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Consumer group calls for tougher government guidelines on CBD products

November 20, 2019 - WISN

By Kent Wainscott

Some Milwaukee-area CBD retailers say they would welcome more government regulation

MILWAUKEE — The search for "a cure to what ails you" has triggered a rapid rise in the sale of cannibidiol, or CBD, products.

It's been too rapid, according to one consumer group.

National Consumers League Executive Director Sally Greenberg told WISN 12 News that she believes CBD products have become too popular for regulations to keep up.

"It has been a whirlwind of activity," Greenberg said. As a result, the National Consumers League is now calling for tougher government guidelines.

CBD is derived from cannabis but doesn't produce the high associated with THC.

People are buying it up in all sorts of products for a wide range of ailments or other reasons, but there aren't Food and Drug Administration guidelines to guarantee what's in the products.

The consumer organization believes that's the problem.

"When these products were tested, 70 percent of them had ingredients that consumers don't know are in these products, like arsenic, herbicides, pesticides," Greenberg said.

WISN 12 News checked several Milwaukee-area CBD shops, which claim their products are independently tested.

The retailers said they would all welcome more government regulation.

Stephen Pozza, of Your CBD Store in Greenfield, said, "We have to protect the public, and that's part of the FDA's job."

Matthew Wetzel, owner of Laughing Grass in West Allis, told WISN 12 News that CBD oil and any kind of edible CBD products should be regulated by FDA.

And Laura Morrow, of Canni Hemp in Milwaukee's Walker's Point neighborhood, said, "I think that's important for consumers. I think a lot of people do want to see that."

The Food and Drug Administration referred WISN 12 News to recent comments from Associate FDA Commissioner Lowell Schiller, who said: "At FDA, we're trying to learn as much as we can about CBD as quickly as we can. But there's still much we don't know about the consequences of long-term use, about the risks to vulnerable populations and lots more."

The FDA and Federal Trade Commission have recently warned several companies to stop making unproven claims about health benefits of CBD, but the Consumers League wants more, calling for testing and regulation of the product ingredients, to let consumers know exactly what they're getting.

"There may be other therapeutic benefits," Greenberg said of CBD products. "We just don't know what they are until we get the FDA testing them."

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