This article is brought to you by CBD American Shaman, bringing wellness to the world through CBD advocacy and education.
With legal CBD production still in its infancy, there’s always another state law to track, new FDA guidance to address, or a misconception to clear up.
It’s why CBD American Shaman joined the U.S. Hemp Roundtable- a think tank of hemp industry professionals across agriculture, retail, and production spaces. The group communicates with lawmakers, advocates for sound policies, tracks legislation on the local and federal level, and reports back to colleagues and supporters about their work.
Their commitment to building a greater CBD infrastructure in the United States helped lead to the beginnings of the U.S. Hemp Authority, a certification created to set standards for trusted hemp-derived products.
A better hemp industry—built by those who know it best
Sean Pickett, general counsel for American Shaman, says it’s part of professionalizing and legitimizing the hemp industry. He recalls that when the 2018 Farm Bill passed, it quickly became clear that the hemp industry needed a way to educate the public and communicate across state lines.
“American Shaman is one of the first pioneers to research every state and make sure that they could operate in all of them with their CBD products,” says Pickett. “Then, they and other members of the hemp industry identified the need to educate.”
Since then, Pickett says it’s grown into an authority not just to industry insiders and supporters, but politicians, lobbyists, and even bank regulators. Education goes both ways, and the work requires them to make sure decisionmakers know the ins and outs of the hemp industry and that hemp companies know how to be on their best behavior.
“Since the Farm Bill passed, tons of people have been rushing into the industry, and not all of them are good actors or producing things under the best practices or regulations,” explains Pickett.
Enter the Hemp Authority—a set of standards developed by hemp industry professionals that know what they’re talking about. The group is now self-funded and reinforced by food safety organization Food Chain ID “to make sure that their regulatory process and testing is strenuous and accurate – not just a rubber stamp,” he says.
Meeting U.S. Hemp Authority standards
To pass the tests the U.S. Hemp Authority puts in place, Pickett says, “you can’t be John and Jane in their garage.” Applicants need to have the proper paperwork and operate under best practices every single day.
Hemp Authority inspectors take a look at policy, procedures, and manufacturing lines to make sure good measures are in place to keep hemp products uncontaminated. They also look at a company’s labels and lab reports to make sure everything matches up.
Once certified, companies have to work to keep their certification. They need to pass spot checks just like a restaurant would have to pass for their local health department.
By adhering to these strict rules, companies like CBD American Shaman can stay ahead of regulations before they start.
“You’re on the forefront of what everyone believes FDA regulations are going to be in the future,” he says. “Having that Hemp Authority stamp shows that you are a company that manufactures with business practices at the highest standard.”
Leading CBD by example
CBD American Shaman takes its role as an industry leader seriously—both internally and externally.
“American Shaman is proud to be a founding member of the Roundtable,” says Pickett. “But we’re also proud to be a best practices company, have dual lab tests on all our products, and two doctors that we consult with to make sure we’re understanding the bio-ramifications of our products as we put them out.”
Legitimizing the hemp industry is at the forefront of CBD American Shaman’s mission, and high-quality, heavily vetted products are only one part of that. Pickett first came onboard because of founder Vince Sanders’s advocacy for the industry at large.
“Even when it wasn’t American Shaman products at issue, he’s had me reach out to high-ranking officials like Attorney Generals, with opinion letters in different states,” recalls Pickett. “He’s also had us work behind the scenes to help small retail shops in rural areas in the Midwest to defend themselves against criminal actions that might have to be overcome as bad precedent.”
It’s one thing to focus on national policy around hemp—but local laws and business policies can make or break a small business.
“We provide a lot of assistance with compliance and the comprehension of current policy, whether it’s a city council concerned that hemp may not be legal or a bank president that needs reassurance that banking or credit card processing for an industrial hemp company is okay,” says Pickett.
“These type of hemp advocates are why you have something like the Roundtable come into existence, to help promote CBD and the hemp industry, it was a natural extension of the work we were already doing.”
Results that change lives
CBD American Shaman’s main goal is to make CBD available to anyone who needs it—and sometimes it means rolling up their sleeves and getting their own hands dirty.
When their products were pulled from Kansas shelves even though they contained legally-allowable levels of THC, CBD American Shaman scrubbed out their equipment and made a special formula for the state, rather than pull their products entirely. But they also advocated for changes to industrial hemp laws, and last year, Kansas state law changed.
Whether CBD American Shaman products are involved or not, Pickett is ready to jump in, from helping a veteran having trouble opening a store in Blair, Nebraska or preparing documents for the FDA on nanotechnology in CBD.
Through the Roundtable, the work he does has even greater reach, like coming up with a way for customers and professionals to track local laws and national policy, from the comfort of their own homes.
“We try to cut through political red tape to truthfully educate those people who are making or adjusting laws in real-time,” says Pickett. “The biggest issue for CBD or the hemp industry is education, and we’re happy to help everyone learn more.”