The U.S. Hemp Authority creates regulatory standards and certifies hemp and CBD businesses through third-party auditing. The organization issued its first Certified Seals to 13 companies in March, and more than 60 companies have been certified under the U.S. Hemp Authority’s Guidance Procedures 1.0.
“[When] we rolled out 1.0, … because we got it out there and we started working with it and it was very brand new, we realized that there were maybe some things that were missing from it, or that it could be a stronger program,” U.S. Hemp Authority President Marielle Weintraub told Cannabis Business Times.
The certification program has been heavily scrutinized by the hemp industry since its launch. While some industry stakeholders saw it as a positive step forward for the nascent industry after the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp production in the U.S., others questioned its legitimacy.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Hemp Authority launched its Guidance Procedures 2.0, which aimed to improve upon the initial program with input from hemp industry stakeholders. The organization set up two rounds of public comment, which garnered more than 2,000 comments. A Technical Committee charged with refining the program reviewed the comments, and the U.S. Hemp Authority’s Guidance Procedures 2.0 reflect several policy changes in response to the feedback.
“What we did with 2.0 is actually tried to work with industry experts, everyday people [and] every part of the chain, from farmers to processors to brand owners, to build a much stronger program, which we have called 2.0,” Weintraub said. “There were some very specific requests that kept coming up over and over again, and those are probably the biggest changes you’ll see reflected in our guidance procedures. We wanted it to be very much consumer-facing and consumer-friendly.”
Under the new guidelines, processors, manufacturers and brand owners must comply with all relevant FDA regulations for foods, beverages, cosmetics and dietary supplements. The program now prohibits genetically-engineered hemp, and any genetically-engineered non-hemp ingredients must be identified on the product label.
“We seem to have a lot of terminology and we don’t seem to have a lot of strict understanding of what that terminology means,”