US food-industry body The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is urging the country’s regulators to move at the same pace as the rapidly expanding CBD market.

It is alarmed by how fast the market for CBD hemp-derived products is moving and suggests regulators are struggling to keep up or to be consistent.

The 2018 Farm Bill passed by Congress and signed by President Trump at the end of last year opened up hemp and legally allows farmers to grow and sell the crop without legal repercussions. CBD, which is extracted from hemp, is projected to be the most in-demand use for the crop cultivated in the US.

However, even with the repeal of the federal hemp ban, the regulatory climate surrounding CBD consumables remains at best murky. The country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) technically prohibits adding CBD to food and beverages but products have been hitting the market.

In a new report – The Need For CBD Clarity – the GMA said: “The exploding CBD market is unprecedented, making government-as-usual unacceptable.”

The association argued: “Regulatory expediency and efficiency can still be rigorous and robust” and said its call for such swift action is about consumer safety. “More than one-third of Americans have already purchased CBD products, a number that is sure to grow – and grow quickly.”

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The GMA is calling for “clearly articulated, uniform, federal regulatory standards,” to be introduced quickly. It pointed to a “patchwork of inconsistent and often contradictory state regulations coupled with a lack of methodical testing and safety requirements”.

It added: “Consumers need clear federal regulation of the CBD market.”

It goes so far as to suggest CBD should not be used as an additive to foods and supplements under current legislation because it is an active ingredient in the epilepsy drug Epidiolex.