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CBD Regulations Remain In Gray Area

Hemp plants growing out of dirt.
Nevada Department of Agriculture
Hemp plants.

CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, can be found in the cannabis plant. Products containing CBD are easily accessible, but regulations remain unclear on selling these products in Washoe County. KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck talked to ThisisReno’s Bob Conrad about this issue.

CBD is a chemical compound derived from hemp. CBD can be found in food, drinks, tinctures and more. Unlike the compound tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, it’s not hallucinogenic. It is most commonly used to treat a variety of ailments.

There aren’t any clear regulations on selling products with CBD in them, so Conrad has looked into what officials are saying on the local and national level.

Federally, it is illegal to introduce ingredients like CBD into food products, according to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C). FD&C also gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to oversee safety on foods and drugs.

“The FDA requires a cannabis product (hemp-derived or otherwise) that is marketed with a claim of therapeutic benefit, or with any other disease claim, to be approved by the FDA for its intended use before it may be introduced into interstate commerce,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

A banner that says, "CBD Sold Here," next to a road.
Credit Lucia Starbuck
A banner advertising CBD on a high-traffic intersection in Reno.

However, Conrad says that products containing CBD are widely available.

“I could order one on my Amazon Prime right now, I could order some CBD chocolates, or I could go to Walmart or a health food store. They're out there,” Conrad said.

Locally, the Washoe County Health Department (WCHD) has been taking initiatives to stop the sale of CBD products.

“Until the FDA rules that industrial hemp derived CBD oil and CBD products can be used in food, or the State of Nevada makes a determination that they are safe to use for human consumption, CBD products are not an approved food, food ingredient, food additive, or dietary supplement,” the WCHD wrote in their CBD FAQs.

The WCHD has gone as far as stopping the sale of food containing CBD. Conrad spoke with a Reno chocolatier who experienced a halt on her products.

“Dorinda's Chocolates was creating a brand of CBD chocolate called, ‘Live Kaya,’ and they were selling it through different kinds of distributions, and the WCHD came in and shut them down. Essentially, I don't want to say [WCHD] quarantined their product, but basically locked it in so they couldn't sell it--about $60,000 worth at the wholesale cost,” Conrad said.

Regulations regarding products with CBD remain in a gray area; however, from the most recent legislative session, Senate Bill 209 requires the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services to adopt regulations on testing and labeling products made from hemp and prohibits the selling of products with CBD until they have met said standards.

According to Conrad, legislation will need to be tightened up as CBD laws are up in the air, similar to cannabis products with THC, which is federally against the law but still sold recreationally and medicinally in Nevada.

Learn more at ThisisReno.

Bob Conrad, PhD, APR is a media professional with more than 20 years of experience in journalism, public relations, marketing and publishing. He’s the co-founder of ThisisReno.com, a locally owned and operated online news website.
Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning political journalist and the host of KUNR’s monthly show Purple Politics Nevada. She is passionate about reporting during election season, attending community events, and talking to people about the issues that matter most to them.
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