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Complexities of the Hemp Industry Today: A Webinar from the GMP Collective

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This latest episode of the monthly webinar series untangled the various aspects currently facing the US hemp industry.

On June 27, 2024, the GMP Collective, an organization comprised of industry professionals advancing the science and safety of cannabis, presented “Decoding the Hemp Landscape: Challenges, Regulations, and Future Opportunities,” the 22nd episode in their ongoing webinar series, When Things Go Wrong. This webinar covered the many ways the hemp industry has evolved in the United States and discussed possible solutions to the obstacles being encountered today. The three guest speakers in this hour-long webinar were: Jason Miller of the US Hemp Roundtable, Erica Stark of the National Hemp Association, and Ray Kaderli of the US Hemp Building Association. They offered their expertise on the topics of hemp legislation, hemp products and materials, and future innovations.

To begin the webinar, each speaker gave an overview of their association and the changes they’ve seen over the years in this $28 billion industry. Moderator Bethany Moore then asked the speakers more on the specific uses of cannabinoids and hemp products and the challenges presented by recent legislation that would significantly affect the viability of the entire industry.

In summarizing the common theme of the discussion, David Vaillencourt, co-founder of the GMP Collective explained, “whether it's hemp cannabinoids, CBD product labeling, how do you verify without standardized test methods? There's got to be a single established way that we can benchmark in order to be able to drive more innovation, and we really need that for consumer trust.”

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Jonathan Miller explained how the US Hemp Roundtable is working to convince Congress that the answer to the problems presented by intoxicating cannabinoids is not prohibition, but regulatory structure for hemp-derived products that would ensure consumer protection. Without regulation, particularly from the Food and Drug Administration, he stated, “what we've seen is states jumping into the fold resulting in 50 different regulatory regimes for various products. And as you can imagine, when you talk about folks that are selling products across state lines, that that becomes extremely difficult to comply with.”

Erica Stark described how the National Hemp Association has been focused on getting the Industrial Hemp Act of 2023 introduced as a standalone bill to separate industrial hemp from cannabinoid hemp, which would enable regulations for industrial hemp to be as close to regular agriculture as possible. Differentiating the cultivation and processing of hemp is key, she explained, because the problematic products are not coming straight from the farm but rather from manufacturing. Stark also highlighted the versatility and sustainability of hemp.

Ray Kaderli discussed the opportunities industrial hemp provides. He explained that the US Hemp Building Association has been collaborating with the organization ASTM International to create standards and testing methods for producing hemp-based building materials that are consistent and can be used with confidence. He explained that adoption of hemp has been slow, but education and engagement has been progressing, particularly after the publication of 2024 International Residential Code, which now included a hemp-lime appendix for the first time.

The webinar also addressed how to create alignment across the various associations involved in hemp, including farmers, manufacturers, lawyers, banks, universities, and insurance companies.

To end the discussion, the speakers explained the specific changes they’re like to see happen in the industry. Responses included a mature supply chain connected by professionals bringing value to the market, descheduling cannabis, and a regulatory framework consistent across the country.

See the responses to questions submitted by attendees here or watch the full recording of this episode here.


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