Experts tell lawmakers: Localize Hawaii’s CBD industry to safeguard consumers

Updated: Sep. 12, 2019 at 5:21 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - CBD can be found almost anywhere ― in many forms.

From tinctures to balms, chocolate to gummies. There’s even a cannabidiol joint.

On Thursday, lawmakers were given an education on the benefits and dangers of the increasingly popular drug that’s now flooding the marketplace.

While many products claim to be lab tested, the reality is no one’s checking to make sure you’re getting what’s advertised on the label or if the product is safe.

“We’re not against CBDs. But what we want to do is have strong consumer protection,” said state Rep. John Mizuno, chairman of the House Health Committee.

Researcher Michael Backes was among those who spoke to legislators, and said cheap CBD isolate powder from Eastern Europe and China makes up most of what’s in products people are buying online and over the counter.

“This stuff is not tested,” said Backes. “It comes in 75 gallon drums of CBD isolate power to ports all over the United States every single day. Then this stuff is stuck into products and you absolutely do not know what’s in the bottle.”

Earlier this month, a Hawaii Island teen was hospitalized with severe lung damage linked to vaping. On Thursday, the state’s health director told lawmakers her injuries could be linked to vaping CBD.

Pharmacists, meanwhile, say to ensure what you’re taking is safe it needs to be tested.

Research has shown CBD is a strong, anti-inflammatory agent. However, too much of the drug can trigger seizures and cause potentially fatal interactions with some prescriptions.

Backes says the best way to safeguard the public from issues with dosing and contaminants is to localize Hawaii’s CBD industry.

“The idea of using the incredible ag expertise in the state to take control of the quality of your own product produced in the state is by far the best approach," he said.

In addition to creating CBD legislation, some lawmakers say they’d like to see a bill that would provide some employee protections for people who use medical marijuana.

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