Mar 13, 2020
National Industrial Hemp Council Forms Consumer Protection Task Force

The National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) hosted dozens of hemp industry leaders Monday for the inaugural session of the Consumer Protection Task Force. The purpose of the effort is to determine practical regulatory recommendations that will appropriately protect consumers and ensure their safety when using these products.

The meeting, held at the law offices of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, saw academic, business, and legal figures speak on the hemp industry’s need to find a unified approach to potential FDA regulation. “We were glad to have a terrific cross-section of industry and allied stakeholders involved in the discussion,” said Russell Laird, NIHC Vice President of Public Affairs.

The NIHC Board Chairman set the stage for a robust discussion by welcoming participants and speakers from industry and academia. Justin Singer, CEO of Caliper Foods, spoke on the economic risk to producers and safety risk to consumers associated with the absence of clear regulatory and safety standards. Dr. Susan Hewlings, Director of Scientific Affairs at Nutrasource, and Jay Noller, Director of the Oregon State University Global Hemp Innovation Center, presented on the safety and efficacy of CBD based on publicly-available research as well as current understanding of the endocannabinoid system and challenges around defining CBD.

Building on this foundation, Kristi Wolff from Kelley Drye led the group discussion around potential options for FDA engagement. Participants focused on safety as a priority and discussed the benefits and challenges created by current state regulatory standards. Arby Barroso, Co-Founder of Florida-based Green Roads, noted that Florida’s regulatory model may provide a model pathway to certainty for manufacturers and producers. “In Florida, we’ve implemented a system that provides clear direction for manufacturers and transparency for consumers as to what is in CBD products. We need to have this kind of clarity at the national level in order to properly protect consumers and businesses,” he stated.

Collectively, the group identified several consumer protection priorities, which will be further developed before presentation to FDA. Laird noted “NIHC is building a consensus coalition and is excited to carry the momentum from our inaugural meeting into actionable paths forward.”

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