Increasing consumer interest in cannabis-derived ingredients has led to an explosion of the use of the non-intoxicating cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD) in a wide variety of products, including drugs, foods, dietary supplements, personal care products, and cosmetics for both human and animal use. While CBD-containing products continue to proliferate – online and in stores across the globe – regulators have struggled to keep pace with the marketplace, and are now starting to examine and exercise their enforcement authorities over CBD-containing products.

Confusing matters further, numerous media outlets have reported that CBD is now “legal.” In the U.S., the recent passage of the 2018 Farm Bill clarified that hemp, and hemp-derived ingredients including CBD, are not Schedule I substances under the Controlled Substances Act. While this change brought much-needed clarity to the legal distinction between Cannabis that is considered non-controlled hemp and Cannabis that is illegal marijuana, hemp-derived CBD remains subject to regulation by several regulatory agencies at both the federal and state level.

FDA has taken the view CBD cannot be marketed as an ingredient in foods or dietary supplements under the exclusionary clauses of the statute that prohibit a substance from marketing as a food or dietary supplement if it was first studied as an investigational new drug. States such as Maine recently started enforcing the FDA position by taking market action against CBD-containing food and dietary supplements.

The uncertainty and complexity around the use of CBD in foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetics is not unique to the U.S. In the U.K., where a booming marketplace for CBD-containing products has also emerged, the Food Standards Authority (FSA) recently determined that CBD is a novel food ingredient and is advocating for removal of CBD-containing foods from the marketplace until CBD is approved as a novel food.

The ever-changing landscape for CBD underscores the need for companies to closely monitor regulatory developments and conduct appropriate diligence before commercialization of a product in their market.


In this year’s edition of Consumer Horizons, the Hogan Lovells global Consumer team identifies trends that will impact food and beverages companies, fashion and luxury goods producers, retailers, consumer electronics manufacturers, and other consumer companies throughout 2019.

Download Consumer Horizons 2019 by registering here.

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Photo of Martin Hahn Martin Hahn

Partner, Washington, DC

Martin Hahn uses his background in food technology and his comprehensive understanding of the laws governing the food industry to navigate clients through the myriad regulatory and business issues impacting the industry from farm to table. He recognizes the demands placed on his clients and finds innovative and creative solutions, particularly when responding to observations raised by regulators  during inspections. Whether the issue involves obtaining the authorization of a new food or dietary ingredient, complying with manufacturing requirements, labeling or advertising, product recalls, or enforcement, Martin serves as an effective advisor and advocate.

Martin’s career has touched on almost every issue impacting the food industry. He has a comprehensive understanding of the laws affecting the labeling and advertising of foods, dietary supplements, infant formulas, medical foods, and foods for special dietary use. He helps clients anticipate new trends and develop the data that is needed to distinguish their products from others on the market. With his understanding of science and technology in the food industry, Martin provides assistance in obtaining regulatory authorizations to market new food ingredients, food packaging materials, and dietary ingredients. He also assists clients in responding to proposed regulations and draft guidance, as well as, tracks and keeps his clients apprised of the latest trends in class action law suits and helps clients anticipate new regulatory initiatives.

Martin grew up on a farm and worked in food processing plants before going to law school. His hands-on experience in the field and degree in food technology allow him to better understand the challenges his clients face in complying with the laws impacting food manufacturing. He understands Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and the regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Photo of Richard Welfare Richard Welfare

Richard Welfare focuses on regulatory compliance work within the Commercial Law practice area.  Richard works with manufacturing companies to ensure that they comply with legislation and regulatory frameworks, including requirements governing product composition, labeling, packaging and claims, rules relating to advertising and marketing campaigns and other key considerations when launching a product in the EU/UK. Richard has helped clients resolve issues with UK enforcement authorities, including Trading Standards, the ASA (Advertising), MHRA (Medical Devices) and the FSA (Food).

Richard has worked with in-house counsel and corporate affairs teams to design and implement public affairs programs and targeted communication strategies, and has worked with companies to design safety programs, following safety or product quality crises.

Richard advises clients on the contracting arrangements, providing commercial support to in-house teams. He works on a variety of contracts including those for supply, co-manufacturing, distribution, logistics, warehousing, agency and general trading terms. Richard also represents companies in the appointment of celebrities for advertising or endorsement campaigns and major sponsorship opportunities.

Photo of Samantha Dietle Samantha Dietle

Associate, Washington, DC

Sam Dietle provides practical legal solutions and regulatory guidance to all segments of the food industry, including manufacturers, restaurants, retailers, animal producers and processors, and their trade associations.

She advises clients on federal and state regulatory issues that arise throughout the entire food supply chain, including labeling and advertising compliance and claim substantiation issues, enforcement actions by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), litigation support, and drafting comments on proposed regulations and agency guidance. Sam also counsels clients in consumer products industries on compliance with Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) requirements.

Prior to joining Hogan Lovells, Sam advised food packaging companies on FDA premarket requirements and regulatory compliance matters. Sam also worked with electronic cigarette companies as FDA began to regulate this industry. While in law school, she served as a judicial intern in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, working on vaccine injury claims cases.