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From Law Enforcement to Retail, a New Coalition Forms to Focus on CBD Regulation

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Consumer Brands Association, which counts among its members Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola Company, and PepsiCo, Inc., brought together a diverse group to focus on federal CBD policies.

It’s not often that you see the National Sheriffs’ Association and the National Confectioners Association organize around the same cause. But that’s exactly what they’ve done, and the cause is cannabidiol, or CBD.

The Consumer Brands Association (CBA) on Tuesday launched the Coalition for Smart CBD Regulation, which will be focused on advocacy at the federal level. Among the coalition’s members are, in addition to the aforementioned Associations, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, and the Digital Citizens Alliance, a consumer watchdog group, among others.

CBD has achieved household name-level popularity over the past few years, due in part to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp, a plant abundant in CBD. The US Food and Drug Administration then began collecting public comments on cannabis and cannabinoid products, with a focus on CBD. The FDA, which is in the process of crafting regulations for these products, decided in March to extend the window “indefinitely,” after the first window closed in July 2019, as Cannabis Wire reported. (Catch up on Cannabis Wire’s coverage of federal CBD regulations.) Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the FDA has issued more than a half dozen warning letters to companies claiming their CBD products can help with the virus.

“The coalition came together out of a necessity to bring order in a fast moving, chaotic marketplace and make sure that regulators have the tools they need to craft science-based CBD policy,” Bryan Zumwalt, CBA’s executive vice president of public affairs, told Cannabis Wire.

CBA has become increasingly focused on CBD in recent months. The Association counts among its members companies like Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola Company, and PepsiCo, Inc., which also serve on the Association’s board of directors. As Cannabis Wire reported, CBA formed a heavyweight advisory board in January to focus on CBD. Board members include: Mick Cornett, former Oklahoma City mayor; Edward Davis, former commissioner, Boston Police Department; Tom Galvin, executive director, Digital Citizens Alliance; Karen Tandy, former administrator, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; and Michael Taylor, former deputy commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In January, Betsy Booren, the CBA’s senior vice president of regulatory and technical affairs, wrote to the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health to call on Congress to “ensure there is adequate funding for federal research on the health and safety of CBD products and that scientific gaps are filled so that regulators can make informed decisions” and to “ensure FDA has the resources necessary to continue its market surveillance and enforcement activities, which include sampling and testing available CBD products to root out egregious activities and protect consumers.”

This week, along with a letter from the Association’s CBD advisory board, the National Narcotics Officers’ Associations’ Coalition, a member of CBA’s new CBD coalition, sent a letter to congressional leaders supporting this call for funding.

CBA is also part of a cannabis working group formed by the Attorney General Alliance, which is, among other priorities, focused on companies peddling CBD for coronavirus.

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