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CBD State Laws Sending Farmers into Uncertainty at Taunton

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CBD Tauton Laws

Dighton Avenue has seen the growth of 101 hemp plants in a hemp-growing operation ever since they were planted a month ago. According to Andrew Wilkinson and his partner Adam Souza, these hemp plants are ready to be harvested within October.

Looking For Clarity

Like Wilkinson and Souza, many young hemp entrepreneurs in Taunton are still waiting for a clear signal on what kinds of CBD infused products can be sold in shops and stores without any repercussions from the law. CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is obtained from hemp. Although hemp is a close relative of the Cannabis sativa plant, unlike its derivative marijuana, hemp has a very little amount of THC, the major psychoactive component that can give users a “high”. CBD is not psychoactive and has been shown to have some health benefits. The hemp plant is also industrially produced to manufacture ropes, clothes and some consumer products, making it a valuable resource for international business. Due to the uncertain murky state laws, selling CBD-infused products is still largely difficult in the USA, although countries like Canada have advanced far in CBD regulations.

Entrepreneurs Are Still Hopeful

Wilkinson and Souza have mentioned that there is still some hope, now that a bill has been introduced in June in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The bill was produced as a response to a statement regarding sale 0f hemp products. The policy statement was issued and earlier in June and will soon be signed into law by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Resources. For the policy to be signed, the Legislature may have to go for emergency legislation, which was done in Maine last March. In Maine, the bill legalized the sale and production of food and additives containing hemp derived products. As of June, the policy statement issued from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources explicitly prohibits the sale of any dietary supplement or food infused with CBD.

CBD Business Slowly Blooming

The bill was filed by state Representative Mark Cusack, who hopes that with its approval, the restrictions on CBD will be eliminated, by declaring that CBD is not a controlled substance and that anything containing CBD should be considered as ingestible foods. The Good Vibes Wellness Center on Weir Street sells many kinds of CBD products such as chocolate bars, gummies, and liquid tinctures. According to Deborah Black, the co-owner of the shop, the restrictive policies haven’t yet affected the shop’s business, which opened this April. She mentioned that all her products are manufactured by licensed authorities and tested within Massachusetts by a laboratory who specialize in marijuana testing. None of her products are sold as dietary supplements. Tinctures applied under the tongue and chocolates fall into the murky parts of the law according to Black, who also states that CBD is incapable of intoxicating.

Future Plans

Both Souza and Wilkinson belong to the Massachusetts Hemp Coalition, who are trying to push an emergency bill to the Legislature. They hope to gain investors so that they can gradually become the first mass processors of CBD-infused oil. Manufacturers in Massachusetts still outsource their purchases of CBD products from other states who have far more relaxed laws such as Connecticut and Sacramento. Their processing facility may charge a fee or percentage of crop yields. They call their farm Herban Acres. Wilkinson is a full-time employee at a medical lab and established a vegetable farm in 2018. With the passing of the Federal Farm Bill in 2018, he took this as an opportunity to make more money as hemp is valuable.

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Common Drug Tests Cannot Tell Difference Between CBD and THC

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Common Drug tests can't tell cbd from thc

Some people are getting in trouble due to returning a positive result in a drug test after taking cannabidiol or CBD.

Mark Pennington, a resident of Colorado, relayed to the New York Times how he almost lost the joint custody of his 2-year-old son after his ex-girlfriend took a hair follicle from the child and had it tested for drugs at a specific laboratory. The result showed positive for tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is the psychoactive component in marijuana.

Pennington worked at Colorado Hemp Honey, a company that sells raw honey infused with CBD. He stated that he was letting his son take the CBD honey, which is non-intoxicating, unlike THC, which is still mostly illegal.

CBD legality and confusion

Both CBD and THC are compounds found in Cannabis sativa L.; however, cannabidiol or CBD is legal provided that it is derived from the hemp variety of the said source plant. Last December, President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill, which legalizes hemp and its derived products as long as it does not contain more than 0.3% of THC.

Frank Conrad, Colorado Green Lab chief technology officer, spoke with Pennington and showed a study detailing how common drug test methods can mistake CBD presence for THC. It explains how Pennington’s son might have gotten a false positive drug test result.

Two chemists from a private research company in Oregon, Cascade Chemistry, reviewed the study and confirmed to The Times that such drug testing problems might occur.

Pennington took Conrad as a witness and won equal custody of his son. He is now planning to sue the lab to bring awareness to problematic testing methods, which could affect many people since the CBD industry is booming.

Rampant problem

Conrad said he worked on similar cases like Pennington’s; one client got arrested for a positive THC test after taking CBD, violating his parole. Another couple from Florida got charged with possession following a positive THC test result for their CBD-containing gummy bears.

Every case that Conrad testified on was dropped by prosecutors after he explained how there is a problem with the testing method itself.

Emerging drugs and opioids committee chair Bruce Houlihan of the American Society of Crime Lab Directors in Orange County expressed his worry regarding the drug testing method. He said that it is difficult to estimate how many labs mistakenly test CBD for THC since the methodology used is determined in-house.

It’s also a challenge to count how many people have lost jobs or parental rights due to positive THC test results. There is also the matter of drug driving, which does not distinguish between the type of drug they are caught to have taken.

In the states that legalize marijuana, it is still entirely lawful for employers, public housing authorities, child protection services, and other agencies to hold drug testing for THC.

The drug test method

The method in question for testing THC uses a typical chemical analysis instrument, the gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry (GC-MS) machine. Most devices undergo derivatization or the use of a chemical or sample to determine trace amounts of the illegal substance. One common agent used is the trifluoroacetic anhydride or TFAA.

In the published study introduced by Conrad, TFAA used in a GC-MS machine makes it difficult to distinguish between CBD and THC.

Other labs have upgraded their method to high-performance liquid chromatography, but GS-CS devices are still widely used.

Quest Diagnostics Senior Director Barry Sample said they are aware of the problem but insisted that their laboratory does not use the said methodology. However, a woman came forward after being fired last year for testing positive for THC using a urine sample.

The woman took a CBD product for a couple of weeks before the drug test. She stated that the product she took came from a reputable company and even had lab results for the product posted on their website.

More issues surrounding CBD

A false positive drug test is just one problem among the bunch that has happened since the cannabis industry saw significant growth in their market.

Since research for such compound was illegal, people are not informed about their chemistries. Rodger Voelker, an analytical chemist from Oregon, noted how regulatory agencies are reactionary and slow to take action.

For example, there is no standard measure for cannabis intoxication. The methods for testing show only whether a person used the illegal substance a few days prior.

As policies and laws change, testing methods have to be upgraded, which also requires substantial resources, says former American Society of Crime Lab Directors President Matthew Gamette.

He recalled an incident last January when Idaho troopers seized 7,000 lbs. of cannabis with the assumption that these were marijuana. The company that owned the crops sued the Idaho State Police for mistakenly taking the said plants, which were legal hemp.

Pennington believed that the lawsuit against the laboratory would help law enforcement and consumers understand cannabis laws so that no one else goes through what he did.

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Dietary Supplement Trade Associations Urges Congress to Permit CBD Products for Sale

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Dietary Trade Associations urge Congress to permit CBD Products

Four dietary supplement trade associations penned a letter to federal lawmakers urging them to pass legislation that would make the sale of CBD products legal for purchase while the regulations from the Food and Drug Administration are still being developed.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, American Herbal Products Association, United Natural Products Alliance, and the Council for Responsible Nutrition stated that Congress needs to clarify hemp-derived CBD as a legal dietary ingredient as long as the CBD-containing dietary supplement meets quality and safety standards.

Details of the letter

The said groups offered a recommendation stating that a limited waiver should be granted to exempt CBD-infused products from a Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act provision that would let companies sell CBD dietary supplements, provided that such products are derived from the hemp variety and safety and health standards.

It is also stated in the letter that the industry feels Congress must take action, given the rapidly expanding market of CBD products. They urge lawmakers to clarify CBD dietary supplements’ legal status. They also stated that it is essential for the FDA to protect people from unsafe CBD-containing products.

They cited the strong demand from consumers regarding CBD, as shown by the growth in sales and products, which they think requires urgent response so that legal issues are clarified for consumers, manufacturers, and retailers.

Since the FDA has previously stated that its CBD rulemaking process could last for five years, the associations argued that congressional action is a need. They also lauded the efforts of the Senate committee in approving agriculture-spending legislation that allocates $2M to support the development of cannabidiol regulations by the FDA.

Timely regulation development

They further urged Congress to go the distance in including substantial resources to promote healthy oversight by the FDA of the rapidly growing CBD market, which provides funding for the timely review of dietary supplement ingredients. They also call for the enforcement of manufacturing, labeling and safety standards stipulated in old laws, which concerns CBD-containing nutritional supplements.

The four associations urged lawmakers to forge a working relationship with FDA to examine the funding needed to promote effective CBD regulation that does not disrupt enforcement priorities of other agencies.

They stated that they appreciate the FDA efforts to build a robust regulatory framework, but are concerned about the lack of clarity and effective oversight of the growing CBD marketplace, leaving consumers vulnerable to unsafe products.

This action from the dietary supplement trade is not the lone call for a hastened process of fully allowing CBD products in the legal market. Two sets of letters have been penned by a group of senators who urged the FDA to clear a path for CBD.

A letter penned by a Senate bipartisan coalition, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), also prompted the FDA to air their stand regarding CBD products so that companies can lawfully sell their products while the agency is still crafting its regulatory framework for the said substance.

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More Senators Urge FDA to Hasten CBD Regulations

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Senators urge FDA to regulate cbd

More Senate members urge the Food and Drug Administration or FDA to establish a clear set of regulations for CBD and its related products to protect the buying public and to sieve the slowly congesting industry.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) called on the FDA during a press conference last Tuesday to issue a statement to clear the air about CBD and how it could be legally marketed. He and five other senators penned a letter to the FDA requesting to hasten their rulemaking process regarding the said substance.

During his speech, Blumenthal presented gummies, tinctures, and seltzer water as examples of useful CBD products for consumers.

Although hemp-derived CBD is lawful under the 2018 Farm Bill, there is still a lack of regulations that caused both good and lousy CBD products to be marketed at the same time. The senators reiterated that having quality standards can prevent unsanctioned claims and inadequate labeling from marring the CBD industry.

Blumenthal further stated that the bad players in the market should be removed from the mix to give way for products that are legally and accurately promoted.

Bipartisan support

The senator and his colleagues are set on encouraging the FDA to provide a regulatory framework that works to protect consumers and businesses alike. Setting rules for classification, marketing, labeling, quality, and more ensures that buyers are getting the right and honest product they want.

Blumenthal also added that the issue receives bipartisan support, with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), State Majority Leader, being a champion for the hemp industry.

Blumenthal duly signed the letter, as have Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

The senators ask for an update from the FDA within 90 days, citing that the current actions undertaken by the agency are inadequate.

In the letter, they also stated that buyers rely on the guidance of the FDA concerning products, such as in ingredients. They also point out how manufacturers can develop effective and safe CBD products for consumers if they have clear regulations to follow.

They also noted how the CBD industry is growing more extensive than FDA’s efforts in establishing rules can handle. They ask to expedite the agency’s efforts in promoting transparency and accuracy for CBD products.

Blumenthal also guested on a WTIC radio interview to encourage the agency to hasten their CBD rulemaking efforts.

FDA’s “inadequate” CBD endeavors

FDA acknowledges the 2018 Farm Bill that the president duly signed into law last December, but they are also concerned that CBD only exists as an FDA-approved drug and therefore complicates the rulemaking process.

Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner, stated early this year that to market CBD as a supplement or food item, they should establish an alternative regulation that may take years to achieve.

Last month, 26 House members formed a bipartisan coalition that sent the FDA a letter to ask about discretion guidelines on enforcement while they work to create the final rules. They want the FDA to issue a statement regarding the agency’s enforcement priorities so that companies making unsubstantial claims may be reprimanded.

McConnell also called for a guide to lawful marketing of cannabidiol products in a report on congressional spending last month.

Blumenthal reiterated that failure on the part of the FDA to hand out a concrete regulatory framework endangers the consumers and inhibits the growth of the CBD industry as a whole.

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