Despite a lack of federal CBD regulations in America, Canadian weed titan Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX: WEED) is pressing forward with a new e-commerce website to sell products containing the hemp-derived extract south of the border.
On Monday, the Ontario-based company said it launched shopcanopy.com to target American consumers with its 25 CBD product from brands such as First & Free, This Works, and BioSteel. According to the press release, Canopy also said its Martha Stewart CBD brand will soon be listed.
On the website, the firm noted that CBD products are legal federally in the country and each state can make their own laws for hemp-derived products with varying degrees of restriction. The hemp extract is currently legal in 48 states, with legislation still being worked on in Idaho and Mississippi.
But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said the legality of CBD products depends on their intended use and how they’re labelled and marketed under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
Because the FDA has only approved one CBD product — the childhood epilepsy drug Epidiolex — it says the active ingredient cannot be legally sold as a dietary supplement under the FD&C Act as it no longer met the definition of such a product.
Despite the ruling, Canopy sells a variety of sports supplements that contain CBD on its website geared towards athletes under its BioSteel brand.
Mugglehead asked the company if it contacted the FDA to gain approval for those products that require a premarket review, unless the substance is recognized as safe by qualified experts. Canopy did not get back before press but says it’s working on a response.
The company said in the statement that it’s “abiding by existing FDA regulations for manufacturing, labelling and marketing dietary supplements.
CBD regulations: TBD
Since hemp and its derivatives were legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill, there are now 2,700 CBD brands sold in the U.S. in a market worth US$5 billion last year.
But the FDA released a report this month stating that around half of the CBD products sold in the U.S. may be mislabeled or misleading, and has warned consumers of potential health risks from ingesting CBD, particularly how it may damage the liver.
The CBD industry has been waiting for FDA regulations for two years, which has been slowed down by a lack of leadership from the White House, FDA management upheaval and the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Vermont cannabis lawyer Timothy Fair.
Despite the unclear situation, other large Canadian weed firms like Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX: ACB), as well as large U.S. cannabis operators, are also selling a variety CBD products inside the country, including CBD-infused foods and supplements.
The FDA has only so far enforced its CBD rules by issuing warning letters to firms that market their products to treat diseases or for other therapeutic uses.
“Canopy Growth is committed to selling only high-quality, tested and reliable products, and ensuring it makes no claims unless clinically validated,” the company said in the statement.
Last month, Canopy CEO David Klein said the company has been conducting in-house research trials and has been working closely with the FDA to share the research on safety and efficacy at different dosages.
Klein expects the emerging CBD rehears will ultimately lead the federal regulator to provide a legal definition for CBD.
The CEO also noted that the company is in ongoing discussions with Capitol Hill lawmakers to bypass the FDA and provide a legislative solution for CBD through the classification as a dietary supplement.
Earlier this year, a bill was introduced by in the House that would amend the FD&C Act to reclassify CBD as a dietary supplement.
Canopy’s new website also features an educational component with FAQs and blog posts that provide consumers with a resource for science-backed information on CBD safety, dosing, benefits, product quality and more.”
The company promises consumers that all CBD products sold on its online portal will include a certificate of analysis, which provides consumers with a complete list of third-party verified ingredients and testing to certify precise and accurate labeling of cannabinoid content, purity and safety.
Top image shows Canopy Growth ribbon-cutting event in 2019 for its now-closed industrial hemp park in Kirkwood, New York. Press photo