Colorado Governor Jared Polis rallied more than 200 hemp farmers, manufacturers, producers, retailers, and industry professionals during his keynote address to the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Hemp-CBD (cannabidiol) Supplement Congress held earlier this month.
No stranger to CBD and hemp legislation, Polis called for action for an easier hemp licensing application process, which he says would strengthen agricultural communities.
“We know what’s worked to grow our agricultural sectors, and it’s no different for hemp. It’s a big part of our rural economic initiative,” Polis said. “You came to the right place to learn about an industry that is very much, even in Colorado, still in our early days, but more mature than in other states.”
Colorado is on the forefront of industrial hemp production thanks to innovative leadership and Polis outlined the newest public-private initiative called CHAMP (Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Plan). The plan was created to provide in-depth knowledge and information about CBD to other governmental agencies. CHAMP consists of eight focus groups and concentrates on research, development and seed; cultivation; testing; transportation; processing; manufacturing; marketing; banking and insurance.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials also provided an update on efforts to implement hemp provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Cara Welch, FDA’s Acting Special Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner for Policy Legislation & International Affairs, stressed that the agency has well-established frameworks and regulatory tools for evaluating products under its jurisdiction and the same frameworks and tools are being applied to hemp.
“We’re trying to be as transparent and informative as possible on these issues, and to resolve open questions quickly, efficiently, but also thoughtfully,” Welch said.
USDA Hemp Program Chief Bill Richmond said that federal authorities are working to provide farmers and state and local regulators with a solution that simplifies interstate hemp commerce and the USDA is wrestling with the Farm Bill’s requirement for a national THC testing protocol.
“Our goal is to provide a consistent, easy-to-follow regulatory framework around hemp production,” Richmond said.
During the two-day AHPA Congress, hemp industry experts shared preliminary data showing rapid industry growth. Hemp-derived CBD sales ballooned to $238 million, an increase of 57 percent in 2018 over the previous year, according to Nutrition Business Journal. Hemp acreage under license across the U.S. increased nearly fivefold in the past year from 112,000 acres in 2018 to 480,000 acres in 2019, according to data gathered by advocacy group votehemp.com.
“The overwhelming turnout for the first AHPA Hemp-CBD Supplement Congress demonstrates this emerging industry’s commitment to becoming a well-regulated industry in order to meet growing consumer demand for legal, safe and high-quality products,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. “The industry must navigate rapidly evolving legal, regulatory and financial landscapes and AHPA is taking what it has learned from the well-established herbal industry to provide companies with the expertise and resources needed to ensure the long-term success of this emerging sector of the herbal industry.”
More than 100 attendees also participated in half-day workshops covering current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) requirements for dietary supplements and regulations for new dietary ingredients (NDIs) and generally recognized as safe (GRAS) ingredients for food and supplements.
For more information, visit www.ahpa.org.