A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Quarles asks Ky’s congressional delegation to help with FDA’s ‘bureaucratic paralysis’ surrounding hemp

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles is calling upon the state’s Congressional delegation to help what he terms the “bureaucratic paralysis” by the Food and Drug Administration which says is hindering Kentucky’s burgeoning hemp industry.

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has run into some roadblocks in help the hemp industry in Kentucky. (Kentucky Today/Tom Latek)

“The FDA’s inability to make regulatory decisions is preventing growth in the hemp marketplace,” Quarles said. “Promising potential markets remain closed while crop production has increased. When there is a surplus of a crop and it begins to pile up, the result is obvious: crop prices will fall. We’ve got to do all we can to explain to federal regulators in Washington how regulatory uncertainty is affecting Kentucky and other states around the nation.”

In his letter, Quarles states, “As you know, we have all worked to make Kentucky one of the leading hemp states in the nation. Together, we have made great strides from when this effort started in 2013. The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp from the federal list of controlled substances, was an incredible milestone for Kentucky and the nation.

“However, we continue to deal with several issues that hinder this industry, specifically the Food and Drug Administration’s inability to issue a regulatory decision about cannabidiol, or CBD compounds for food, drink, healthcare supplements, and other potential uses.”

Quarles has been actively involved in hemp regulatory issued on the state and national levels for several years. He helped write national hemp policy adopted by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, or NASDA, of which he currently serves as vice-president, as one of its top priorities.

The organization has asked the FDA to “develop a model regulatory framework for oversight of the processing of hemp and manufacturing of CBD, which will protect public health, comply with federal law, and foster growth in the industry.”

On January 29, Quarles is scheduled to visit with FDA Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas as part of a NASDA leadership meeting in Washington, D.C. and will discuss the regulation of CBD and other items pertaining to agriculture.

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