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What To Know About The Senate Hearing On Hemp

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Benzinga Cannabis
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By Martin A. Lee, Director of Project CBD.

After languishing for eight decades in the wilderness of marijuana prohibition, hemp is making a comeback thanks in large part to the popularity and economic potential of CBD, the non-intoxicating cannabis compound that has upended federal drug policy.

But, some experts argue, the 2018 Farm Bill, which has legalized the cultivation of hemp, is seriously flawed. Think of it like a patch designed to correct defective software, it attempts to fix the unfixable by removing hemp and its derivatives from the purview of the DEA and Controlled Substances Act, they say.

Purified CBD is also an FDA-approved Schedule 5 pharmaceutical, following the approval of GW Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ: GWPH)’s Epidiolex.

But herbal cannabis with anything more than 0.3 percent THC is still treated as a dangerous Schedule 1 substance with no medical value under federal law.

So, wait. How can CBD be included in both the most and least restricted classes of drugs.

Well, this is painfully representative of the contradictions within cannabis policy, amplified by Farm Bill.

Conflicting Regulations

CBD is especially challenging for regulators because several government agencies have a hand in crafting policy for the cultivation of hemp and the manufacturing of hemp-derived products, including hemp flower for pre-rolled CBD cigarettes, and oil concentrates for vape cartridges.

A major elephant in the room involves pesticide regulations.

As Project CBD noted in its recent written submission to the FDA, federal and state agencies have compiled safety data pertaining to the oral ingestion of pesticides and solvent residues, but relatively little is known about the health effects of heating or burning pesticides, which can break down into much more toxic compounds. The lack of health and safety data is a consequence of the undo influence of the tobacco industry, which lobbied to ensure that a scientific understanding of pesticide combustion and inhalation did not inform laws or regulations. Tobacco’s poor regulatory standards with respect to pesticides should not serve as a model for the emerging cannabis industry.

Martin A. Lee is the director of Project CBD and author of Smoke Signals.

The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

Photo by Javier Hasse.

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