Cannabis: In Focus
- Congressional Activity—New Hearing and Bipartisan Bill on Hemp
- Vermont Cannabis Cultivators Refused Federal Relief After Floods
- DEA to Request Timeline for Administration’s Scheduling Review of Cannabis
Congressional Activity—New Hearing and Bipartisan Bill on Hemp
On July 20, the Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act was reintroduced in Congress with bipartisan support from co-sponsors Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.
The legislation comes in response to a January 2023 statement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling on Congress to create a new regulatory pathway for cannabidiol (CBD) products. In a statement announcing the bill, the legislation’s proponents praised the bill as it “will allow FDA to regulate hemp-derived CBD like all other new dietary ingredients, foods, and beverages.”
On July 27, the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing titled “Hemp in the Modern World: The Yearslong Wait for FDA Action.”
At the hearing, some members of Congress voiced their disapproval of the FDA’s approach, which has prompted confusion among manufacturers of CBD products and consumers. Other lawmakers acknowledged the precarious position the FDA itself is in, noting that caution and forethought are particularly necessary.
Vermont Cannabis Cultivators Refused Federal Relief After Floods
Following major flooding in Vermont, cannabis retailers, manufacturers, and cultivators in the state have been barred from accessing federal assistance. Due to the plant’s federally illegal status, cannabis farmers are also ineligible for federal assistance. A spokesperson from the U.S. Small Business Administration was quoted as saying: “Because we are a federal agency, we have to follow federal law. Cannabis is not legal under federal law, and therefore we are not able to lend to cannabis dispensaries.”
DEA to Request Timeline for Administration’s Scheduling Review of Cannabis
At a House subcommittee hearing on July 27, legislators pressed Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Anne Milgram about the status of the Biden administration’s ongoing review of the regulation of cannabis at the federal level.
Milgram said she would commit to requesting a timeline from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the department conducting a scientific review of cannabis scheduling. Milgram stated that DEA maintained “constant conversations with HHS and with FDA, but [DEA had] not been given a specific timeline.”
Previously, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra shared during a press conference on June 15 that relevant federal agencies are aiming to complete their administrative review of cannabis scheduling this year.