Mainstream retail agents are slowly opening up to the vast possibilities of CBD or cannabidiol for manufacturing beauty and wellness products. CBD is extracted out of hemp and does not cause a high like that of marijuana. These products are gaining record popularity amidst legal confusions for being of great assistance in helping tackle sleep problems and reducing anxiety.
Although the legal status of CBD remains under a veil of confusion, retailers are trying to reap the biggest benefits out of this booming industry. As per Investment firm Cowen & Co., retail sales of CBD consumer products are estimated to have crossed over $2 billion in 2018. This figure is expected to hit the $16 billion mark within 2025.
CBD Future Plans
Growing demand has led to a market filled with CBD infused offerings ranging from bath balms to dog treats in the past few months. Martha Stewart a domestic diva has been associating for the past few months with Canada’s Canopy Growth Corp. for coming up with fresh bunch of CBD products.
Simon Property Group, one of the nation’s largest mall owner collaborated with a manufacturer of CBD goods to open around 100 kiosks within mid-summer in its U.S. malls. Similarly, Authentic Fitness is targeting the fall months for launching its CBD oils, foot creams and soaps under the brand name of Nine West. CVS Health is also going to initiate the sale of CBD-infused lotions, creams, salves and sprays in its 800 plus stores sprawling across its seven states. Its big-time rivals Rite Aid and Walgreens are also expected to follow suit in days to come.
The high-end CBD retailers can charge anything ranging from $12-$150 per ounce for their offerings. While Barneys New York has sprung up an outlet in Beverly Hills, California for selling CBD-infused creams apart from accessories like hand blown glass bongs, Neiman Marcus has added to its existing product line-up with five new CBD-infused lotion soaps, balms and masks.
Matthew Mazzucca, the creative director at Barneys New York was quoted as saying that, “There’s definitely a huge opportunity for expansion.” However, he was aware of the legal hurdles which can slow down the entire process.
Brands like Walmart are placing a safe bet by waiting for accompanying legislation to take shape. Target on the other hand is currently monitoring the situation. It is imperative note here that Target sold products having hemp extracts in 2017 but yanked them once the legislative setup started getting heated up.
Online giant Amazon is also steering clear of CBD related products as of now. According to its spokeswoman Cecilia Fan, the company presently prohibits the sale of CBD-infused products and remove them as and when the same gets posted on their portal.
CBD is known to treat anxiety and pain while also assisting people suffering from sleep deficiency so that they can concentrate more on upcoming work. However, most of these studies were conducted on mice and rats in test tubes which creates serious doubt regarding its authenticity and applicability on humans. Although research has also been conducted on humans, the number is not substantial enough.
Drugs which have passed the scrutiny of U.S. Food and Drug Administration can be marked as completely safe and effective means of preventing diseases and treating medical conditions. But in many cases, CBD-manufacturers try to trick the general public by beating around the bush with misleading and confusing words.
Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist and professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco feels that, “We are a more anxious society and people are looking for cures. There’s a growing distrust in business and pharma and so people are wanting to find cures that seem more real and wholesome.”
Former food scientist from Indianapolis, 46-year-old Amy Nichols has been using CBD oils for fighting various symptoms of an autoimmune illness for quite some time now. “For me, this is a more natural solution to treating symptoms that I am having instead of taking pain killers,” added Nichols who is presently working as a sales representative of the CBD oil brand which she has been using for health benefits. “I have more energy. I get more done. I am in less pain. I am more active,” she happily concludes.
Patchy Legislative Framework
The regulatory framework pertaining to CBD has been varying between states and cities. The regulators of New York city have completely prohibited outlets from selling CBD-infused beverages and foods. Retailers have also been threatened with levy of hefty fines if they break the guidelines by any chance. States like California and Ohio have also followed suit.
The governor of Maine on the other hand has signed an emergency bill for showing a green signal to the production of CBD-infused products after warnings were given by state inspectors for pulling them off shelves earlier this year. A farm bill was passed in the latter half of last year which gave regulatory authority to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and several of its states to regulate the production of industrial hemp thus opening the floodgate for production of more hemp-derived CBD products.
However, FDA was given the ultimate authority to regulate food supply. The agency recently warned about the illegality of adding THC or CBD to any form of animal or human food or beverages. Even dietary supplements with CBD infusions have been branded with an illegal tag.
Bigger market players like Walgreens and CVS have decided to go ahead with lotions and creams as FDA has not expressed any concern in this department. Others are taking a chance and selling CBD-infused supplements and drinks with the hope of earning profit. Whitt Steineker, a Birmingham, Alabama, attorney feels that,“They have determined the reward is worth the risk.”
Although the landscape of CBD future still remains unclear with further scope of guidance and rules for being written, Steineker holds the view that, “Now that hemp is legal, I think the USDA and state departments of agriculture are interested in seeing what type of crop it will be and what its applications are. They’ll move with the speed governments often move with … (but) by the 2020 growing season, people will have a better understanding how to operate within the law.”
Kamala Harris Jokes About CBD to Make a Serious Point on Cannabis Reform
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) joked about how entrepreneurs are promoting cannabidiol or CBD lotion be rubbed on the skin as a cure-all at the same time that people of color struggle to enter the cannabis industry due to being targeted by the nation’s war on drugs.
Harris firmly pointed out social equity as a need in the growing marijuana industry.
Stance on cannabis
When she was still a prosecutor, Harris opposed reform efforts on the cannabis market. As a 2020 presidential candidate for the Democrats, she now recognizes the necessity of legislation that fully legalizes it. She said in her Cosmopolitan interview that those under prohibition enforcement should be allowed participation in the burgeoning market.
Harris stated that America’s mass incarceration system is a source of shame and is the reason for the incarceration, in particular, of brown and black men due to the failure of the war on drugs. She said that this is why she supports the legalization of marijuana and wants an equitable market when it happens.
However, Harris also talked about the cannabis industry, and how CBD is poised as a miracle remedy that can cure every problem by simply rubbing it all over the body. She noted how sellers are making a lot of money selling weed, calling the industry a massive cash cow.
She went on to mention brown and black men who are tagged as felons by selling the same. She called it unfair and wrong and a travesty.
A reform plan for marijuana
Harris further laid out her reform plans for the cannabis market, citing previously incarcerated folks who were convicted of a felony be considered for expungement. She also plans to prioritize them should they want to return to selling cannabis. She added that they should be first in line if marijuana legalization will be realized.
The candidate has sponsored a Senate bill that moves to de-schedule cannabis federally and offers reinvestments and expungements for people and communities affected by the drug war.
However, Harris received criticism for being previously opposed to the marijuana reform. In a skit last September, Saturday Night Live featured the US’ “cool aunt” who gives out weed but later on arrests those who were holding the substance in their possession.
Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) also slammed Harris during a Democratic debate for being instrumental to the incarceration of low-level cannabis felons during her stint as a prosecutor.
Another presidential candidate, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), scrutinized Harris, for taking a swipe at her being a past user of cannabis.
Cannabis sativa L., the source plant species for marijuana and hemp variety, is where cannabidiol or CBD is extracted from. This active component is said to have therapeutic benefits and is marketed as an infusion to many products, including skincare, makeup, pet items, and more. There is a serious lack of studies and clinical trials to support the claims, but users patronize CBD due to its alleged effectiveness.
NYS CBD Regulation in Limbo as People Wait for Governor’s Signature
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) finally released its regulations on CBD to give more explicit federal guidelines on hemp cultivation that produces CBD.
In New York, however, lines are still blurry as the bill approved by the State Legislature that aims to regulate CBD across the state is yet to be enacted upon by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Wild West in CBD Market
Jen Metzger, the Senate bill sponsor, expressed her hope that the NY Governor will sign the bill soon. She sponsored the proposed legislation to regulate cannabidiol, a compound derived from the hemp plant variety of Cannabis sativa L.
It’s the same source plant as marijuana, which has high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the chemical responsible for the psychoactive effects of the illegal substance.
According to Metzger, who is Hudson Valley Democrat, it’s the Wild West in the CBD market since there is no regulation of the said product.
The bill proposes routine testing for CBD products sold across New York and observance of proper labeling to prevent confusion and misunderstanding about the product’s ingredients and additives. It also includes guidelines for New York farmers regarding hemp cultivation and profit share.
Risks of unregulated CBD
CBD is currently in a legal gray area. The 2018 Farm Bill essentially legalized hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.3% of THC content and is also federally allowed for sale.
However, CBD-containing beverages and food are still illegal for the market. The New York City Health Department stopped restaurants and eateries in the state from selling CBD edibles and drinks since consumables with CBD have not yet been approved as a safe food additive.
Recently, a mysterious THC-related illness affected thousands across the country and claimed dozens of lives due to the use of a particular vape product. Metzger stated that CBD is not a common vaping ingredient. She relayed her concerns about the lack of regulation causing more illnesses since products may bear unfounded claims in the packaging.
Metzger pointed out that worrying about CBD might be necessary due to a lack of quality standards.
CBD is commonly used to relieve stress and help in insomnia and anxiety. It has more claimed therapeutic benefits, and the FDA has approved a CBD-containing drug used to treat seizure disorders in children.
Calls for more CBD studies
Metzger encourages more research on cannabidiol and its alleged effects, whether positive or negative.
Metzger and co-legislator Donna Lupardo presented the measure during a 2019 legislative session as soon as they realized that the comprehensive bill being worked on was not winning an approval. This bill was supposedly for the legalization of adult recreational marijuana use.
Metzger and Lupardo are the chairperson of their respective agricultural committees.
Gov. Cuomo has allied with three neighboring states to work on a comprehensive bill about vaping and cannabis use, which could be up for voting in 2020. However, Metzger said a concrete CBD regulation on or before the year ends still necessary.
Chuck Schumer Calls for FDA to Hasten CBD Rules Issuance
Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate minority leader, speaks about his request to the Food and Drug Administration or FDA to expedite the issuance of guidelines regarding hemp-derived CBD and its lawful marketing.
Schumer made a statement during a press call last Wednesday to call for regulatory clarity that is currently hampering the growth of the cannabidiol industry. He also mentioned the federal legalization of hemp and hemp-derived products in the 2018 Farm Bill.
However, the FDA is yet to publish official rules that allow sellers to market their products. In New York, most hemp cultivators also produce cannabidiol, according to Schumer.
Appealing to the FDA
Schumer cited a letter that he and colleagues in the Senate addressed to Ned Sharpless, an FDA acting commissioner. They collectively asked to show the agency’s outline regarding its plans for an official CBD regulatory framework and the timeline of finalization and implementation of enforcement policies concerning the substance. The group asked for an answer within 90 days.
According to Schumer, the CBD industry is a potential billion-dollar market in New York, which could bring in countless jobs and improved the economy along with its rise. However, he also stated that for these to be realized, critical players in the industry, such as the farmers, producers, consumers, and sellers should have a strict set of rules to follow.
He called on the FDA to perform its duty promptly and issue the guidance on CBD and its classification, quality, marketing, labeling, and sales.
Schumer believes that the FDA regulations on CBD are critical in the development of the industry and to protect consumers by setting stringent quality control benchmarks.
FDA stance on CBD
The FDA has expressed its awareness of the Congress’ request for CBD regulation amid the legalization of hemp. However, the agency points out that there are specific regulatory challenges they are still working to overcome.
The Cannabidiol or CBD-containing product that FDA recognizes is the approved Epidiolex medication. It is a prescription drug used to treat intractable epilepsy. CBD edibles, on the other hand, are yet to be FDA-approved and may need alternative pathways for regulation.
Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA commissioner, stated in an interview that the federal government should include themselves in state marijuana program regulation. He suggested that congressional involvement may be needed to make CBD marketing lawful if they want to hasten the process of developing rules.
It’s not only Schumer that reached out to the FDA. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate majority leader, called on the FDA to release guidelines on enforcement discretion so producers, manufacturers, and owners in the CBD industry can do business without worrying about being penalized. McConnel led the inclusion of hemp legalization in the said agriculture legislation.
FDA stated that they are particular about CBD companies that make baseless claims about the therapeutic properties of CBD, which the agency considers to be highly inappropriate. The FDA, along with the Federal Trade Commission, issued a warning notice to a particular CBD business that violated the standard.
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