What can be concluded from the appointment of Lina Khan as new chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)?

Lina Khan’s appointment to chair the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – confirmed last month – was a bit of a surprise, with CBD-Intel originally anticipating that Rebecca Slaughter would be confirmed in the position from her role as acting chair.

Perhaps the support of still-presumed-to-be-outgoing commissioner Rohit Chopra was more influential than initially thought. Chopra, a favourite among the personnel of the Biden/Harris and Obama/Biden administration, is still awaiting confirmation as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Khan abstained from the most recent FTC decision on CBD – though this was most likely due to timing rather than philosophy.

Khan will likely implement an anti-trust philosophy that may make her more inclined to go after larger players rather than smaller firms such as most CBD companies – as suggested by Chopra and Republican FTC commissioner Christine Wilson in statements on previous CBD decisions.

She is also apparently a strong opponent of “big tech” overreach and the FTC’s number one priority under her chair will likely be to protect consumers from that sort of predation.

In all likelihood, FTC CBD enforcement will change slightly but the issue will not be ignored. The most egregious violators of rules on things like health claims will likely still be pursued.

But perhaps – as suggested by the two FTC commissioners last year – a little bit more leeway to those trying to discuss the potential benefits in good faith. And scant resources will be focused more on the larger companies rather than small businesses that would struggle to give any relief through fines even if found to be in violation.

       

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