Connecticut Attorney General William Tong and his New York counterpart Letitia James are part of a coalition of 38 state attorneys general calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to increase federal cooperation with the states in addressing potentially false marketing claims on products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, including cannabidiol (CBD).
The attorneys general noted the 2018 Farm Bill removed cannabis products containing less than 0.3% of THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, from the Schedule I list of drugs prohibited under the Controlled Substances Act. Since then, companies have manufactured and marketed products featuring varieties of cannabis commonly classified as hemp, which contain large amounts of CBD.
“Currently, companies are creating a myriad of cannabinoid products largely unburdened by any oversight or testing requirements,” said the attorneys general in a letter to FDA Commissioner Norman E. Sharpless. “The inherent complexity of cannabinoids, combined with the danger of hazardous additives, raises serious public health concerns that absent some rules or regulations, unscrupulous companies will be able to distribute products that include illegal cannabinoid combinations or have dangerous additives. Beyond these dangers, there is also the potential for products to be incorrectly or misleadingly labeled and packaged in ways that take advantage of consumers and puts them at risk.”
The attorneys general warned that more research is needed to determine the risks and potential benefits of cannabinoid products, and they called on the FDA to work with state consumer protection authorities to create testing and manufacturing guidelines for this fast-growing market.
“Ultimately, the responsibility for protecting consumers that use cannabinoids and CBD products cannot solely be left to the companies supplying products — that responsibility must include the FDA with meaningful partnerships with the states and state attorneys general,” the letter stated. “We applaud the FDA’s recent steps, including the formation of the CBD working group focused on exploring pathways for dietary supplements and food regulation, seeking to clarify code citations, regulating cosmetics, and researching existing science and developments.”