The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken their time to regulate the market for CBD medical marijuana, despite recent reports that the federal government will soon legalize the production, sale and possession of medicinal cannabis. Since the FDA hasn’t been quick enough to regulate this burgeoning industry, many states are working with local authorities to set up programs designed to regulate CBD medical marijuana. In Maryland, home to the first state-sponsored CBD program in the U.S., licensed providers are required by law to sell medical marijuana only to people who have a medical need. The state, which is the largest medical marijuana user in the U.S., is also the first to develop guidelines and regulations to ensure compliance with state and federal law. The program is voluntary, but many residents are choosing to participate because they feel they are being responsible citizens. “We want the community to be aware of what they’re purchasing and who it’s going to,” says Mary Pettit, Baltimore City’s director of public health. “This is the best way to monitor and make sure people are getting the highest quality product.”
For those in the United States that don’t live under federal law, there is no regulating body to speak of. “In order to be compliant with the federal law you have to follow whatever state laws apply,” says Dr. David Dunning, the director of the Center for Medicinal Chemistry at Stanford University in California. There is no such thing as an independent regulator, he says, adding that if there was, the CBD business would not be so booming. There are a lot of people involved in the CBD industry from the growers to the distributors. There are no state or federal agencies in the business of regulating or guaranteeing the quality of products.
One of the national government agencies involved is the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The NIDA is in charge of establishing standards for the pharmaceutical industry. But when it comes to medical marijuana and CBD, there is no national body that sets standards. “I think they should look at other places that have set up regulations, like other states, but not everything,” says Dunning. “We have to make sure that we continue to move forward.” Many states are working with local governments to establish protocols for the regulation of CBD medical marijuana. They also want to know how much to charge for the product so they can charge more for patients.