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DOH Advises Consumers, Businesses on Cannabis-Derived Products

The Hawai‘i Department of Health is advising the public that cannabis-derived products including products containing cannabidiol or CBD sold without a prescription have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and are not considered safe for use.

The public is advised that these products may have potential health risks and are often untested and mislabeled with unproven health claims. 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 their 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 Department of Health is notifying businesses in Hawai‘i of the illegal status of these products and providing a warning that regulatory actions and penalties may follow for those who knowingly manufacture, distribute or sell such products in Hawai‘i.

“The Department of Health intends to regulate all cannabis-derived products in a manner consistent with the approach of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” said Health Director Bruce Anderson. “The FDA and all states are struggling with developing regulatory requirements for this fast-emerging industry. 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 including those containing CBD, state statutes also prohibit businesses from adding CBD to food, beverages and cosmetics. Any establishment that fails to comply with this directive may be subject to the loss of their state food establishment permit and/or closure of their business by health inspectors.

Department of Health inspectors will continue to respond to concerns regarding permitted food establishments and require them to cease selling prepared products containing CBD as it is not approved by FDA as an allowable food ingredient and 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.

For additional information on state and federal requirements for products containing CBD and answers to basic questions click here.

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

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

Farmers or 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 here.

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