CBD and Cannabis News Update

This week’s CBD and cannabis updates from the United States and around the globe.

March 26, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Each week, NACS brings you a roundup news and information on cannabis and CBD to help update you on the fast-moving products and their legality.  Here are the topics in the news for the week of March 23 to March 29:

U.S. Federal Activity
House Financial Services Committee Schedules Markup of Marijuana Banking Bill. On March 26, the House Financial Services Committee will consider the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019, which would allow banks and other financial service providers to offer access to marijuana-related business in states with existing regulatory structures/legalization schemes. Republicans on the committee, however, have urged Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) to delay the vote. (Source: Financial Services)

Departing FDA Commissioner Says CBD Regulations Could Take Years. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb explained that a rulemaking process for CBD would take longer than the traditional rulemaking process, which usually lasts two to three years. Gottlieb went on to say that Congress could pass legislation to explicitly allow CBD as an ingredient in food or supplements to speed the regulatory process. In the meantime, the FDA is putting together a “high-level work group” to identify “some potential legislative pathways to create a framework for allowing CBD into the food supply.” (Source: Marijuana Moment)

USPS Issues Hemp-Derived CBD Advisory. In a March 4 advisory, the United States Postal Service provided instructions on mailing hemp-derived CBD products. For now, the current advisory stipulates that it is legal to mail hemp-derived CBD products in compliance with research-focused provisions of the earlier 2014 Farm Bill. However, postal customers must first take certain steps, such as providing a signed self-certification statement and documentation confirming the hemp producer is licensed through a state agriculture department. (Source: Boston Globe)

Nation’s Top Drug Scientist Skeptical About Marijuana as a Cure for Opioid Abuse. Nora Volkow, the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said there’s no evidence that marijuana weans people from opioid addiction—and promoting such treatment might deny people a chance at recovery. Separately, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is now in the process of reviewing existing research on chronic pain—specifically alternatives to opioid-based painkillers—and is interested in the comparative effectiveness of using non-opioid therapies, including marijuana. (Sources: USA TodayMarijuana Moment)

U.S. State and Local Activity
San Francisco Health Department Orders CBD Wellness Stores to Clear Out Consumables. Following a complaint, inspectors from the San Francisco Department of Public Health alerted one retailer that he was not allowed to sell “consumable” CBD products. A spokesperson from the Department explained that it is following the state’s determination that CBD is an unapproved food additive. (Source: Eater San FranciscoMission Local)

Connecticut Holds Hearings on Marijuana Legalization Proposals. In two hearings, Connecticut lawmakers will consider legalizing recreational marijuana, including how they might regulate and tax it. The proposed bills would limit the sale of marijuana to people 21 and older, incorporate criminal and social justice reforms and provide for a 20% tax. (Sources: NBC CTHartford Courant)

Kentucky Hemp Sales Booming. Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles released a report that shows a sharp increase in sales and profits for the hemp industry. The state’s hemp processors grossed $57.75 million in product sales in 2018, compared with $16.7 million the preceding year. (Source: AP)

New Jersey Appears on the Verge of Passing Recreational Marijuana Bill. Legislative committees in the New Jersey Senate and Assembly approved a recreational marijuana bill, advancing the measure for consideration by the full Senate and Assembly. Whether legalization is on the horizon, however, is still uncertain, as Governor Phil Murphy explained that the measure still doesn’t have enough votes to pass. (Sources: Asbury Park PressAsbury Park Press)

New York Faces Challenges in Marijuana Legalization Push. Legalizing marijuana has the support of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, leaders of the state legislature and a majority of state residents. But the effort to regulate and tax adult-use cannabis has hit stumbling blocks in Albany amid disputes over revenue, access to licenses and an intensifying counteroffensive by marijuana opponents. As such, any legalization measure is unlikely to be included in the state’s budget. Nonetheless, Cuomo is still hopeful that an agreement can be reached by June. (SourcesWSJABC13 WHAM)

Another Pennsylvania Marijuana Legalization Bill Is on the Horizon. Two Pennsylvania state senators plan to introduce legislation that would legalize cannabis for adult use and create a framework for social equity, justice and small business provisions surrounding marijuana cultivation. (Sources: Philly VoicePennsylvania State Senate)

North Texas Stores Raided, CBD Products Seized. Duncanville, Texas, police say they removed hundreds of pounds of CBD products from two stores, along with more than 30 pounds of what they described as marijuana. The retailers instead say the goods seized are derived from hemp, not marijuana. In Texas, the laws on CBD and hemp are murky, with the state still not authorizing the farming of hemp, even though federal law now allows it. In addition, some district attorneys consider hemp-derived CBD as illegal, while others say they will not prosecute until the law becomes clearer. A bill is currently pending—and looks to be on the verge of passing—that would legalize hemp and CBD. (Sources: NBC5 DFWFort Worth Star-TelegramNBC5 DFW)

CVS Prepares to Enter CBD Market, Selling Topicals. CVS Pharmacy announced that it will begin selling hemp-derived CBD products in more than 800 stores in eight states—Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland and Tennessee. The national drugstore chain will be marketing topical CBD products, such as creams, sprays and roll-ons, as “an alternative source of relief.” It will not, however, be selling any CBD-based supplements or food additives based on the FDA’s current stance. (Sources: NBC News; MarketWatch)

Colorado Snack Company Launches CBD Water. Weller, a Boulder-based snack and beverage company, is launching a line of sparking waters featuring 25mg of CBD. The brand’s home state of Colorado explicitly allows food and beverage manufacturers to use CBD in products. (Source: Food Navigator)

Marijuana Jobs Are Booming. The legalization efforts across the country have resulted in a noticeable boost in the American job market, and it is estimated that 211,000 people are directly employed in the marijuana industry full time. Counting indirect and induced jobs depending on legal marijuana, that number rises to 296,000. (Source: Forbes)

New Study Indicates Regular Marijuana Use Increases Psychosis Chances. A study released in The Lancet Psychiatry found that daily cannabis use and use of high-potency cannabis are associated with increased risk of later psychotic disorder. Whether the use affects the incidence of the disorder remains unclear. (Sources: NPRABC News)