The FDA might finally be willing to dive into the cannabis industry

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The federal consumables watchdog has hired a long-time cannabis executive

Cannabis research and regulation was something that, until a few weeks ago was not a priority for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, it seems that the agency’s stance has been gradually changing as it has now hired a research consultant to analyze these sectors of marijuana.

For years now, the FDA has been struggling to deal with regulations on cannabis-based products, even when it comes to cannabidiol (CBD). While the 2018 Farm Bill green light got hemp disqualified, the agency has been constantly looking for extra safety data. This has led to CBD in dietary supplements and foods still not being allowed.

Now, Norman Birenbaum has been designated to become the FDA’s chief public health advisor on cannabis research and regulatory actions. Birenbaum’s previous role as director of New York State’s cannabis program makes his experience sufficient for the new position. His hiring is a clear move by the FDA to demonstrate its involvement in issues related to the plant.

According to Dr. Douglas Throckmorton, FDA’s deputy director of Regulatory Programs, Birenbaum will become an essential key to providing the center with extensive policy and political outreach expertise. This will help the agency in establishing strategic partnerships. With Birenbaum, Throckmorton and FDA look forward to expanding the relationship with the health care community, as well as with patients and patient advocacy groups.

Birenbaum had been hired by former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to fill the position of the state’s director of cannabis programs two years ago. Birenbaum was instrumental in the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) in 2021, which legalized marijuana.