlations found to Vitamin E acetate and vaping related illnesses in 10 states to be “noteworthy”. Pending the completion of the investigation, the CDC has recommended people refrain from the use of ALL vaping products with THC, no matter where they are sourced.

Simultaneously, the Trump administration has indicated forthcoming changes to laws and regulations surrounding vaping and will deliver final decisions next week. The President has indicated the possibility of raising the legal age of use for vaping devices to 21.

As a result of this guidance and dire warning from the CDC more states and localities may implement stricter restrictions on vaping devices and substances.

Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (the “USDA”) released a draft interim final rule regarding the establishment of a domestic hemp production program. We expect the interim final rule to be published in the Federal Register in the next day or so, which will initiate the 60-day public comment period. This rule establishes rules to approve state and tribal plans to regulate the production of hemp pursuant to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, or the 2018 Farm Bill. Continue Reading USDA Interim Hemp Regulations

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019 (“SAFE Banking”) by a vote of 321-103. The final vote, which required 2/3 majority of the House, included 229 Democrats and 91 Republications.

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), the bill’s sponsor who first introduced the legislation back in 2013, amended the bill ahead of Wednesday’s floor vote to broaden its GOP appeal.

Continue Reading SAFE Banking Passes the House

Beginning this summer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through its Office of Criminal Investigations, launched a criminal probe to investigate the vaping-related lung illnesses that have affected over five hundred people across the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a parallel investigation tracking the incidences of the illness. Both the FDA and CDC are working with state and local health officials to investigate the increasing number of cases nationwide.

Continue Reading FDA Announces Criminal Investigations of Vaping-Related Illnesses

A California federal judge recently reminded cannabis trademark owners that the manufacture and sale of cannabis products remain illegal under federal law, so they cannot challenge federal trademark registrations based on common law prior rights.

Continue Reading Cannabis’ Unlawful Status Continues to Frustrate Brand Owners

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent Warning Letters to three companies that sell products containing cannabidiol (CBD) and advertise that the products prevent, treat, or cure disease without substantiation of the purported health benefits. In a post on Husch Blackwell’s Food & Ag Insights blog, Emily Lyons explains the FTC’s actions and the effect they have on the advertising of CBD products.

Continue Reading FTC Issues Warning Letters to Three CBD Companies