FDA Joins Local Police In Pressuring Nascent CBD Industry

Federal officials and local law enforcement in Oregon are demonstrating a similar skepticism about new and growing cannabis-related industries, specifically about the growing popularity of commercial products featuring cannabidiol (commonly known as CBD), a non-psychoactive compound harvested from cannabis and hemp plants.   

The Food and Drug Administration recently took action against Massachusetts-based Curaleaf, who purchased Oregon cannabis company Select for almost $1 billion in May. The FDA claimed in a letter on July 22 that many of the company’s CBD products, including “lotions, pain-relief patches, tinctures, and vape pens,” were all classified as “misbranded drugs” and their sale was a violation of federal law.  

The FDA’s objections included “unsubstantiated claims that the products treat cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, opioid withdrawal, pain and pet anxiety, among other conditions or diseases.”  

This letter and its clear foreshadowing of future FDA policy on the issue of CBD products led to CVS, who in March had announced it would host Curaleaf products in 800 CVS locations, to cancel this partnership.  

Earlier this year, Key Compunds LLC in Albany, Oregon was investigated by the Linn County Sheriffs office after a postal worker reported that four packages addressed to Key “smelled like marijuana.” The Linn County Sheriff’s office has undertaken an aggressive investigation which seized most of Key’s assets, and even made a request to seize the assets of the Portland law firm who represented the company.   

Key Compounds CEO Alex Reyter said that Linn County “declared war” on the CBD industry, warning other businesses to stay away.  

“Linn County has decided it doesn’t want any part of hemp,” said Bear Wilner-Nugent, one of the attorneys for Key.  

By Ian MacRonald