POLITICO Pro Cannabis' reporting team recently hosted an exclusive roundtable discussion for subscribers. Reporters Mona Zhang, Natalie Fertig, and Pro Cannabis Editor Paul Demko discussed the legislative and regulatory landscapes that surround cannabis policy. Our team digs into the disconnect between state and federal cannabis laws as well as the growing cannabis industry's impact on policy issues in areas such as banking, taxation and public health.
1. Will the SAFE Banking Act Pass the Senate?
The SAFE Banking Act, which would allow cannabis companies greater access to financial services, recently passed the House. It's fate now rests with the Senate. Here the bill could proceed with limited changes or end up significantly altered from the version passed by the House. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) has indicated that both routes represent a realistic option and there is a growing sense on Capitol Hill that the SAFE Banking Act has a real chance to pass with bipartisan support.
2. Legalization of Hemp and CBD Regulatory Challenges
The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill legalized hemp production and defined hemp as cannabis containing less than .3% THC. Hemp is to make a variety of products but legalization has directly led to a flood of new cannabidiol (CBD) products into markets.
The USDA and FDA are actively wrestling with how to adapt from a regulatory perspective. For example, the FDA sent a letter to Curaleaf, warning the prominent cannabis company about medical claims related to its CBD products. This will be an important area to watch as the issue of federal oversight of hemp production continues to evolve.
3. Vaping Concerns & Public Health
Health concerns related to vaping have dominated headlines in recent months. THC vapes have grown in popularity alongside other vaping products but the federal government lacks information and testing protocols to properly understand the public safety concerns on this issue that are specific to cannabis. That burden will likely fall to states and our reporters expect the issue to continue as slow-moving regulatory bodies struggle to react to rapid industry developments and public health concerns.
Listen to the full recording of the discussion here.
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