Hemp’s marketing hopes and legal hurdles

Using hemp extracts as ingredients may sound promising, as well as problematic, for food manufacturers. Regulatory issues surrounding hemp extracts may sound familiar: adhering to the U.S. Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and avoiding class-action lawsuits.

Lawyers knowledgeable on hemp’s legal issues and executives of companies that offer hemp-based products spoke in a SupplySide West presentation Nov. 7 in Las Vegas.

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“The industry wants to be regulated,” said Robert T. Hoban, managing partner for Hoban Law Group, Denver.

Cannabis could fall into three categories. One category could be cannabis prescribed as a drug. Another category could be cannabis ingredients, like hemp extracts, in foods and supplements. The third category would be cannabis sold over the counter like marijuana is sold legally in Colorado.

Mr. Hoban said the 2018 farm bill, when passed, could contain hemp regulations and bring debate over who should govern hemp, be it the Food and Drug Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or the Drug Enforcement Agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice.