(BIVN) – A bill to regulate products containing cannabidiol in Hawaiʻi passed the State Senate on third reading on Tuesday.
Two senators spoke from the floor about the bill. Both lawmakers voted in support of the measure, but Puna Senator Russell Ruderman had some concerns.
“I would like to express my reservations on this bill, but first I’d like to declare a potential conflict of interest in that I sell a lot of CBD in my personal business,” said Ruderman, who is the owner of Island Naturals grocery stores. “Although this bill wouldn’t affect me more than the several industries that it affects, in the abundance of caution I’d like to disclose that potential conflict.”
After Senate President Ron Kouchi found there to be no conflict, Ruderman explained his reservations on the bill. “I don’t believe that we are the right place to regulate it,” Ruderman said. “I think it’s obvious that the Department of Health has more important, more urgent things to do than regulate CBD and even when the current crisis is over this will still remain true.”
According to the description of the SB 2050, the proposed bill:
Establishes a regulatory framework for products containing cannabidiol that were manufactured legally through approved government programs. Clarifies that these products are not considered adulterated food, beverage, or cosmetic products. Prohibits manufacturers from making health-related claims. Requires product labeling for the products to be legally allowed in the State. Takes effect 7/1/2050.
“Aside from the economic benefits it’s bringing to many people in our state, the health benefits are huge and still developing,” Senator Ruderman said. “Even unregulated, I can think of no other product in our society that has the benefit to risk ratio the CBD has, and it’s still unfolding. Ultimately, the federal government will regulate CBD and supersede any efforts we take and I don’t think it’s useful to spend millions of dollars and a lot of effort by the Department of Health to do something that is going to be superseded any minute now.”
“I think that this is the mildest of the CBD regulating bills that we saw and many in our industry support it,” the Puna senator said. “And I want to thank the three chairs involved for the work on this bill and letting this bill be the one to proceed. I remain skeptical that this is an appropriate Hawaii priority, and I think this is a rabbit hole we don’t need to go down. so I’ll be watching carefully and voting with reservations.”
Senator Rosalyn Baker also spoke in strong support of the measure.
“In 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture opened the industrial hemp market due to the passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018,” Sen. Baker said. “With the new industrial hemp market, approximately over 16,000 hemp growers have emerged throughout the United States. In response, the FDA – the Food and Drug Administration – issued non-legally binding public statements, arguing that it is illegal to market cannabidiol as a food additive our dietary supplement because it is an active ingredient in a pharmaceutical drug. In Hawaiʻi, the Department of Health has adhered to the FDA’s public guidance. However, cannabidiol products continue to be sold across Hawaiʻi with no regulatory oversight. While the nation awaits the FDA to further act on this issue, Senate Bill 2050 senate draft 2 creates a timely regulatory framework to address some of the confusion amongst consumers and the industry. It really tags on to a regulatory framework that already exists with the Department of Health.”
SB 2050 passed 25 “ayes” and 0 “noes”. Five senators, including Ruderman, voted “aye” with reservations.