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Local Hemp Farmers Fear Costs Of CBD Regulation

Eric Risberg

Consumer advocates and business leaders urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week to regulate CBD. That’s a chemical derived from cannabis that’s used in products like syrups, oils and dog food, but does not have marijuana’s intoxicating qualities. CBD producers, however, want the FDA to proceed with caution.

President Trump lifted restrictions for growing hemp in December, but David Falkowski of Bridgehampton has grown hemp for years through a New York State program.

He farms hemp to produce a medicinal CBD oil. Falkowski wants the federal government to streamline the CBD industry with as little oversight as possible.

“Best case scenario: hemp products that are rich in CBD fall into that dietary supplement category instead of pharmacological, you know, drug production. It’s kind of like tobacco and alcohol. I mean, we have some interesting regulations on how we can use alcohol at different levels and how it’s taxed.”

Falkowski, like other small farmers, says he doesn’t want regulations to let large corporations out-compete him.

“It does make it difficult for small folks to get a good swing at this because compliance is expensive and hefty.”

The FDA plans to find out how much CBD is safe to use daily and its effect on pregnant women and children. Today, CBD is prohibited in food, drinks and supplements, but regulators are lax on enforcement.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.