Amidst unclear rules and regulations surrounding CBD imports, Guam has
ended its extrajudicial seizure of CBD products entering the country.
Governor Lou Leon Guerrero announced on Friday that the products that
have been intercepted and held by the territory’s Customs and Quarantine
Agency will be released.
The Agency began seizing cannabidiol products shipped to the territory
in February after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized the
cultivation and sale of hemp and hemp products. The bill specifies that
CBD products derived from hemp cannot have more 0.3% THC.
Director of Guam’s Customs and Quarantine Agency, Ike Peredo, said
that the CBD products were first seized because of a positive test for
THC. However, the Agency’s equipment only detects the presence of
THC. They are unable to accurately determine whether the THC percentage
is under the legal limit.
Before Friday’s announcement, the Agency had continued to seize and
hold CBD product imports to ensure compliance with FDA labeling requirements.
Under current FDA regulations, it is illegal to put food with added CBD
into the stream of commerce or to market CBD as a dietary supplement.
This requirement remains enforceable despite the passage of the Farm Bill.
Guam Director of the Department of Public Health and Social Services, Linda
DeNorcey, sent a team to the customs agency to assist with ensuring FDA
compliance. After inspecting the products, they sent their findings to
the FDA and planned on waiting for confirmation that the products did
not violate any regulations before releasing them.
Guam Congressman San Nicolas blasted the CBD product seizure, accusing
the Agency of violating citizens’ civil rights by taking and holding
these products without cause. In a letter to Peredo, Nicolas wrote that
the Agency’s supposed motivation for seizing the product came from
an order from the Department of Health and Social Services, but DeNorcey
was unable to confirm any such order. Nicolas sent copies of his correspondence
with Peredo and DeNorcey to the Federal U.S. Attorney on Guam and the
Guam Attorney General to make them aware of the inconsistencies in the
justification for seizure.
Another inconsistency in Guam’s CBD seizures is the fact that the
territory was only taking air cargo shipments of the products, as they
do not have the authority to inspect CBD products shipped via the Unites
States Postal Service.
In the absence of any clarification from the FDA, Governor Guerrero made
the decision to release the CBD imports but have Guam’s public health
department closely monitor the labeling of the products as they enter
retail stores. The release of the products began on Saturday, and the
Customs and Quarantine Agency will no longer seize CBD imports.
CBD products have been legal and available for purchase in Guam for over
a year, and the territory legalized adult use of marijuana in April.
Charles Feldmann is a Founding Partner of Feldmann Nagel Cantafio & Song, PLLC
and head of their international cannabis team. You can read his full bio at: