Hawai‘i Department of Health Cannabis-Derived Product Advisory

May 5, 2019, 10:05 AM HST · Updated May 6, 11:17 AM
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The Hawai‘i Department of Health is reminding the public that cannabis-derived products, including those containing cannabidiol or CBD sold without a prescription, have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and are not considered safe for use. According to the department, these products may have potential health risks and are often untested and mislabeled with unproven health claims. The DOH is currently reviewing its regulatory policies and procedures for the distribution and sale of these products in Hawai‘i.

According to the FDA, the interstate sale and distribution of cannabis-derived products including products containing CBD is illegal. The FDA is actively working on its policies and guidance to states on regulatory actions for these illegal products, and warning letters have been sent to companies that have targeted vulnerable populations with false advertising. In alignment with FDA’s approach, the Hawai‘i DOH is notifying businesses in Hawai‘i of the illegal status of these products and warning them that manufacturing, distributing or selling such products in Hawai‘i may result in regulatory actions and penalties.

“The FDA and all states are struggling with developing regulatory requirements for this fast-emerging industry,” Health Director Bruce Anderson said. “As we work on our procedures and await national guidance, the department will monitor and investigate reports of any adverse health effects related to CBD products in Hawai‘i and pull products as necessary.”

In addition to the state’s concern for cannabis-derived products, state statutes also prohibit businesses from adding CBD to food, beverages, and cosmetics. Any establishment that fails to comply with this directive may lose its state food establishment permit and/or have their business closed down.

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DOH inspectors will continue to respond to concerns regarding permitted food establishments and require them to stop selling prepared products containing CBD. Adding CBD to food or beverages is considered adulteration, a violation of the food safety code. CBD products sold without a prescription and outside of licensed medical cannabis dispensaries may be pulled from sale by health inspectors at any time due to public concerns or reported adverse health effects.

Additional information on state and federal requirements for products containing CBD is available online.

Retailers selling products containing CBD as well as members of the public with general inquiries may contact DOH’s Food & Drug Branch at [email protected].

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Permitted food establishments may contact DOH’s Sanitation Branch using information posted online.

Farmers or any others in the agricultural industry may contact the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program at [email protected].

The FDA provides updates on the federal regulation of CBD products and answers to frequently asked questions on their website.

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