Was the release of cannabidiol (CBD) products initially seized by the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency, per orders from Adelup, premature?
Stakeholder agencies have expressed concerns over their release during Tuesday’s informational briefing at the legislature.
In the absence of formal rules and regulations established by local or federal agencies to monitor the importation and distribution of CBD products, in particular, GovGuam agencies have resorted to referencing the Guam Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act which mirror the federal FDCA, according to Department of Public Health and Social Services Director Linda DeNorcey.
DPHSS is responsible for enforcing this law and as written in the law, “it is prohibited to introduce or deliver for introduction into interstate commerce any food (including any animal food or feed) to which THC or CBD has been added.”
Rosanna Rabago, DPHSS Division of Environmental Health acting chief, said: “It truly doesn’t matter whether its hemp, cannabis, or cannabis-derived products, the fact that the Farm Bill of 2018 did not touch FDA’s regulatory authority means that our Guam law stands and these products that are coming in … how do we classify them? Are they drugs? Well, CBD and CBD cannabis are not approved as drugs.”
She added: “Let’s look at food. Are any food products that are coming in for interstate commerce or even marketed in the US approved, as per FDA and as per our Guam law? FDA has stipulated in its website that food is not approved. Dietary supplements fall under the same thing. What about pet food? Pet food and dog biscuits which were also among the products that customs detained are not approved.”
The existence of such stipulations that deem the importation of THC and CBD products through interstate commerce illegal seems to incite concern within GCQA because of the “free-for-all” nature of the order to release all the products seized as well as orders to refrain from seizing any more.
GCQA Chief Vincent Perez said: “I’m afraid to see that because we are allowing the products in right now. Can you imagine what happens when we have CBD products from China, from the Philippines … where does it end? When are we gonna protect our island? I know we had interim guidance that says to release these things, right? in a nutshell, that’s pretty much what we are being told. I personally don’t agree with it. Because we are doing things that are contrary to what the law is telling us to do.”
For members of Customs and Quarantine, Public Health, the Department of Agriculture, the Office of the Attorney General or members of the Cannabis Control Board, awaiting federal direction from the FDA seems to be the ultimate direction to follow. But a timeframe for the release of FDA guidance remains unknown.
“We have not been given any date as to when they will review these products or when their inspection of these products will be completed. Or there may not be any response at all. So if there isn’t any response then we don’t take any action as far as we’re concerned,” he said.