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Yost joins 37 AGs Urging FDA to Partner with States for Consumers of Cannabis-Derived Products

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(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost today joined a coalition of 37 attorneys general urging federal cooperation with 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 attorneys general 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.

“The public’s understanding of the risks and benefits here is still in the early stages of maturation when it comes to this product intended for adult use,” Yost said. “Let’s make sure we are practicing our due diligence while best educating and protecting Ohioans.”

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.

“States will need to regulate these programs so it’s imperative that we are at the table early in this process,” Yost said.

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, the 37 attorneys general want to ensure the safety of CBD and other cannabis-derived products that are reaching consumers. Attorneys general 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 attorneys general 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 attorneys general 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 comment letter to the FDA is available online.