Who are The US Hemp Authority and What can the UK Learn from Them?
A new industry such as the hemp and CBD industry faces many challenges when it is in its infancy. Although we are seeing a boom in many things ‘canna’, there are many issues that need to be sorted out as the industry grows. The future is exciting for the hemp industry, both in the medicinal potential of hemp, but also in terms of other possibilities such is its potential ‘green’ benefits, but it needs to grow properly.
It is unusual for something which has previously been classified as illegal to consequently become legal and to a certain extent, the hemp industry is in unchartered territory in this aspect. Whilst it is exciting there is also a huge responsibility on the backs of those who are involved in the world of hemp to ensure that it expands responsibly and in the right way.
Regardless of whether it is growing hemp or growing the hemp industry, it is important that it is done responsibly. With any new industry which is growing fast, the law can often lag behind its growth and this is certainly something that we are seeing in the world of hemp.
As we get more and more research through, more and more people are wanting a slice of the cannabis cake, and it can be difficult for authorities to keep up. This also means, unfortunately, that new industries can be left open to unscrupulous people coming in and taking advantage by offering poor quality and often completely ineffective products.
Most new industries start off with only those who are passionate about it being involved, but as we see it as being increasingly lucrative, we also, unfortunately, see unscrupulous people coming in.
Once they see that there is an opportunity to make money with little regulation, some people go out to take advantage.
It is in the industry’s best interests, therefore, to have some sort of regulation and the best people to do this are the people who understand it.
US Hemp Authority
It is fair to say that the hemp and CBD industry in the USA is a little ahead of the UK in terms of its size. However, like many things, the UK isn’t far behind and right on the verge of the CBD explosion that the USA is currently experiencing.
The US Hemp Authority was formulated in conjunction with the Hemp Industries Association and the US Hemp Round Table as a way of regulating quality within the hemp industry – more specifically for hemp food, dietary supplements, and cosmetic companies. This includes CBD products such as CBD oil, CBD edibles and CBD beauty products.
The US Hemp Authority is an organisation of self-regulation which puts safety and quality first, giving hemp businesses a certification after being closely examined, to show that their products are genuine and trustworthy. They also work alongside the federal and state authorities to ensure proper regulation and that the industry has a voice.
Although the US Hemp Authority stamp is not compulsory for CBD producers, it can be useful for them to prove that they are genuine and take their responsibilities seriously.
One of the most important roles of the US Hemp Authority is that it helps to show that the industry is a responsible one, intent on ensuring high standards and quality, and therefore aiding in the growth of trust between producers and consumers and ensuring that the industry doesn’t fade away through a lack confidence in products.
At the moment, self-regulation is the only way that a rapidly growing industry can attempt to protect consumers from unscrupulous people.
What about the UK?
Just as in the USA, the hemp – and more specifically, the CBD industry is growing rapidly, and is also therefore open to abuse by people who are looking to take advantage of the lack of regulation that is out there.
In the UK the Cannabis Trades Association, are fulfilling a self-regulation role similar to that of the US Hemp Authority. Although they are by no means officially a ‘statutory or regulatory body’, they work hard to ensure that the producers of hemp-derived products such as CBD are honest and transparent about what they are selling consumers.
The Cannabis Trades Association have no legal powers to make people comply, but they are very knowledgeable about all things cannabis (including the ins and outs of the law) and are often a point of reference for local authorities and national governments.
They also investigate any reports of the breach of CBD regulations, work with the companies to put right any problems, or report to the authorities if they don’t change them. The Cannabis Trades Association now work alongside Trading Standards in the UK, the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Home Office as the go-to source of any information that they need about cannabis.
Producers can become members of the Cannabis Trades Association, firstly having to show that they comply with their regulations, and then having access to a number of services including industry specialist lawyers, industry updates and networking events. The group is also setting up Cannabis Trade Associations around the world.
If you are looking to buy CBD products and are looking to ensure that you are getting a good quality and safe product if the producers have a US Hemp Authority stamp or are a member of the Cannabis Trades Authority, you will be pretty safe in the knowledge that you are getting something legitimate.
The US Hemp Authority have recently released their first list of certified producers.
Another way to check that you are getting a good quality product is by checking that it has been lab tested by an independent laboratory. Providers should be able to give you a detailed breakdown of exactly what is in the CBD product. Check that this is what you want and that it matches what is on the label.
Creating trust is essential in any industry – after all, if consumers cannot trust that they are getting legal and good quality products, they re not going to carry on buying them. The threat that unscrupulous ‘CBD producers’ have on the industry is also a very real one – if people buy CBD products that don’t have the effect that they are expecting them to have, they will also stop buying them.
In an industry that is still very young and still requires a certain amount of ‘faith’ to be had for people to try these products, it is absolutely vital that they can trust what they are buying.
This is why it is so important that the industry is showing itself to be responsible and trustworthy, and why these self-regulating bodies are so central to the continued growth of the hemp world.