A Republican congressman showcased two CBD products he personally uses at a congressional hearing last week, to demonstrate the differences between hemp and marijuana, in order to inform lawmakers about the “vaping epidemic”.
During a House Oversight Committee meeting on the recent spike in vaping-related injuries, Rep. James Comer (R-KY) said he wanted to spend his time “talking about CBD because I believe there’s a lot of misinformation and confusion about exactly what CBD is and what THC is.”
“CBD is cannabidiol and it is something that a lot of people take, a lot of people in Congress take CBD, millions of Americans take CBD, I take CBD,” he said, showcasing his products.
He went on to compare hemp’s relation to marijuana to the differences between broccoli and cauliflower, stating that they’re in the same family and “they have some similarities, but they’re also very different.”
“If you look at CBD, the majority of CBD that most Americans are taking and they’re having really positive effects from CBD is coming from hemp, not marijuana,” he said.
Discussing his personal use of CBD preparations, Comer, a former state agriculture commissioner, said he’s visited the companies that manufacture them and that they are “producing a good, legitimate product.”
“But those companies want the industry to be regulated,” he said. “Currently there are no [Food and Drug Administration] regulations on CBD oil, and the legitimate, credible companies want regulations.”
The congressman also mentioned a bipartisan letter he sent alongside two dozen other lawmakers last week asking FDA to clear a path for CBD to be lawfully marketed.
“This CBD industry is like the Wild West. It’s a good industry, it’s a good product, but there needs to be regulations,” he said. “I’m very conservative, very pro-business, normally I’m against regulations, but sometimes we need regulations.”
“I think that there are lot of positive benefits from cannabidiol, but this industry needs to be regulated. This industry is very prevalent in my congressional district, and they want regulations to make sure there are no bad actors, to make sure there are no fly-by-night companies that are coming in producing cannabidiol with excessive amounts of THC.”
Also during Tuesday’s hearing, Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) asked the deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention whether cannabis products from state-legal shops were contributing to the rise in vaping-related injuries.
“I think in most states THC is illegal, but over time, more and more state are legalizing marijuana. I don’t know who to blame for that—including my neighbor to the south in Illinois,” Grothman said. “Are these cartridges legal in states which legalized marijuana or not?”
The official said she didn’t know, and the congressman implored her to investigate further.
“I’m concerned because right to the south of Wisconsin, Illinois has decided to go all-in on making marijuana legal,” he said. “It sounds like it’s big trouble if Illinois just made these things legal.”
Later, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) compared the current lack of federal regulations on vaping products to how the government has treated marijuana for decades.
“We have a vacuum at the federal level,” he said. “This reminds me a little bit of marijuana, where we haven’t done our job at the federal level in justifying how we categorize or classify marijuana. We have essentially limited the kinds of studies we sponsor at the federal level and who gets to do them with a clear bis toward it’s dangerous. And as a result, we’ve lost control.”