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Adelup OKs release of seized CBD shipment but not without caveat

While agreeing to release the CBD shipment seized by the Guam Customs and Quarantine, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero cautioned retailers and consumers that the legal status of cannabidiol-based products is still in flux.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), pursuant to its authority under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act has made it clear that it will not tolerate the use of CBD in dietary supplements,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “It has even prohibited the introduction of some CBD products in interstate commerce.”

CBD products have been proliferating on Guam, but legal ambiguities are posing a challenge to local retailers engaged in this business.

Earlier this week, executive and legislative leaders sought legal guidance from the Office of the Attorney General on the importation of CBD products to Guam. The request for OAG’s legal opinion was prompted by a statement from Guam Delegate Michael San Nicolas who questioned the legality of the Customs Agency’s refusal to clear $3,000 worth of CBD products purchased by local retailers.

“Search and seizure is a serious issue that must be protected for legitimate reasons, and likewise the rights of citizens must also be protected to ensure integrity of the process,” San Nicolas said. “Our territory must always be above extrajudicial reproach to protect our credibility with federal law enforcement and the courts.”

Lou Leon Guerrero

In statement released Friday, Leon Guerrero said, “After careful review by my office and in consultation with the Attorney General, we intend to release the seized CBD products by our Customs Agency while still ensuring we adhere to all federal and local laws and regulations.”

Although CBD is no longer considered a controlled substance under federal or local law, the governor’s office said, Guam is bound to adhere to other laws that regulate it.

“I want to thank the directors of the Customs & Quarantine and Public Health for their diligence on the issue of CBD products on our island,” the governor said. “I also want to thank retailers and consumers for their patience as we work through the complex and changing regulations governing CBD.’

Until creases in federal and local laws are ironed out, the government does not guarantee that any future shipment will be hassle-free.

“GCQA will continue to monitor our borders for the importation of controlled substances and illegal products. When issues arise, GCQA will continue its attempts to comply with the FD&C Act and give the FDA reasonable time to respond,” states a press release from Adelup.

“The Office of the Governor, the Guam Customs & Quarantine Agency and the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) will continue to work together in ensuring that local and federal laws and regulations are being followed.”

CBD is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis. While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant and does not bring intoxication that comes from tetrahydrocannabinol. All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restrictions.

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The governor’s office said DPHSS “will ensure that CBD products, both edible and not, are not marketed for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease and/or for the intent of affecting the structure or any function of the body.”

Last year, FDA approved Epidiolex CBD oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy.

“Consumers should be aware that only one CBD prescription drug has been approved by the FDA. No other CBD products have been approved by any local or federal regulatory body for safe consumption,” the governor’s office said. “It is a staple responsibility of DPHSS to ensure that the general public is not impermissibly swayed to consume or use products based on unsubstantiated promises.”

Nicolas Brown, co-owner of The ReLeaf shop in Hagatna, said his company was aware of the “hiccups” besetting the nascent industry. It’s matter of educating the community about the health benefits of CBD, he added.

“We agree that it’s important for all stakeholders to carefully consider the legality of their actions under both local and federal laws, but we are also mindful of the community’s interest in these products as they search for alternatives in the management of health-related issues,” Leon Guerrero said.

“I look forward to Congressman Michael San Nicolas joining other members of Congress to push federal regulators to finalize and synchronize their rules and regulations. The vagueness on the federal level has put all states and territories, not just Guam, in this state of uncertainty with regard to public health and safety,” the governor added.


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