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Weller: ‘The passage of the Farm Bill was definitely a trigger for many retailers to participate in the CBD category’

By Elaine Watson contact

07-Jan-2019 – Last updated on 01-May-2020 at 09:19 GMT

(Click HERE​​ to read the FDA’s December 20, 2018, statement, in which it also announced plans to hold a public meeting exploring “lawful pathways by which products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds can be marketed​.”)

In the meantime, boosted by the passage of the Farm Bill​​ (which removed hemp from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act), many food and beverage brands are navigating their way through this regulatory minefield by utilizing ‘full spectrum hemp extracts’ in which CBD is a component but has not been isolated or modified.

Some brands using such hemp extracts mention CBD on pack, others do not, a decision taken in consultation with attorneys and potential retail customers, say Matt Oscamou and John Simmons, co-founders of Boulder-based Weller,​​ a new company focused on hemp extracts, which launched in 2018 with a line of coconut bites (with 25mg of CBD per serving), and is gearing up to launch a new sparkling beverage this year with the same dosage.

One packaging format says ‘hemp extract’ and one says ‘CBD,’ it depends on the comfort level of the retailer

According to Oscamou, who has a background in the snacks industry (he founded Frontier Snacks,​​ which has been wound down as he focuses on his new venture), “Legal advice is tricky in this area, but we are registered with the Colorado department of public health as a CBD manufacturing facility and Colorado state law allows for CBD explicitly to be used in food and beverage​.​​ We take in as much information as we can and we have dual packaging for our products.”

According to Simmons, who founded beverage brand Third Street Chai, “We want to be the best partner possible. One packaging format for our products says ‘hemp extract’ and one says ‘CBD,’ and it depends on the comfort level of the retailer, but we’re not making any health claims about the products, which is something the FDA is particularly concerned about ​[in its Dec 20 statement​​, the FDA stressed that ‘Where we believe consumers are being put at risk​, the FDA will warn consumers and take enforcement actions​’].”

The FDA recently reiterated that adding CBD to foods or supplements is illegal, regardless of the new hemp provisions in the Farm Bill, as it was first investigated as a drug. However, it is now “taking new steps to evaluate” whether to issue regulations allowing the use of such a ‘pharmaceutical ingredient’ in foods/supplements, clearing a potential legal pathway for CBD.*