Under federal rules, it is also illegal to market food products or dietary supplements that contain CBD, but the FDA indicated that may change in the future. In a December 2018 press release, it said, "Although such products are generally prohibited to be introduced in interstate commerce, the FDA has the authority to issue a regulation allowing the use of a pharmaceutical ingredient in a food or dietary supplement. We are taking new steps to evaluate whether we should pursue such a process." The statement was published after the Farm Bill legalizing the regulated production of hemp, another source of CBD was passed.
This is mostly thanks to cannabidiol or CBD—a natural compound found in cannabis plants that is non-psychoactive. This means it doesn't make the consumer high. CBD is sold as an ingredient in oils, oral sprays, creams, pills, or edibles like gummies and lollipops. Purveyors claim CBD can provide relief from pain, combat anxiety, and depression. It's even been linked to helping people living with cancer.
As Democrats have control of both the House and the Senate as well as the presidency, marijuana policy reform advocates are hopeful legislative change could occur on the federal level soon. Politico pointed out that, in 2019, 296 members of Congress (68%) represent the 33 states with at least medical marijuana, which means there are sufficient votes to pass long-awaited bills. There are already several bills in the new Congress pertaining to marijuana.
It’s true CBD is having its moment. The term “CBD gummies” was the third-most searched food-related term on Google in the U.S. in 2018. Large companies like Corona owner Constellation Brands (STZ.B) and Marlboro cigarette maker Altria Group (MO) have bought multibillion-dollar stakes in marijuana companies. But forecasts for the CBD market argue this isn’t just a temporary wellness craze.
The FDA and CBD: Softening Stance?
This article looks at some of the uses of marijuana as well as the overall market for the drug.
Marijuana is still considered a controlled substance under federal government guidelines.
Remember "Reefer Madness"—the film from the 1930s that was produced to teach parents and their children about the threat of marijuana? The film was originally intended to educate audiences but has now become a cult classic and a piece of satire.
Changing Attitudes Toward Pot
This is great news for many companies betting on the compound and dealing with its murky legal status. But can investors expect all CBD to be placed in Schedule V or unscheduled altogether soon? Not quite. It's not easy for CBD to be unscheduled altogether because of international treaties the U.S. has signed. And while Epidiolex qualifies for Schedule V, only other FDA-approved marijuana-derived drugs with low levels of THC can expect to join it there.
Marijuana has been used as a means of treating illnesses in different cultures for thousands of years. The federal law banning it in the U.S., the Marihuana Tax Act, was passed in 1937. There is now growing acceptance of the plant as a legitimate option for patients who suffer from medical problems like chronic pain or seizures in modern-day America.
And across the US, there are other signs the industry is booming. Job openings in the cannabis industry listed on the careers site Glassdoor rose to 1,512 last year from 858 in 2017.
Overall hiring in the US slowed by more than expected in February, with the BLS indicating that the economy added its fewest jobs of any month since 2017. Economists will be closely watching the next BLS report for signs of whether that was just month-to-month noise or the start of a downward trend.
“Investment in hiring is one of the strongest indicators for business confidence as it requires a substantial long-term investment of time, effort, and money,” Glassdoor’s Daniel Zhao wrote.
It’s unclear whether the marijuana industry would be able to keep up its growth levels in the face of a slowdown, said Josh Wright, the chief economist at iCIMS, a hiring software firm.
And that’s not counting jobs indirectly related to the marijuana industry, like lawyers, accountants, security consultants, media companies, and marketing firms. With those included, the report said, there were 296,000 payrolls in the sector last year.
While the marijuana industry faces significant legal uncertainty, it has made headway in recent years. Recreational marijuana has been legalized by 10 states and Washington, DC.