The CBD sector has come a long way since the hemp-derived compound was federally legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill. Driven by immense demand due to its diverse medical and cosmetic applications, experts predict the industry will be worth $20 billion by 2024. However, despite the fact that there are thousands of CBD products on the market, the sector lacks a comprehensive regulatory structure.
Despite mounting pressure from growers, stakeholders, and politicians, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that it will take years to regulate without any aid from Congress. To alleviate this, a number of hemp industry leaders have launched an independent non-profit to help expedite the process.
Dubbed the Council for Federal Cannabis Regulation (CFCR), it is aimed at making cannabis a mainstream consumer goods product by educating federal regulators, legislators, and civilians outside the industry.
The council will be composed of four committees: a Legal and Government Relations Committee, a Scientific Advisory Committee, a Corporate and Business Committee, and a Diversity and Social Equity Committee.
It will be headed by Sheri Orlowitz, founding partner of Artemis Holdings and a Marijuana Policy Project Board member; Jeffrey Dunetz, Managing Partner at Artemis Holdings Group; Steven Hawkins, Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project; Mike Froy and Eric Berlin of Denton’s LLP; Charlie Black, Chairman of the Prime Policy Group, and Bruce Linton, the former CEO of Canopy Growth as the head of the Corporate and Business Council.
“That kind of skillset is what we need in this industry; to have an open mind with a science background and the understanding of entrepreneurship, as well as the understanding of how the FDA works,” says Orlowitz, who was a former Justice Department prosecutor.
She introduced the council and its team members on February 24 at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Miami Beach. The council’s first order of business is to develop a pathway for hemp-derived CBD for use as a food and beverage infusion, and she says the council has already sat down with the FDA and understands the agency’s position.
Although the FDA doesn’t recognize CBD as safe for human consumption, she expects the agency will start looking at CBD as a possible dietary supplement.
“That’s the initial conversation we’re going to have. I expect the FDA to move CBD away from the regulatory nightmare that it has given us, and I expect that we’ll get to it by the end of the year, maybe sooner.”
Analysts believe that the entire CBD industry, including companies like Willow Biosciences Inc. (TSX: WLLW) (OTCQB: CANSF), is hopeful that the council will be a bridge between all concerned parties and this could expedite the process of developing appropriate federal regulations for the industry.
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