Former Rhode Island cannabis regulator takes job at FDA
It was announced this week that former Rhode Island cannabis czar Norman Birenbaum has been hired as a Senior Public Health Advisor by the Food and Drug Administration. Birenbaum worked as the top cannabis regulator in Rhode Island between 2016 and 2019 when he was asked by then Governor Andrew Cuomo to become the first Director of Cannabis Programs for the state of New York. During his time in New York Birenbaum helped oversee the implementation of new rules that allowed CBD and other cannabinoid hemp derived products to be sold as a food, beverage, or dietary supplement in New York.
In his new role at the FDA Birenbaum will be working with the Center for Regulatory Programs to advise on projects involving cannabis research and the regulation of cannabis. This is the first time that the FDA has hired a cannabis advisor. His experience in New York may help the FDA as they seek more information before creating rules to include CBD in any foods or dietary supplements. In 2017, Birenbaum was interviewed by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission for the position of Executive Director, ultimately choosing Shawn Collins.