KINGSTON, NY—PRESS RELEASE—This week, Rep. Antonio Delgado (NY-19) and colleagues from the House Small Business Committee sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on economic opportunities relating to the growth and production of hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) for the farming community and small businesses. The letter articulates the members’ support for CBD’s potential to build growers’ capacity and economic development during this down farm economy; and urges the FDA to provide regulatory guidance on CBD products to support American farmers and entrepreneurs in this growing market. Rep. Delgado was joined on the letter by fellow members of the House Small Business Committee, including Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (NY-07), and Reps. Dwight Evans (PA-03), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) and Jared Golden (ME-02).

The letter reads, “As Members of the House Committee on Small Business, we appreciate the opportunity to provide comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds. Farmers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses around the country are ready to engage in this new industry that will create jobs and spur economic growth.

“The passing of the 2018 Farm Bill ushered in the potential for a new agricultural industry that will impact textiles, paper, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, and countless other consumer products. Since small businesses comprise over 99 percent of all employers in the United States, the legal cannabis industry provides an opportunity for small firms to lead the way by fueling local economies and creating new jobs.” The letter continues, “Congress has been clear in legalizing the growth and production of hemp and hemp-derived compounds. Farmers around the country are eager to adopt a new exciting crop and are enthusiastically awaiting the establishment of a regulatory framework from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Businesses are ready to capitalize on the growing consumer demand for hemp and hemp-derived products, such as cannabidiol (CBD), yet the FDA’s lack of clarity has caused confusion for farmers, businesses, and consumers. We are pleased that in recent months, FDA has convened a public-stakeholder meeting to discuss CBD and sought input from a wide variety of stakeholders to help FDA make informed decisions. We are also pleased to hear statements from FDA leadership that recognizes Congress’s intent to provide a legal pathway for the production and sale of hemp products.”

The letter concludes, “Given the current widespread availability of hemp-based products, and the growing consumer demand for CBD, we believe that a clear and efficient regulatory framework is necessary to support American farmers, small businesses, and consumers. As increasingly more states legalize marijuana and Federal law recognizes the growth and production of hemp and hemp-derived compound, it is imperative that agencies provide guidance and reduce barriers for small firms looking to enter this rapidly evolving industry.”