Hartford, CT - Attorney General William Tong on Wednesday joined a coalition of 37 state attorneys general urging federal cooperation with the states to protect consumers from false advertising and harms to their health from products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, including cannabidiol (CBD). In a public comment filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the AGs highlight the need for research into the risks and potential benefits of cannabinoid products to inform consumers and assist in state-level regulation. They also encourage the FDA to continue partnering with state consumer protection authorities as it considers guidelines for this emerging market.
"Cannabis-derived products are now widely available and marketed as a safe solution for various health needs, from sleep disorders and anxiety to pain relief and immune function. Consumers need access to the most complete and accurate scientific information available, including how these products may interact with other drugs and dietary supplements. There is a real opportunity here for states and the federal government to partner and provide important clarity to ensure the safety of all consumers," said Attorney General William Tong.
The Farm Bill, passed in December 2018, removed cannabis products containing less than .3% of THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, from the Schedule I list of drugs prohibited under the Controlled Substances Act. As a result, companies across the country have started to manufacture and sell varieties of cannabis commonly classified as “hemp.” Hemp contains little THC but large amounts of CBD, a compound that has been touted by some to treat a wide variety of health concerns.
The Farm Bill permits states to come up with their own “Comprehensive Regulatory Plan” to regulate the CBD industry within their borders. Those plans will be reviewed by the federal government for approval. In the interim, however, the CBD industry has expanded in the last six months and businesses are operating throughout the country without much oversight.
In their public comment to the FDA, the Attorneys General call for:
• State and federal cooperation around cannabis-derived products: As the primary enforcers of state laws and consumer protections, State AGs want to ensure the safety of CBD and other cannabis-derived products that are reaching consumers. AGs are also concerned that companies may rely on misleading advertising and unsubstantiated claims to lure consumers to use their products. The letter urges the FDA to include State AGs in the process as the agency considers regulatory oversight in testing and manufacturing of these products.
• Continued study of the potential risks and benefits of these products: To keep consumers safe and help them make informed decisions, the AGs encourage the FDA to study how cannabis compounds work, in particular, and how they interact with drugs and dietary supplements. They also emphasize the need for an assessment of the risks these products pose to vulnerable populations, such as children, pregnant women, and the elderly. It is important that consumers have reliable risk and benefit information to make informed choices about initiating and continuing the use of these products.
The multistate coalition was led by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine and Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and includes the states and territories of Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.