Cannabis legalization has taken all over the U.S., lawmakers and agencies have been working round the clock to ensure safe use of cannabis for consumers. On the other hand, multi-national organizations and companies are coming up with new line of CBD based products to cater to a larger audience which supports cannabis legalization.
While it is already legal in Kentucky, Indiana and Pennsylvania, lawmakers in Ohio are on a track to make CBD oil derived hemp legal in the Buckeye State too.
Senate bill 57 has already cleared the Senate and is now headed to the house for further action. Senator Sean O’Brien of Warren is a cosponsor to the bill, he expects the bill to make it to the Governor DeWine’s desk, and get his signature.
“We’re trying to get this done quickly because we recognize not just the importance of the oils but hemp in general,” O’Brien says.
The bill has a broad bipartisan support and would create an industrial hemp agricultural program in the state –which would allow cultivation of hemp that contains negligible or less than 3% concentration of THC.
“It could be Ohio’s third-biggest cash crop in the near future,” said O’Brien.
State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan says, “It’s been taking us a while to implement the people and structure and put everything in place. Now I think we’ve started discussions about hemp because we have the medical marijuana aspect going on in the state of Ohio.”
Josh Runyan, a manager across the state line in Sharon, PA, Tobacco says that the enthusiasm for CBD oil based products and their potential health benefits has been around the corner for several years.
“We have noticed a good growth of customers coming from Ohio,” Runyan says. “So our CBD sales have definitely boosted.”
But, unless the government legalizes cannabis in Ohio, no online retailer would take the risk of a legal liability or any cases of marijuana trafficking when the ultimate motive is to simply supply goods for the benefits of the customers.
“Being that they’re sending it to a state that it’s not legal in, that’s a little bit different versus a person coming to the state and buying it…in person,” says Runyan.
The Senate bill 57 would also establish rules throughout the state agricultural department to ensure that people understand and know what they are buying. Until then, Runyan suggests to “do some research yourself. Don’t be afraid to look up the benefits of CBD compared to hemp oil. Hemp oil is completely different.”
Ohio is currently banking on a boost to the economy of the state after the bill has been passed and becomes a law. Companies are paving ways for new products such as medicinal pills, roll-ons, creams, CBD lotions, beauty products and even edibles.
“The farmers are going to increase their jobs and output in making this hemp, the manufacturers of the oil, more people can sell them in their shops and that’s going to increase the viability of the product,” says O’Brien. “It’s a win-win for Ohio.”
Consumer Reports says that a wide range of CBD products derived from hemp do not include THC level concentration on their labels, which is not correct. Also, cannabis plants absorb fertilizers and pesticides present in the soil, one should always ask about the origin of the product that they are buying.
Ask questions whether they have been tested and verified or not, how they were grown and manufactured, etc. Steer clear from any products that claim heightened medical reliefs such as cancer treatments, complete expulsion of stress and more severe diseases.
Recently the FTC and FDA issued a joint warning to 3 companies which marketed their CBD based products with heavy medical claims that they carry the potential to treat ailments like cancer. The Food and Drug Administration is yet to set the guidebook for companies on producing CBD products for consumers, especially edibles. As of now, it supports CBD oil only to treat two rare forms of epilepsy – according to their research.
Retailers Walk The Safe Path With CBD Infused Beauty Products
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.”
To Have Or Not To Have! CBD Confusion Rages In New York City
The state officials of New York state were one of the pioneers to announce the infusion of CBD in chocolates and tea for alleviating anxiety and similar ailments without creating the high of marijuana. However, the health inspectors of New York City have recently seized CBD-infused products worth thousands of dollars from the Fat Cat Kitchen and similar restaurants. Its owners have also been warned from selling the same or face possible penalties. These incidents were reported within just weeks of CBD becoming legal all across the country.
Various inconsistencies have emerged in state, local and federal rules pertaining to CBD in the New York City which has made its growing business community succumb to heavy losses.C.J. Holm, the owner of the Fat Cat Kitchen pointed out that, “I’m trying to be compliant with the law, but no one seems to be fully aware of what the law is and isn’t.”
Piecemeal legalization of marijuana has lead to the growth of consumer interest in CBD-infused edibles, topical creams and tinctures. This also received the legal certification of being sold as a recreational or medical drug in 33 of its states in spite of being banned by federal laws.
Interest Of Food Giants
A report published by the Cowen Washington Research Group in 2018 revealed that an estimated $300 million was spent by U.S. consumers on CBD food and drinks in the same year. This led to growing interest of other food and drink manufacturers like the Coca-Cola Company and many more for reaping its unearthed potential.
2018 Farm Bill
This was enacted for clearing up the legal status of CBD by legalizing usage of cannabis extracts derived from the hemp plant. These are known to contain extremely low levels of THC which is the main psychoactive trigger in marijuana.
The law gave rise to further confusion in terms of business houses wishing to sell CBD infused food or drink. It became almost impossible to abide by one set of regulations without breaching the another.
A guidance was issued by the officials belonging to the State Department of Agriculture in December terming “chocolates with CBD drizzle,”“CBD tea,” and other CBD edibles as legal provided they were manufactured and marketed as dietary supplements. It is imperative to note here that these supplements have to adhere to more stringent guidelines when compared to ordinary food.
The department also made it very clear that doing the same will be in direct contradiction to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rules as it has specifically termed addition of CBD to food as a totally unlawful act. The agency had shown green signal to a CBD-infused drug for the very first time last year which paved the path for more confusion to follow.The health inspectors of New York City are seriously considering this legislation.
The owner of Fat Cat Kitchen was thus taken by surprise when all her CBD infused snacks, honey and even raw cookie dough was confiscated in February. Similar scenes could also be seen in four other eateries spread across the city. Holm and her peer restaurant owners received a letter from the department which notified that the seizures shall be initiated by inspectors post 1st July.
Till now it is unclear about the sale of CBD edibles by the cafes and restaurants as dietary supplements in spite of receiving the legal backing of New York state officials.
Standpoint Of FDA & Health Department
Health Department spokesman Michael Lanza revealed that they were simply acting as per the ban of FDA on CBD-infused food and drink. However, FDA spokesman declined commenting on the New York regulations.
Maine, Colorado and some other states have tried to pass laws for allowing CBD infusion to food and drinks. Although CBD is presently a listed drug, FDA might allow its enlisting as a dietary supplement or food additive in days to come. A public forum shall be held in Maryland on May 31st for addressing this burning issue.
CBD Vendors Speak
Holm and her fellow CBD vendors are trying to devise their very own strategies which shall be compliant with the legal standpoints. Igor Yakovlev, the manufacturer of CBD-infused BeezyBeez Honey has started printing a disclaimer stating that his product has not yet been “evaluated or approved” by FDA.
Holm consulted her lawyer and came to the conclusion that FDA has imposed a ban on the addition of CBD to food meant for “interstate commerce.”This is why she feels it is perfectly fine to sell CBD coffee provided the extract is both produced and processed in New York.
Cortland based farmer Allan Gandelman, who founded the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association earlier this year vented out his frustration by saying that, “It is so confusing because you can ask three different attorneys and get three different answers.” He further added that, “so you decide you’re going to blaze a path forward, and produce a product that customers really want, and go for it until the government gets its act together.”
Chicago’s black community wants an equity-first legalized cannabis policy
The prohibition of marijuana is nearing a conclusion in Illinois, and the country is poised to become the upcoming major market in the $9 billion cannabis sector. However, will Illinois’ black communities find some of the monetary benefits–notably Chicago‘s black areas which were ravaged by the war on drugs?
Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker will make good on his election promise to legalize cannabis, pending a vote at the General Assembly early next year. However, the larger question is if the new governor is going to do right by elephants in Chicago and other areas of the country. Can he exclude blacks from staking their claim in the sector –frequently earmarked for and commanded by a white, privileged and well-financed group? Or, how will he create a detailed strategy to guarantee black possession of cannabis shops and project opportunities in this new market?
Historically, casual jobs that existed beneath prohibition often lack an equitable transition into black ownership in a formal, legalized market. Take alcohol prohibition. Though bootlegging alcohol was prohibited throughout the 13 decades of prohibition in Chicago, it had been among the very few professions in the 1920s which have been available to all races, similar to the casual cannabis market is now. Yet now, just 5% of those wineries in the USA are black-owned.
These days, the legal bud sector is anticipated to be worth $9 billion, but just 4.3% of cannabis companies in the U.S. are owned or depending on black people. This should not be true in Chicago–a city with among the greatest levels of black unemployment and also the best democratic wealth gaps in the country. This is a town where we’ve communities such as West Garfield Park, where 81% of young black men are jobless.
Let’s not repeat history by excluding blacks from involvement in the financial boom of legalized cannabis precisely the exact same manner they had been excluded from profiting from the ending of prohibition. Pritzker gets the opportunity to become one of the very first U.S. governors to put micro-reparations for in-state blacks on account of the injuries their communities undergone via the war on drugs. Blacks, after all, remain 3.73 occasions more likely to be arrested for marijuana offenses in the U.S. than whites.
So now’s your time to arrange for workers’ rights and negotiate terms of what black possession in the marijuana industry resembles.
Illinois requires an Equity First Cannabis legalization policy, one which guarantees that people in low income, disenfranchised communities have a chance to take part in the legal supply of cannabis and gain financially from legalizing cannabis.
State legislators must devote to keeping 30 percent of Chicago cannabis dispensary permits for black inhabitants because blacks constitute 30 percent of the city’s inhabitants. Legislators must employ a sliding-scale dispensary licensing charge system and devote funds for coaching on cannabis farming and extract.
Illinois must follow the lead that California has taken with its legislation AB 1793. They need to launch those incarcerated in state and local penitentiaries for possession of cannabis and speedy monitor expungement for all those inside and outside with cannabis arrests within their own backgrounds. They have to alter legislation and parole drug screenings to omit cannabis and keep black involvement in this critical financial change in Illinois.
Pritzker is on the brink of earning one of the largest decisions at the onset of his governorship at 2019. The cannabis legalization coverage he suggests has the capability to make a background for the nation by building a place for black entrepreneurs in the dining table, like the town of Oakland failed with its equity license program. The country often recognizes the obstacles to economic equity to the black community, obstacles brought on by systematic racism and the war on drugs, but its own policies seldom correct those inequities.
Placing equity should be Pritzker’s devotion to correct the wrongs of the war on drugs and also cause a new age of racial fairness in the state of Illinois.
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