2018 Farm Bill And CBD: A Positive Step Forward, But Questions Remain
You may have seen that the U.S. Congress just passed the 2018 farm bill—clearing the way for farmers to grow hemp with THC concentrations below 0.3 percent by weight. The final step before this bill becomes law is President Trump’s signature, which is expected next week.
We welcome this news—it’s yet another indication of the growing momentum behind cannabis on a federal level and what we believe is the inevitability of a broader legal market in the U.S.
For us in the Lone Star State, it’s good news for our farmers who want to participate in this important market, especially for growing hemp for industrial purposes. It also clears the way for federal research grants to more formally explore the safety and efficacy of hemp-based products, including CBD. And it keeps Texas in the driver’s seat, as it defers to states the option to act as the primary regulatory authority—such as how we operate under the Compassionate Use Program.
Meantime, it is important to remember the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s position that CBD is prohibited from use as a food ingredient or dietary supplement. That doesn’t change with this bill.
While we think this is an overwhelming positive on a macro level, it does present some challenges. The most obvious one being that this seemingly clears the way for any farmer and CBD entrepreneur to start selling CBD derived from hemp. This will likely increase the amount of unregulated “bootleg” CBD products that are not manufactured in line with the rigorous purity and medicinal standards put forth under the Compassionate Use Program. These regulations are crucial to ensure Texas patients are receiving the highest quality, most consistent medicine available.
When the state of Texas passed the Compassionate Use Act in 2015, our legislature and governor did it with a focus on providing patients safe and legal access to the highest quality and most consistent medicine. And they put in place a program that holds the vertically integrated licensees accountable to meet those rigorous standards. Doing so ensures that the citizens of Texas would receive safe, reliable, consistent and high-quality medicine.
At Compassionate Cultivation, we manufacture our products under the watchful eyes of the state of Texas, which has strict specifications for purity, quality and consistency.
With the growing popularity of CBD in many forms and from many sources, the claimed benefits of the compound can be confusing and at times overstated (“but wait, there’s more, it will even make your bed!”). And while we are big believers in the promise of the plant and its incredible potential, we know there is more to be done to prove our hopes and beliefs. We’re hopeful the state legislature enables an R&D component to the Compassionate Use Program for that very reason.
Meantime, consumers need to take a very close look at what they are buying. Until there’s a broader regulatory framework on both a federal and state level to ensure consistency and quality, people need to take a “caveat emptor” approach to CBD.
We produce the highest quality, most consistent low-THC, high-CBD medicine in the state. And we work closely with our chief medical officer and the broader medical community to ensure we’re developing products that best meet the needs of the patients we serve.
Time will tell how Texas intends to regulate this market and its implications on our core business. Our ultimate objective is to provide doctors and their patients access to the highest-quality CBD products in order to enable a higher quality of life and reduce the suffering for those we can help.