As CBD oil continues to become more popular – it's now sold everywhere from gas stations to specialty shops and even video rental stores – several Illinois state lawmakers have proposed new ways to regulate the product.
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the oil is derived from hemp, the sister plant to marijuana. CBD oil proliferated after the federal government legalized hemp production. The Food and Drug Administration has approved CBD to treat epilepsy.
CBD is sold as a digestible oil, infused with food products, drinks, or for external applications like lotions and balms. The oil is touted for a variety of properties, including claims it can relieve anxiety, improve sleep and ease body aches, among other things. State Rep. Bob Morgan said there’s no state oversight.
“There are thousands of products around the state right now being sold as CBD, in big box stores, in gas stations, online, and all of that right now is actually unregulated,” Morgan said.
Morgan said for public health and safety, these products need some oversight.
“We’re going to make sure it’s being lab tested and it’s safe,” Morgan said. “So the state won’t be doing the lab testing. The state is going to be requiring that anyone selling these products have those products being tested.”
Morgan filed House Bill 3906 last week. Called the CBD Safety Act, he said he hopes to advance the legislation during the veto session, which beings later this month. He said he didn't know if any illnesses directly related to CBD have been reported.
State and federal officials are investigating an outbreak of lung problems linked to vaping that have sent more than 1,000 people to the hospital. Eighteen deaths had been reported in 15 states as of Oct. 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s unclear is vaping CBD is related.
In Springfield, Simply CBD co-owner Deb Carroll said she hasn’t heard of any problems linked to CBD use, other than some products not being effective for some people.
Carroll said the products she sells are already tested by a third party. She urged the state to hold off and wait for the federal government to act.
“With the [Food and Drug Administration] doing the regulation, not state-by-state, it’s going to level the playing field,” Carroll said.
She said a level playing field helps Illinois businesses stay competitive. Having unified product regulations nationwide is also good for consumers.
“But once you get so many things going, the state regulations, then the FDA comes in and this and that, then things contradict each other and it’s more confusing for the consumers,” Carroll said.
Morgan's bill could get a hearing later this month when lawmakers return to Springfield.
If passed it would have the Illinois Department of Agriculture craft the rules to regulate lab testing and allow for the department and the Illinois State Police to inspect CBD sellers. Violations of the law would include fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Repeated violations could lead to criminal charges, including a Class 3 felony.