Will COVID lead to delays in regulatory procedures?

The ongoing pandemic lockdown looks to be ending in some areas with easing of measures in numerous jurisdictions. But the months lost – and continued social distancing measures which will not be entirely lifted in the near future – will have an impact on regulation going forward.

However official sources are unlikely to admit and delay regulatory changes until the very last moment – judging on how bureaus reacted to previous potential hold-ups. For example, the UK could extend the grace period for having novel food applications in place for items sold in the market. However, it is unlikely to make any announcement in that regard any time soon and companies will have to continue to prepare under the assumption the 31st March 2021 deadline will go ahead as planned.

And whether or not the UK does choose to delay the deadline, European authorities will almost certainly have issues in reviewing and processing the novel food applications received.

CBD-Intel has been unable to get confirmation at this time from the UK Food Standards Agency on whether a delay will take place. However previous examples in the vaping industry show that regulators are often reluctant to announce any delays until the last possible moment – presumably to force companies to continue to work towards compliance and in the off chance they miraculously catch up and meet the imposed deadlines.

Other jurisdictions will also likely suffer. The US Food and Drink Administration (FDA) has still yet to put any firm dates on its CBD rulemaking process – only saying that it is continuing to work on the issue. Once again, parallels from vaping indicate this will almost certainly be a long process that will be further delayed by COVID19 measures.

The FDA regulation of vaping comes through Pre-Market Tobacco Applications (PMTAs). The implementation of this system was delayed a number of times. And sources at the FDA told CBD-Intel’s sibling publication ECigIntelligence that due to staff shortages, personnel working on PMTAs had been moved to other priorities. This is almost certainly also going to be the case with those working to develop rulemaking proposals for CBD.

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