Virginia Governor Signs Bill Regulating CBD as Food

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has signed a bill into law that would classify CBD as food. The importance of this to the hemp and CBD industry cannot be understated.

Currently, the FDA has not approved CBD as either Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS, for introduction to food items) or as a New Dietary Ingredient (NDI, for introduction into supplements). Though Hemp Seed Oil has previously been accepted as GRAS, Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract has not.

This means including CBD in a food or supplement can technically get you in hot water with the FDA. The FDA is currently evaluating regulations on the inclusion of hemp extract and CBD in dietary products and in supplements, which has been necessitated by the 2018 Farm Bill. However, no such regulations have been issued to date. While regulations were expected in the first quarter of 2020, none have arrived, and the timeline as to draft regulations is uncertain. While the FDA has the power to go after all hemp and CBD products, the Agency has generally gone after those manufacturers who are blatantly skirting labeling regulations and who are making claims regarding the product’s efficacy for diseases and bodily conditions.

In addition, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has requested a pathway to legitimization of hemp extract and CBD products. Likewise, current FDA Commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, has said it’s a “fool’s errand” to say “you can’t use these products.”

That is what makes Virginia Senate Bill 918 so exciting. It is essentially a state weighing in and saying, “We believe this product is safe enough to be utilized and regulated as a food.” Only a handful of states have regulated CBD in a manner that imposes little to no restrictions on use. Even rarer is a step like Virginia, to beat the federal government to the punch and allow full use in food.

At Gleam Law, we are excited about this growing industry and all of the innovation we are seeing. Even better, we are excited about new states taking the leap to bring CBD products to consumers. For those entering the business, we recommend you look not only at the statutes, but the regulations, the interpretive documents, and heed the advice of your attorneys as to what is and is not allowed under the current regulatory schema. Unless your attorney is looking to all those sources, they may get you into regulatory hot water, and cause an otherwise viable product to be seized and destroyed because the proper authorization was not obtained or because you were selling in the wrong state. If you are in the industry and looking for proper regulatory guidance, look to Gleam Law. We know hemp and CBD.