CBD Claims: Federal Enforcement Actions Are No Longer Limited to Warning Letters

The online sales of cannabidiol (“CBD”), including hemp-derived CBD products, have ramped up in response to the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic.

Regrettably, during these uncertain times, a handful of CBD companies have been taking advantage of people’s fear and anxiety over the spread of the virus, making certain claims that CBD can treat and even cure COVID-19.

A few weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a round of warning letters to companies making dubious statement pertaining to COVID-19, several of which also sold and marketed CBD products.

Then on April 24, the FTC took the agencies’ symbiotic enforcement actions to the next level by filing a complaint for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against one of these bad actors: Marc Ching, a California-based marketer, doing business as Whole Leaf Organics.

For the past few months, Mr. Ching had been under the radar of the federal agencies.

In November 2019, Mr. Ching received a letter from the FDA, in which the agency warned him, in part, that he was making unapproved new drug claims in violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act by claiming his CBD products (namely, CBD-EX,

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