The Food and Drug Administration’s uncertainty over how to regulate the hemp industry is causing challenges that some companies can’t overcome. 

Warning letters to companies for selling products illegally has diminished big companies’ interest in hemp food products and made it difficult for processors to obtain working capital. 

Steven Bevan, president of GenCanna, says his Kentucky hemp processing company had to file for bankruptcy last week. 

“The FDA doesn’t have a pathway for accepting something that was an illegal product,” 

Bevan told attendees at the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau seminar on hemp. 

Crop insurers and companies that issue reinsurance are interested in hemp because the 2018 Farm Bill made it legal to grow the non-psychotropic relative of marijuana. 

There are three main hemp products, including fiber, seed, and flowers used to make CBD oil, which is used without FDA approval to treat a range of medical problems. 

In November, FDA warned consumers that it could not conclude CBD is safe for use in human or animal food, and it sent warning letters to 15 companies. 

Bevan called the FDA’s safety concerns “hogwash.” 

He says the FDA hasn’t ever removed a single CBD product from any store shelves. 

The result of the warning letters is that big companies are following their lawyer’s advice to say away from hemp.