What's Coming for Hemp Advocacy in 2022

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 And just like that, 2021 has come and gone. It was a year full of both growth and uncertainty for the hemp industry, particularly on the regulatory front. Read on for the year’s highlights and what we hope to see for 2022.

A look back on the hemp industry in 2021

Several important gains have been made in hemp regulation on the state level. Among the most notable was the passage of AB 45 in California, a bill expressly legalizing the retail sale of hemp-derived compounds in food, beverage, supplements, cosmetics, and pet products in the state. Several states also tightened up testing and labeling requirements for CBD products, including Colorado, Iowa, and Kentucky.

Advancement on the federal level, however, was a different story. There is still no federal regulation of CBD, meaning that hemp producers and distributors will continue to grapple with a patchwork of regulations across the U.S. Customers must also continue to wade through scores of CBD products on the market that are held to a variety of testing, purity, and potency standards.

A significant news item in the CBD industry last year was the debate around cannabinoid delta-8 THC, and by extension how intoxicating vs. non-intoxicating cannabinoids should be regulated in each state. Delta-8’s “quasi-legal” status has many CBD companies weighing the pros and cons of introducing products featuring the cannabinoid to the market. This topic of conversation will likely carry far into 2022.

What to keep an eye on in 2022

Though there’s still no federal guidance on CBD, members of Congress are increasingly signaling their support of regulation. In February 2021, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) introduced the Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act, which would allow CBD and products containing it to be sold as dietary supplements.

Later in the year, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act. This bill would allow hemp-derived CBD products to be used in dietary supplements, foods, and beverages under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and ensure that products are correctly labeled.

Most recently, Reps. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Angie Craig (D-MN), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) introduced the CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act to the House of Representatives in December 2021. The bill aims to push the FDA to regulate CBD, including drafting maximum serving amounts, labeling requirements, and more. With clearly increasing bipartisan support of CBD regulation in both the House and the Senate, we’re looking forward to the possibility of federal legislation in the next year.

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