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: MJBusinessAttorneys.com.