When the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law, it removed hemp, defined as cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.) and derivatives of cannabis with extremely low concentrations of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis.
The Senate committee disputes the 2018 Farm Bill’s 0.3 percent THC cap for lawful hemp products. It has now directed the USDA to work with the other federal agencies on whether that threshold is scientifically supported.
“The Committee is concerned that the level of allowable THC content in hemp may be arbitrary and pose a burden on hemp producers that is not supported by scientific evidence. The Committee directs USDA to work with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Drug Enforcement Administration to study and report to Congress on whether there is scientific basis for the current limit of 3 percent THC in hemp and suggest alternative levels if necessary.”
The Senate also urges the FDA to continue developing regulations to allow CBD products and to issue a policy of enforcement discretion for such products:
Cannabis and Cannabis Derivatives
The Committee notes that budget did not request additional resources for Cannabis and Cannabis Derivatives activities, and therefore directs the FDA to maintain funding levels to support regulatory activities, including developing policy, and for the FDA to continue to perform its existing regulatory responsibilities, including review of product applications, inspections, enforcement, and targeted research for cannabis-derived substances, such as cannabidiol [CBD].
Within 90 days of enactment of this Act, the FDA shall issue a policy of enforcement discretion with regard to certain products containing CBD meeting the definition of hemp as defined by section 297A of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1964 (7 U.S.C. 1639). Such enforcement discretion shall be in effect until the FDA establishes a process for stakeholders to notify the FDA of use of CBD in products that include safety studies for intended use per product and 112 makes a determination about such product.
In addition, the FDA is encouraged to consider existing and ongoing medical research related to CBD that is being undertaken pursuant to an Investigational New Drug application in the development of a regulatory pathway for CBD in products under the jurisdiction of the FDA and to ensure that any future regulatory activity does not discourage the development of new drugs. The Committee also encourages the FDA to partner with an academic institution to expand sampling studies of CBD products currently on the market.
The Committee recognizes the growing interest for U.S. hemp and hemp-based products for a variety of uses and directs FCA to work with the institutions under its jurisdiction to provide access to guaranteed loans for hemp producers and businesses.