Ride the “Green Wave” with Caution: Enforcement Against Companies Selling CBD Products Continues

With the legalization of industrial hemp, many are eager to jump into the booming market for cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp-infused products. However, for manufacturers and retailers of ingestible CBD products in particular, it is prudent to look before jumping headfirst onto the “green wave.”

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been quite active in its enforcement against companies offering CBD products with unapproved health claims, and recently denied CBD GRAS status*. The FTC has also issued warning letters relating to unlawful advertising practices associated with these products**. Now, two companies have been named in proposed class action lawsuits for selling “illegal CBD products,” as consumers allege that the products were mislabeled as dietary supplements or as containing the dietary supplement CBD. The plaintiffs in these lawsuits further indicate that they never would have purchased the products if they had known that the products were not compliant with FDA guidelines.

This serves as a stark reminder to the industry that the legalization of industrial hemp has not automatically green-lit ingestible products containing CBD for sale, particularly where health-related claims are made. While we continue to await additional guidance from the FDA as to its approach to CBD products, manufacturers and retailers of ingestible CBD products should use caution when marketing and selling supplements and edible products that contain CBD as an ingredient. These companies should also carefully review all packaging, labels and marketing materials prior to manufacture to confirm compliance with FDA, FTC and other governmental regulations.

Husch Blackwell has experience working with companies on how to market CBD products in light of the FDA and FTC’s enforcement actions. Our Cannabis and FDA lawyers have the necessary scientific and regulatory expertise to assist companies considering making or marketing CBD or cannabis containing products.

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