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Leading experts in the hemp industry offer their tips on how to be successful

Panelists from U.S. hemp organizations join together in a one-off webinar to discuss the regulations surrounding the hemp industry and what is required to avoid a warning from the FDA

Lampoon reporting: growing CBD in the US

On Tuesday June 2021 the U.S Hemp Roundtable and the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) held a webinar to offer advice to small hemp businesses on how to navigate the regulations within the hemp industry. Their mission is to create an inequitable hemp industry but also to promote economic empowerment for communities of color and for minority-owned enterprises. Amongst the panel was the president of the US Hemp Authority, Marielle Weintraub, the co-founder of NuSachi, Tonya Lewis, the co-founder of Cultivated CBD, Anthony Newby, and a partner at Amin Talati Wasserman LLP, Rend Al-Mondhiry. These experts in the field of the hemp industry shared their knowledge and experience with the FDA regulations and how to make sure that business owners avoid falling on the wrong side of these regulations.

State-by-state laws that also need to be followed

The webinar was led by audience member questions with the key topic being around the legality of growing and manufacturing hemp and CBD products anywhere within the US. The overall consensus across all panelists was that it very much depends upon the rules and regulations of each state. Al-Mondhiry led this discussion by reminding the audience members that it is now a requirement under the 2018 farm bill to ensure that all hemp businesses within America have a license to grow hemp; this bill has no specific requirements when it comes to extracting hemp. She went on to highlight under the FDA laws around good manufacturing practices, if a business’ aim is to produce an ingredient for food or dietary supplements, they need to be registered as a food facility with the FDA in order to do so. While the 2018 farm bill and the FDA laws have strict regulations to follow, it is to remember that there are state-by-state laws that also need to be followed. In states such as West Virginia, Utah and Iowa, if a business has not registered their product in the correct manner that they wish to sell it, and regulators inspect the business, they will be instructed to undertake a specific registration requirement before continuing with the selling of their products.

Another piece of advice that was given was around the members of each hemp organization. Al-Mondhiry emphasized that making sure that the partners’ business’ with whom one works with are qualified to do what they are doing and stated how «one rule with the FDA is you cannot contract away your responsibility». It was Newby who reminded the audience of the position that they find themselves in when starting up a new business within the hemp industry. «There are people in every state that want to be involved in the industry and you as an operator…have some leverage». Operators of start-up hemp businesses offer an on-ramp into an emerging industry and some of the most successful operators are collaborative and look for partnerships to expand their relationships within the industry. Weintraub also pointed out that not everyone within this industry is an expert on hemp quality as it’s a fairly new industry, so to ensure success for new business’ it is recommended that they collaborate with those who have an education in the dietary supplement or food industries.

‘The Hemp Brake’ 1850 showing enslaved West Africans processing a hemp crop; by S.I.M. Major

Hemp industry as a phytoremediator

As the president of the US Hemp Authority, Weintraub knows everything there is to know about the laws and regulations that need to be taken into account when starting up a hemp business. For example, the USDA clearly calls out the necessary testing that is required for hemp products and has specific methods which can and cannot be used, as well as outlining what individual businesses need to be testing for. It is key that this testing takes place because hemp is a phytoremediator. This means that it will pull up anything that is in the soil which is great for the planet but is not ideal if hemp is being sold as a consumable product. When it comes to testing for smokable hemp, there are several different laws that must be followed in order to be able to grow and sell this product. Firstly, companies need to make sure that they are growing in a state that allows them to grow smokable hemp, and then they need to make sure that they are selling it to groups that are legally allowed to buy it. Hemp brands also need to make sure that it is stored correctly, that it is tested for any mycotoxins and other fungi that could be growing alongside the hemp plant. Businesses who process the product down into a CBD oil do not need to worry about such regulations – it depends on each individual company which makes it all confusing. New hemp businesses within the USA have to make sure in which hemp product they wish to sell so that they can then go on to produce it within the laws of the state that are located in without getting sent an FDA warning letter in the post.

When producing products, many businesses make bold claims to help sell their items to the public such as «this will help maintain a healthy sleep pattern».These claims can get business’ into serious trouble with the FDA laws as they have an obligation as a company to not sell any product or ingredient that is unsafe. Any claim that they make needs to be backed up by science to ensure that it is truthful and that they are not misleading their customers. Weintraub pointed out that to actually substantiate claims can be difficult and that the best way to stay off the FDA’s and FTC’s radar is by following the manufacturing practices, labelling products correctly and staying away from making claims. The easiest way to avoid going against the regulations of the FDA is by reading the warning letters that other organizations have received in the past. These are all available on the FDA website and so it is advised that businesses’ check these out and find out what they have been called out for doing to avoid making the same mistakes.

Educating customers about what is quality when it comes to hemp industry

Lewis works for an extraction company and expressed how they are always having to educate their customers about what is quality when it comes to hemp. «For us quality is being a fully traceable company meaning that all the raw material that comes into our company is vetted». This means that they have all the documentation on all the testing that has taken place which ensures that they know all of the testing from the entire process from flower to oil. Lewis stated how the biggest challenge within this industry is being able to educate others. To ensure success it is crucial that all members of the hemp company and the customers buying the products are educated on the processes that take place and the quality of the product that is being sold. She also recommended looking at other industries to see what they’re doing to ensure quality control and how they are succeeding. By having strategic partnerships and alignment with state and government agencies that are responsible for helping to regulate the industry, new hemp businesses can be certain of growth within their business. Lewis did sympathize with those starting out in this business as she realized that many are unaware of the protocols that are required when they first start looking into the industry and that this lack of knowledge is often a barrier for entry. This is why webinars like this one can help to educate people on what the best practices are and what they should be doing to remediate things at the front end of the business so that they are able to sell.

This webinar offered a small insight into what it takes to start up a hemp business within the US hemp industry. There are many laws and regulations along the way to trip new businesses up but by reading up on all available information beforehand, it is easier for new hemp entrepreneurs to begin their businesses with the confidence they require to ensure an ongoing success for themselves. The USF authority has guidance and standards on their website available to freely access and download for all new hemp start-ups. While they don’t cover everything, they do offer an insight into what should be looked for or what federal documents need to be signed in order to ensure a successful US Hemp Authority verified company.

Marielle Weintraub

One of the panellists at this webinar, is the president of the US hemp authority which is a certification programme that was developed to increase confidence and have products for both consumers and regulatory groups. In this webinar she discusses with the other panellists about the requirements needed to ensure success within the hemp industry as a small business owner.

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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