Highlights from NoCo Hemp Conference Panels: How did we get here, and where are we going?

Highlights from NoCo Hemp Conference Panels: How did we get here, and where are we going?

The 10th NoCo Hemp Conference & Expo, held this year in Colorado's beautiful Estes Park, featured educational panels on a wide range of topics covering both the fiber and industrial potential of hemp products, as well as the plant's supplement and dietary applications. was included. Our attention focused on the policy and regulatory discussions that took place throughout the day on Thursday, April 11th. Panel “gathered prominent stakeholders and thought leaders to explore the evolving regulatory framework, innovative research initiatives, and the impending impact of regulations” expected in the 2024 Farm Bill for the hemp industry It has been. ” The day's panel discussion brought together economists, prominent lawyers, regulatory health experts, and more. Although the array of speakers may appear to have different interests, throughout the day each panel provides valuable perspectives on the common themes of the need for cooperation and minimum standards for market certainty. brought insight.

GMPC with Jillian Schauer at the 10th NoCo Hemp Conference and Expo.

keynote panel

The event began on the main stage with a keynote speech by Bo Whitney of Whitney Economics. Industry economic outlook. Key takeaways from his remarks included pointing out the difficulty of market strategy due to constantly changing rules, and urging investors to take a “wait-and-see” attitude toward the industry. There is. Currently, prices for cannabinoid biomass are stable and hemp fiber and grain production is increasing overall, but more acres of hemp are needed to be grown to meet demand. The U.S. cannabinoid market has a potential of more than $28 billion, and cannabis is trending at a similar amount. However, it is estimated that the illegal market accounts for $79 billion of the market. Mr. Whitney also pointed out that companies seeking to pursue global markets need to prepare for GMP/GAP certification.

ASTM standard

The next panel took note of the call highlighted by the previous panel for the need to develop minimum standards for consumer safety. The panel discussion included a variety of experts involved with ASTM. GMP Collective CEO and Founder David WeirencourtWith Darwin Millard of TSOC, Alex Escher of Hemp Hollow Consulting, and Hunter Buffington of Agricultural Policy Solutions. Escher noted that there is no one-size-fits-all protocol for testing cannabis, but safety is paramount in all applications. He gave specific examples of health and safety issues related to toxic dust concentrations, pointing to cases across the country where employees working in cultivation facilities have had fatal health problems. Occupational health and safety issues apply to the hemp and cannabis industry just like any other industry, and internal safety protocols must be at the heart of every operation. Mr. Vaillancourt enables collaboration between various stakeholders, including biologists, chemists, economists, legislators, regulators, etc., and the importance of cooperation in creating viable and appropriate market solutions. emphasized. He also encouraged further participation in ASTM International, a global standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technology standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems and services. He said one of the ways participants can participate is Become a member of ASTM and join us D37 Cannabis CommissionParticipate in Next USP-ASTM Workshop Cannabis Medicine Quality Lecture to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during Committee Week in June. Buffington, who is also a member of ASTM, noted that the D37 committee is collaborating with other non-cannabis committees and leveraging information and expertise from other industries. Really, there's no need to reinvent the wheel. Millard, who chairs several of his D37 subcommittees, says the only way to commercialize the plant is to pass standards. Laws create regulations, and the standard here is “meat with bones.” Without industry-recognized standards, he warns, market adoption will be hampered. Each of these panelists is an active participant at the standards development table and invites more industry operators and stakeholders to join his ASTM and engage in collaborative efforts.

Buffington noted that hemp currently boasts more than 27,000 uses, and Weirenkoort highlighted the plant's multitrillion-dollar market potential. “How do we move from today's billion-dollar economy to tomorrow's trillion-dollar economy? We do it through the development of standards,” Vaillancourt says. Congress has already told members National Technology Transfer Promotion Act Adhering to standards that demonstrate balance of interest and eliminating bias through a rigorous consensus voting process requires that all stakeholders interested in achieving viable markets with safe products have a seat at the ASTM table. , must participate in the standards development process.

ASTM Darwin Panel Saw Hemp
ASTM Panel with David Darwin at the 10th NoCo Hemp Conference and Expo.

Three pillars for the future

After the lunch break, the second keynote speaker, Night Law's Rod Kite, presented a vision for cannabis reform that included a three-pronged approach to regulating cannabis and hemp, stating, “What's good for cannabis right now? , which is good for tomorrow's cannabis.” The first pillar emphasizes strict control of access to minors, including age restrictions and the possibility of parental consent for minors. He also said this includes products that are not intoxicating, as there is not yet data to understand their effects on brain development. The second pillar emphasized the importance of quality control and pointed out that GMP standards are objective quality standards that prevent contaminants and protect consumer safety. The third pillar addresses proper labeling and marketing, which must be informed and standardized. He stressed that it is important to disclose transparent information to consumers based on objective national standards rather than state-specific standards, and should include all other relevant quality standards. . “All of this requires solutions at the federal level,” Kite said.

State of the Union on Regulation

In the next panel session, attendees heard a presentation on the 2024 “State of the Union” regulations for the hemp plant. Panelists included Michelle Bodian of Vicente LLP, Jonathan Miller of US Hemp Roundtable, Beau Whitney of Whitney Economy, and moderator Joy Beckerman of Hemp Ace International. The panel discussion began with an icebreaker, asking panelists what they would like to see more of in the hemp industry. Bodian's response pointed to the need for further definition of hemp in all its forms, including the plant and its derivatives. Whitney said the current state of hemp has created confusion for regulators and law enforcement, with a lack of guidance from the federal government creating a patchwork problem and significant costs incurred in adjusting to different state regulations. He pointed out that there was. The ripple effects of maintaining these costs could mean businesses closing, employees losing their jobs, and states losing tax revenue, further highlighting the need for Congress to: doing. establish a new framework.

Member of Parliament and the regulator's perspective

As the afternoon progressed, subsequent panels took to the stage to discuss the future direction of regulation. Speakers included Rod Kight of Kight Law, Gillian Schauer and Tami Wahl of CANNRA, and Tyler Klimas of Leaf Street Strategies. Mr. Schauer began by explaining that CANNRA is a nonpartisan, non-advocacy organization focused on education, whose members include specific states and government agencies, and whose purpose is to learn from each other. . He also provided clarity on the role of regulators. It's about enforcing the regulations passed by voters to keep consumers safe while also stabilizing business and preventing “one bad actor from ruining an entire industry.” She points out that many aspects of the law can be too scientifically dense for legislators and regulators without a scientific background. She emphasized the need for more data and standardized manufacturing, processing, and testing, while discussing how the cannabinoid market can integrate and overlap with current regulations. Kite praised CANNRA for attending the event and listening and learning from the industry itself. He noted that we have reached a crossroads where hemp and cannabis are being sold through two separate avenues that are almost at war with each other. “Now is the time to move forward,” he urged. Mr. Wahl emphasized the importance of product standards and data and the need for real-time data to ensure consumer safety. “It's up to brand owners to ensure their products are safe,” she says. At the end of the panel discussion, Mr. Schauer urged industry stakeholders to engage in productive dialogue with regulators and emphasized the distinction between those who pass laws and those tasked with enforcing them. She pointed to the discouraging reality of regulators being harassed and receiving death threats, which she said she had sadly experienced herself. (You can join the GMP Collective webinar on Bridging Regulatory Gaps and Challenges on April 24, 2024 Stream live on Zoom Alternatively, recordings can be accessed through our website. YouTube channel. )

DAB Team NoCo Hemp
DAB team participated in the 10th NoCo Hemp Conference and Expo.

FDA Fireside Chat

During the final panel session of the day, participants chatted by the fire with Patrick Cournoyer, FDA's senior scientific advisor, and Garrett Graff, managing attorney at Moyet White. The conversation began by clarifying the differences between the Farm Bill language and the authority the FDA has. Cournoyer noted that the “drug exclusion clause” creates what he calls one of several barriers to marijuana and hemp entry. Found in foods and nutritional supplementsHe emphasized the importance of immediate consumer safety, as well as the need for a high degree of assurance that consumers can safely consume substances over the long term. Mr. Cournoyer explained that the FDA CBD Policy Working Group: Established in 2019, which one A public document has also been opened. Due to feedback and comments, we found that CBD and CBD products should not be considered food or dietary supplements. Scientific research has found that high levels of CBD intake can interact negatively with certain drugs, interfere with caffeine metabolism, and cause liver toxicity and reproductive problems. Based on these findings, we need to take precautions as we continue to explore a path forward. Mr. Cournoyer emphasized that FDA's goal is to be solution-oriented and provide technical assistance upon request, and that we want to hear from stakeholders as we continue to solve these complex issues.

Overall, the day's panel discussions will feature industry players, consumers, and government agencies keeping lines of communication open and flowing as we continue to find a balance between existing and future markets while ensuring consumer safety. The importance of this was emphasized. While cannabis and hemp have historically been considered completely separate, we now know that this is no longer the case. For example, how can the non-cannabinoid side of the industry, such as hempcrete production for building materials, collaborate with hemp seed producers for nutritional products and livestock food? In what ways can all 27,000 applications As the complexities of both the hemp industry and the hemp industry begin to align and merge through clearer definitions of use and application, can we all continue to truly “liberate the plant”? It became clear that we needed to understand the different lanes we were in and how we could navigate the future together. The 10th Annual NoCo Hemp Conference provided a platform for these discussions to take place as this important and complex conversation continues to evolve. We look forward to seeing the results of these conversations move beyond the school board level and into the day-to-day work that ensures our industry not only survives, but continues to thrive.

Steve
administrator
With two decades of dedicated experience, Nuggs is a seasoned cannabis writer and grower. His journey has been a harmonious blend of nurturing cannabis from seed to harvest and crafting insightful content. A true expert, they've honed strain-specific knowledge, cultivation techniques, and industry insights. His passion shines through enlightening articles and thriving gardens, making them a respected figure in both the growing and writing facets of the cannabis world.

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