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We reported last week about comments submitted by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) at a hearing held by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into the sale of CBD, or cannabidiol, derived from hemp.

Leslie G. Sarasin, president/CEO of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), said that “a challenge for us is that the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, or Farm Bill, contains several provisions that allow for the cultivation, production, and commercialization of industrial hemp and hemp-derivatives like CBD. However, the new law did not alter FDA’s authority over the use of such ingredients in FDA-regulated products; not to mention the role of other regulatory agencies and the states. Food retailers recognize the confusion among the public, suppliers and retailers, and state regulators as a result of the Farm Bill language.

“It remains our intention to be in full compliance with all FDA requirements. As such, we seek appropriate assurances regarding the safety of these products and the legality of how – and where – they are merchandised.”

This prompted MNB reader Dr. Russell J. Zwanka - who has written two books on the subject, both available on Amazon - to write:

With all due respect to FMI, that's not much of a stance.  If a retailer is looking for guidance, this says "stay out of CBD until we hear from the FDA".  Meanwhile, you can go into any vape shop, natural market, farmer's market, food co-op, or that little guy named amazon, and get pretty much anything hemp-derived you'd like.  These shops are taking your customers!

The "traditional" retailers are falling way behind in what is an unstoppable consumer demand for CBD.  If a retailer wants to play it safe, fine, go for anything not ingestible, like lotions and salves and anything applied topically- like CVS and Walgreens are doing.  If you want to be a little more edgy, carry the tinctures, but do your homework.  The customers are counting on you to verify the supplier has been third party tested, uses a CO2 or MCT Oil extraction method, and uses organically farmed hemp.  Strangely enough, the items mostly in potential non-compliance with the FDA are the infused-foods.  If you're going to wait for the FDA, you'll soon join the dairy farmers waiting for the FDA to enforce the fact that "milk" is supposed to be solely from "lacteal secretion of cows, goats, sheep, or water buffalo", which seems like it left out almonds and rice and soy….

We reported the other day that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has added a new member to the company’s so-called “S-team,” which is an elite group of top executives that consult on major business decisions, though I expressed surprise that only one member of that group is a woman, and that Bezos has only said that the reason for the lack of gender diversity is due to low turnover in the group, and that change will “happen very incrementally over a long period of time.”

One MNB reader responded:

You’re only surprised because you’re not a woman.

Fair point.

We had a story the other day that took note of a Gizmodo piece saying that Amazon’s “terms of use” agreement for its Alexa-based system severely limits its users’ options - you waive your right to sue Amazon, and can only go to arbitration to resolve disputes.

This prompted MNB reader Jill LeBrasseur to write:

I don’t know if you follow the TV show DC’s “Legends of Tomorrow,” but as a plot point in their most recently concluded season a demon releases an app that has in its user agreement the statement that upon downloading the app your soul now belongs to the demon Neron. Couldn’t help but see the parallel to the end of your comments on this story.
KC's View: