Hemp Industries Association Conference 2019 & A Conversation with Joy BeckermanMinistry of Hemp Podcast
Our Editor in Chief Kit O’Connell just returned from the 2019 Hemp Industries Association Conference, so he came on our podcast to discuss what he’d learned and share part of an interview he conducted with HIA president Joy Beckerman.
In episode 19 of the Ministry of Hemp Podcast Matt interviews Kit about his visit to the Hemp Industries Association annual conference, which took place this year in Charlotte, NC. The big talk at the event were new Department of Agriculture guidelines which could make it even harder for U.S. hemp farmers. Another topic of concern at the show was whether North Carolina could ban smokable hemp.
But there was lots to discuss after the first year of legal hemp growing since the 2018 Farm Bill became law, legalizing the crop again after decades of prohibition. Kit gives a shout out to The Hempville, a company helping North Carolina farmers bring hemp fiber and other parts of the plant to market. He also mentions a presentation by hemp lawyer Frank Robison, who previously came on our show, and PlusCBD Oil, one of our favorite CBD brands.
Joy Beckerman, president of the Hemp Industries Association (left), poses with Kit O’Connell, Editor in Chief of Ministry of Hemp. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp)
At the end of the podcast, Kit shares part of a lengthy conversation he had with Joy Beckerman, the president of the HIA. and a hemp advocate with decades of experience. Joy is also regulatory officer and industry liaison for Elixinol, one of our favorite CBD brands. Kit and Joy talk about supporting small hemp farmers, future Food & Drug Administration guidelines for CBD, the cleverly named CBD brand Sunday Scaries, and the future of the industry in general.
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More hemp & CBD resources
Kit created a Twitter moment with highlights from the 2019 Hemp Industries Association Conference. Here’s some other resources we mention in the podcast:
CBD is predicted to become a billion dollar industry in 2019, and the CBD boom was very visible at this year’s Hemp Industries Association Conference. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp)Hemp Industries Association Conference 2019: Complete episode transcript
Below you’ll find the complete written transcript for this episode:
Matt Baum: 00:06 Welcome to another exciting episode of The Ministry of Hemp podcast. My name is Matt Baum and I am your host, and today we are going to take a break from listening to me. You’ve got to be getting sick of it by now and I totally understand. I’m going to hand the reigns over to editor-in-chief of ministryofhemp.com, Kit O’Connell, who became our man on the street reporter at the recent Hemp Industries Association Conference in Charlottesville, North Carolina. Just like it sounds, this is a show for hemp professionals, for people that are in the industry and people that are looking to get into the hemp industry. Kit met a lot of cool people and talked to a lot of cool people, one of which is Joy Beckerman, the President of the Hemp Industries Association. She also works in the industry as a partner in a hemp food and manufacturing co-packing and hemp goods distribution company based out of New York State. Joy is incredible and I’m super excited for you to hear this conversation, so let’s get right into it.
The 2019 Hemp Industries Association Conference
Matt Baum: 01:14 So, Kit, welcome back to the show. You were just at the Hemp Industries Association Conference.
Kit O’Connell: 01:19 Yeah.
Matt Baum: 01:20 This was in Charlotte. It’s a little warmer there than in Nebraska right now.
Kit O’Connell: 01:24 Yeah, although it was a little colder than in Austin where I usually am. So it was kind of in-between.
Matt Baum: 01:29 You poor thing.
Kit O’Connell: 01:31 It was nice though, it was nice, though. And I haven’t been to Charlotte before but I enjoyed it a lot. They have Hemp Association Conferences, one that moves around, so last year it was in Los Angeles and this year they were in Charlotte, and North Carolina in general has a really vibrant hemp industry. So that was really great to see.
Matt Baum: 01:51 So, tell me about the conference itself. This is mainly industrial hemp that we’re dealing with, is that right?
Kit O’Connell: 01:58 Yeah, and I mean compared to like, because we went to the NoCo Hemp Expo earlier this year together, and this is much more, has the feel of just industry insiders, I think is the biggest difference. There was some aspects that were open to the public for one day, but a lot of the talks and just the overall feel of it is just for people really within the hemp industry. And the Hemp Industries Association has been around since ’94 so it was interesting. I felt like I got a real sense of history of the industry this year, just seeing how much things have changed. I got talking to some people who, I won’t name them, but they’re some of the earliest members and they were talking about how, when this organization got started, it really came together as a way to help really early entrepreneurs in the hemp industry, the earliest entrepreneurs in the US of the modern hemp era who were importing hemp from China to make fabric, clothing, especially, or some hemp foods.
Kit O’Connell: 02:59 And this was even before Canada had legalized hemp, which was a few years later. So it was just a way to bring people together so they’d have more purchasing power and more influence over what they imported from China and more financial clout to try to get this controversial material through customs. Flash forward, so much time later, and now we have this booming industry that’s probably going to… CBD sales are probably going to exceed one billion in 2019.
Matt Baum: 03:31 God, that’s insanity. That is completely… It’s-
Kit O’Connell: 03:33 Yeah.
Exploring HIACON 2019
Matt Baum: 03:35 Was that the major thing that was there? CBD? I mean, when we were at NoCo, it seemed like that was pretty much the largest presence there.
Kit O’Connell: 03:43 Absolutely. It was some CBD brands and a lot of the conversation was about CBD, but there was also a lot of talk just about the actual hemp farming and there was a couple people doing seed in oil and there was one booth, this company out of North Carolina that I want to shout out because they’re a smaller company called The Hempville and they are starting to help North Carolina farmers sell their fiber and hemp hurd and the stuff that you need to make the plastics or Hempcrete, so they’re trying to create a market for those farmers starting out with those other types of hemp. But just like the industry as a whole, CBD really dominates it. It was CBD brands or it was companies supporting CBD brands, like different ways to test your hemp for the cannabinoid content and then that kind of thing. And of course a lot of conversations were about CBD, although the USDA was a big topic, which I think we’ll get to in a minute.
Matt Baum: 04:40 Oh, we’ll get to that, don’t worry. So real quick, I’m looking through your pictures that you put on your Twitter Moment and we’ll have a link to that in the show notes. You said the word hemp hurd when you were talking about Hempville. You said the word hemp hurd.
Kit O’Connell: 04:52 Hemp hurd.
Matt Baum: 04:54 What is hurd? I don’t know that one. H-U-R-D.
Kit O’Connell: 04:57 H-U-R-D. It’s another word for the core of the hemp plants, the hemp plant heads’ stringy fibers in it, but it also has this woody core, and the most common use for that right now is, we chop it up into wood chips like you’ll see in the pictures.
Matt Baum: 05:11 Yeah. It was like a big bag of it.
Kit O’Connell: 05:13 Yeah. There was a big bag of it, The Hempville, and that, it can be mixed with lime to make Hempcrete, which of course is a powerful, very healthy way to insulate your home. It’s incredibly efficient and sustainable as a way to insulate your home. So that’s one of the major uses. Then you’ll also see in the picture, they have it chopped up into very fine, almost like dust, and that’s for using in these composite plastics that are made out of hemp.
Matt Baum: 05:38 That is very cool. I see-
Kit O’Connell: 05:40 Yeah, that was really neat.
Matt Baum: 05:41 You stopped by PlusCBD after that? They’re buddies of ours on one of our-
Kit O’Connell: 05:45 Oh, yeah, we love them.
Matt Baum: 05:46 … friends. They have a new roll on. That’s not a deodorant, I assume. It’s just like a roll on.
Kit O’Connell: 05:49 No.
Matt Baum: 05:49 Okay.
Kit O’Connell: 05:52 Been joking about the deodorant since we found that there is a CBD deodorant out there.
Matt Baum: 05:56 Oh, no kidding. I didn’t know that.
Kit O’Connell: 05:58 Yeah, yeah, it exists. Yeah.
Matt Baum: 06:02 Didn’t [inaudible 00:06:02] CBD and not stink. That’s great.
Kit O’Connell: 06:05 Yeah. I don’t know how great it is. It’s a little bit silly, but that’s out there. It exists. Somebody in our team spotted it at T.J. Maxx of all places.
Matt Baum: 06:14 Oh, of course. Well, that’s where you go for your hemp needs, right? T.J. Maxx.
Kit O’Connell: 06:18 Right. No, of course not. [crosstalk 00:06:21].
The USDA interim guidelines for hemp
Matt Baum: 06:22 So what was the big talk at this conference? I mean, every conference you go to, like everybody’s pretty much… They’re all there to celebrate things, but everybody has one thing on their mind. What was the big stink at this one?
Kit O’Connell: 06:33 Well, the big one was the USDA for the most part. So, just like in the days before the conference, in very late October, the USDA released these interim hemp growing guidelines. And so, as we’ve talked about before, of course, the Farm Bill legalized hemp, but then it kicked the ball over to the FDA and the USDA, the Department of Agriculture. And the Department of Agriculture, of course, is going to set growing guidelines and then eventually the FDA is going to set some guidelines for the CBD. But that part, the FDA, might not happen for quite a while. We really don’t know.
Matt Baum: 07:12 Oh, boy.
Kit O’Connell: 07:12 But the USDA just spread out these guidelines and the whole industry is really still digesting them. So I want to preempt this by saying that this is my preliminary high-level impressions.
Matt Baum: 07:26 Okay.
Kit O’Connell: 07:27 [inaudible 00:07:27] I know you and I are both going to get more expert opinions as we dig into this, because this is going to be really important, and I think we’re going to see push back against these regulations, whether that’s in just trying to lobby to see them be changed or eventually it might even come to legal action. If we-
Matt Baum: 07:42 We should preface this by saying we’re not lawyers. We always say we’re not doctors, but let’s take a moment here to say we’re not lawyers, too.
Kit O’Connell: 07:49 And this is what I took away from listening to people who are lawyers or otherwise industry experts. But that obviously is not firsthand at this point. So, just like a broad level, there’s a real fear that this… There was a lot of hope that the Farm Bill had taken the Drug Enforcement Agency out of involvement in hemp growing, and it did force the DEA to take hemp or CBD off of the schedule of drugs. But, these new guidelines, Frank Robison, who you had on the show recently, he did a word search.
Matt Baum: 08:28 Yeah, he’s great. And I’m hoping [crosstalk 00:08:30] I’m going to have him on here to talk about this next episode.
Kit O’Connell: 08:33 And he gave a great presentation on this and he was spitting mad, let’s say that. He was very upset, and I’m sure you can imagine that he’s a passionate guy about these topics.
Matt Baum: 08:42 Oh, yeah.
Kit O’Connell: 08:43 So these interim guidelines, and by interim, that means that they’re supposed to last for about the next two years, and there’s also a transition period where states can choose temporarily to go with their old guidelines or transition into newer ones in compliance with this. Any way, though, that these guidelines mentioned the DEA 42 times, and there’s a lot of record-keeping and a lot of information that has to be shared with the DEA that is not necessarily necessary. So we’re still… The high level view, very high level, is that we’re still treating this like a drug, not a crop.
Matt Baum: 09:21 Of course.
Kit O’Connell: 09:21 And the other big disappointment is, it really basically almost doesn’t mention banking at all, and that’s such a major issue as we’ve also talked about. I know you had on the podcast-
Matt Baum: 09:30 Oh, yeah, at length.
Kit O’Connell: 09:31 … it was incredibly difficult. [crosstalk 00:09:36] hoping that these guidelines would straighten some of that out but they haven’t, right? It doesn’t look like they do.
Matt Baum: 09:41 It seems like there was just some major headway on the banking front, too, and now to hear that the DEA is still involved and… It’s just so mind numbingly bizarre. But that is something we will talk about on our next episode, I’m sure, when we have Frank on to cut through the tape. What was the best thing you saw at this show? Let’s talk about something positive, because I’m going to beat my head against the desk if we talk about this much more.
The future of the hemp industry
Kit O’Connell: 10:09 What was the best thing I saw at the show? As usual, one of the best things was just the real passion around CBD and hemp in general, just so many people who are just really excited about this industry and really want people to be better through it, for hemp to make the world better. And I think there is this challenge with these new guidelines, but there’s also a feeling that we’re going to push back against it. We’re going to make things healthier. And there was a lot of talk… I think one of the bigger things that I appreciate, I feel there is more awareness of the need for regenerative agriculture and a real-
Matt Baum: 10:49 Definitely. Definitely.
Kit O’Connell: 10:51 … a consciousness in how we’re growing hemp. I got to talk to Joy Beckerman who’s the President of the Hemp Industries Association and she’s been a hemp advocate for like 25 years. She’s an incredible woman, and that was one of the highlights for me, was getting to sit down and talk to her for so long. And we are looking at all these challenges, but I think there is this understanding that if we can really educate the public about hemp and what it’s really possible, what it’s possible it can do and what good CBD looks like. We can build something that’s sustainable and I think there is a real positive like, “We’re going to get through this as an industry.”
Matt Baum: 11:29 Right. Step one, get the government out of the way. But first we got to show them we can do it the right way.
Kit O’Connell: 11:35 That’s exactly it. Yeah. I think that’s a real good thing to emphasize and that a lot of people came away with that feeling as if we can do it the right way we can get the government off our backs. And another thing, I think, is there was a lot of talk about the realities of hemp growing. We’ve had a year now of legal hemp growing under the Farm Bill, even if all the bells and whistles and the things aren’t in place yet completely. We’ve had this historic year. We’ve definitely had more people growing hemp than before this year.
Kit O’Connell: 12:03 And so we’re rediscovering the best ways to do it, and also coming to terms with the reality of it, that we do need to make sure we’re investing in these regenerative practices and that… We always used to talk about how you can throw hemp on any part of your land and you don’t have to water, you don’t have to do anything to it.
Matt Baum: 12:19 Yeah. Yeah. It’s a weed, right?
Kit O’Connell: 12:21 It’s a weed. [inaudible 00:12:24] sure you can do that. But that’s not a very useful plant. And so we are really coming to terms with the useful and real ways of growing this plant.
Hemp in North Carolina
Matt Baum: 12:33 What’s North Carolina like down there, as far as agriculture goes? How friendly are they to this crop?
Kit O’Connell: 12:39 It’s very, very friendly. People are really excited to be growing it there and to be doing things locally in North Carolina to create hemp-
Matt Baum: 12:48 Sure.
Kit O’Connell: 12:48 … both locally and processed locally. People like The Hempville are working with the other types of hemp. But we ran into a lot of people that were growing smokable hemp flower there, and they had some great products. That’s a newer product that people are getting into more and more. But that was a really popular thing. And there were a lot of North Carolinans there that were excited to be growing beautiful, delicious, relaxing, smokable hemp. And now, again, I don’t want to be a downer here, but there is a possibility that the Governor is considering a law that would ban smokable hemp.
Matt Baum: 13:25 Of course.
Kit O’Connell: 13:26 Of course. [inaudible 00:13:27] There was also a feeling that that might, because of the Farm Act and the way it’s supposed to protect commerce, that there’s probably some good grounds to protect all these people that are growing these great forms of smokable hemp. It should be legal under the Farm Bill, because it really is pretty explicit that any form of hemp-
Matt Baum: 13:46 Right.
Kit O’Connell: 13:46 … for people [inaudible 00:13:48] and consume, at least.
Hope for hemp’s future
Matt Baum: 13:50 So it seems like, and just looking at all the people you talk to and everybody that was here as far as the hemp industry, they know that this is going to open up. It’s just a matter of time. And there’s still a few people clinging to some old and fairly uneducated ideas of what this is. But the money is here, the farmers are trying to do it the right way, and eventually we’re going to win, right? Do you feel good about that? Can we say that?
Kit O’Connell: 14:18 I do. I think we can. We’ve come, and again, we’re talking about this industry starting in 1994 and I’m sure a lot of those people would not have believed we’ve come as far as we have-
Matt Baum: 14:26 No doubt.
Kit O’Connell: 14:27 [Crosstalk 00:14:27] … now. So it’s an exciting time and it’s a challenging time. But yeah, I think we are going to win, people do feel like… There was this moment of celebration, understandably, and we deserved it, when the Farm Bill got passed. And even then we acknowledge that there were flaws in it. But I think we should have recognized that the DEA was not going to keep their finger out of the pie as easily as [crosstalk 00:14:53] to.
Matt Baum: 14:53 Even if Mitch McConnell [crosstalk 00:14:54] is on the side of this, they’re not going to, you know.
Kit O’Connell: 14:57 Exactly. But that is the sign, that is the big change. We’ve got to remember that. That, yeah, the DEA is still going to throw up all the roadblocks that they can. But now we have people like Mitch McConnell on our side-
Matt Baum: 15:08 Right, which is bizarre to even say out loud. But, here we are.
Kit O’Connell: 15:13 It is. I’ve said it, it just sounds weird, and every time I say it, even though I’ve said it several times now out loud, but Mitch McConnell’s on our side, we have all kinds of people on our side, and we’re going to get there. And even with the FDA, which is this mysterious cloud over the industry, especially with CBD, there’s definitely a feeling that we’re going to get there too, that it’s really clear that Congress wants us to have a pathway to regulating but not banning CBD, and that’s what the industry wants, too, is to regulate it in the right ways.
Matt Baum: 15:45 They’re begging to be regulated. I mean, unlike other industries, they are begging to be regulated. It’s crazy. So let me-
Kit O’Connell: 15:53 We want them, the CBD hummus and the CBD deodorant off the market.
Matt Baum: 15:57 That’s right, man.
Kit O’Connell: 15:58 They’re really positive products that really are going to help people live better lives. One of the questions we get a lot from people is, “How do I get into this industry?” And the best thing you can do is to find a hemp show near you, whether it’s going to a big one like this, or a really big one like the NoCo Expo, or just… There’s all kinds of regional ones now popping up in almost every state, and go to that and get talking. Just meet people and start networking and see where you fit in and-
Matt Baum: 16:23 Yeah, grab every business card you can because, I mean, you wouldn’t believe how many people are here trying to get people into the industry. I mean these farmers that grew hemp legally for the first time this year and they desperately need processors and whatnot that just aren’t out there yet. I mean-
Kit O’Connell: 16:39 Yeah, [crosstalk 00:16:39] there’s a lot of growing assets and there’s a lot of room to get in. Exactly.
Matt Baum: 16:47 Like we were just saying, if you are thinking about getting into the industry or you’re even just curious about the hemp industry, there are hemp shows popping up everywhere and you should absolutely go. You won’t believe what is going on in this industry.
A conversation with Joy Beckerman, Hemp Industries Association president
Matt Baum: 17:03 But that is enough about hemp shows for now. It is time for Kit’s discussion with Joy Beckerman, President of the Hemp Industries Association. Keep in mind this is part of a much larger conversation that they had and we’re going to jump right into Kit posing a very important question about what we’re going to do to ensure that hemp is not only grown the right way, but it’s not just taken over by major farming corporations.
Kit O’Connell: 17:35 So, as far as farmers go, I mean obviously there’s going to be these big players coming in, but what can we do to make sure that there is still a place for small producers, for small farmers to get in, because that’s one thing that’s so cool about this is the potential for everybody. We don’t want this to just become like-
Joy Beckerman: 17:50 Absolutely.
Kit O’Connell: 17:51 … two giant corporate growers. Right?
Joy Beckerman: 17:53 Absolutely. I think that there will be, and I know that a lot of these farmers have these ideas of being vertically integrated, so they want to grow an acre or two acres and they want to be the extractor and they want to have this artisanal small batch, handcrafted, and there is a model for that. I also think that if, for farmers who don’t want to be vertically integrated and also do the processing and the marketing and the selling and the branding, that there are going to be larger brands that are specifically looking for that beautifully grown, organic, ultimately regenerative ag so that those farmers that enjoy farming with those techniques, and we want there to be more and more, have a market for their hemp as well. But that’s going to boil down to consumer education. So I’m also the Regulatory Officer and Industry Liaison for Elixinol. So I’m constantly doing these, what the consumer needs to know about quality and safety before they buy.
Kit O’Connell: 18:49 For sure. Thought it would lead you to… Yeah.
Joy Beckerman: 18:51 Yeah. And so one of the first things that I put up there is, hemp is a phytoremediating plant.
Kit O’Connell: 18:58 Yes, yes.
Joy Beckerman: 19:00 As you make these decisions with this broader way of CBD products, here are the questions. What farming practices were used? What soil was used? Hemp is a phytoremediating plant. It can uptake heavy metals and contaminants. Is that what we want for human consumption? So, educating the consumer then causes the consumer to ask the question and then demand the higher product. So, it’s this shared responsibility that always boils down to education, education, education. And so we need to make sure that the consumers know it matters, and it’s a definite thing, and to demand those kinds of products. And may the producers of products that are grown with the best possible practices in the greatest soil, prevail and win. There will be the Walmarts of the world out there.
Kit O’Connell: 19:55 And there’s going to be, obviously, winners and losers. We can’t avoid that.
Joy Beckerman: 19:57 Yes. So, as everything, we’re also working in tandem with the raising of consciousness on the planet. So while the hemp revolution is happening, so is the regenerative agricultural revolution, so is the self-care revolution. And so, with all of that education going on, it’s fricking… It’s a permaculture consciousness, you know?
Kit O’Connell: 20:23 Yes, yes.
Joy Beckerman: 20:24 And so we all are all of those movements and all of those delicious universal metaphysical points are working together so that hopefully we will… Big ag is not going to take this. Big-box store is not going to take this because people are going to start to take more and more control of what they put into their bodies.
Kit O’Connell: 20:44 Yeah. I mean, hopefully there’s going to be like a farmer’s market equivalent for it. You know, there’s going to be that level too.
Joy Beckerman: 20:50 Yes. Yes.
CBD hype & the growing CBD market
Kit O’Connell: 20:50 Yeah. Well, let’s, if you want, let’s jump into CBD, that’s the big topic, too. What do you see the market looking like over the next couple of years? Obviously, from my perspective, there’s some stuff that is just pure hype. My boss found CBD deodorant at T.J. Maxx the other day, and it’s like…
Joy Beckerman: 21:07 T.J. Maxx? Are you kidding?
Kit O’Connell: 21:10 No, I’m not.
Joy Beckerman: 21:11 Okay.
Kit O’Connell: 21:11 Yeah. So it’s like, “Really? That’s not…”
Joy Beckerman: 21:13 A CBD-
Kit O’Connell: 21:14 I can’t think of an argument for that, you know?
Joy Beckerman: 21:16 I am trying to figure out-
Kit O’Connell: 21:18 I love CBD and all these things. I love it to soothe my skin or whatever. And I guess your armpit gets irritated sometimes, but it seems like a stretch. Right?
Joy Beckerman: 21:27 If there was something wrong with my armpit, I would put salve on it [Crosstalk 00:21:31].
Kit O’Connell: 21:30 Right. I’ve already got the product.
Joy Beckerman: 21:31 Yeah. So, I generally have no problems with my armpits.
Kit O’Connell: 21:36 There was the one, too, there was one that went viral on Twitter. There was somebody found a hummus that had CBD in it, and the entire regular-sized container of hummus had 25 milligrams total of CBD in it.
Joy Beckerman: 21:47 So you’d have to eat the whole thing-
Kit O’Connell: 21:49 The whole container to get anything.
Joy Beckerman: 21:51 And I’d rather weigh and consume 145 milligrams of CBD a day.
Kit O’Connell: 21:55 Yeah, I’d probably take about that much too.
Joy Beckerman: 21:56 I can’t eat that much hummus. So-
Kit O’Connell: 21:59 So, obviously some of those products are going to fade away.
Joy Beckerman: 22:03 Yes. No, there are people, cash grab, low hanging fruit, cash grab. Did I mention cash grab? So, that’s definitely a huge part of it. Again, educating the consumer is a major need and goal here.
Kit O’Connell: 22:19 Yeah. Because one of my fears is I don’t want the consumer to come away thinking that it’s all hype because we know there’s so much benefit.
The FDA & CBD
Joy Beckerman: 22:24 That’s right. That’s right. It is, and I’m trying not to operate out of a place of fear. I put my blinders on as I’ve been doing for all of these decades and I’m watching, hey, watching it all move forward. Yeah, we’ll see. If I were a betting woman, and let’s talk about that. You want to talk about the FDA for a second?
Kit O’Connell: 22:43 Of course. Yeah. That’s definitely something we want to touch on.
Joy Beckerman: 22:48 Yeah. So, the FDA is not moved by strong opinions, strong feelings, videos of children suffering from hellacious seizures.
Kit O’Connell: 22:58 That works for Congresspeople, but not for the FDA.
Joy Beckerman: 23:01 The FDA wants data and scientific research. And, on the one hand, well, yay, when it’s considering what they are responsible for. And there is a growing body of it. In fact, we have quite a bit right now, but apparently not enough according to them, and it also takes millions of dollars. I think the numbers we were hearing from the FDA between 16 and $20 million to create a regulatory program framework. Here’s the thing. Most of us put in comments, where there was the Hemp Industries Association, or many of the CBD leaders, or the US Hemp Round Table, that the existing CFRs for dietary supplements and food, are really great. They just need to be augmented to account for cannabinoids. Purity, potency and warnings.
Joy Beckerman: 23:50 That’s really the only pieces that need to be supplemented. And it’s probably an overstatement to say they’re really great. Let’s just say they’re sufficient because there’s some onerous stuff there that is completely not great, but they’re sufficient and just need to be augmented. Supplemented. So number one, they say it’s going to take three to five years, and I don’t think they’re kidding about that. And I think even though they-
Kit O’Connell: 24:14 Before we hear anything from them about it?
Joy Beckerman: 24:16 Well, I think we’ll get glimpses of things, but despite their saying, “We heard, we got our marching orders from Congress. It’s clear. Congress wants there to be a pathway for CBD to market as a dietary supplement and a food. We’re on it.” I feel like there’s maybe some lip service there and that it is going to take them some years. So, of course, in the report language for the Senate version of the Appropriations Bill, which hasn’t yet been heard by the Senate, although it has passed through the Senate Ag Appropriations Committee. But here’s the problem. It’s in the report language and not the billing language.
Waiting on the FDA
Joy Beckerman: 24:57 Senator McConnell directed for the FDA to come down with an enforcement discretion. Now that would help us, that would give us some cover if it were a desirable enforcement discretion. We’ll see what the outcome of that is. I mean, it would be really nice if it was in billing, which directing the FDA to come up with a regulatory framework in a certain amount of time, like 12 months. That would be really great. But enforcement discretion would give us some cover. If I were a betting woman, particularly if they’re going to do things quickly, I might predict that they may, and this is not desirable, I’m just predicting that it’s-
Kit O’Connell: 25:35 We’re throwing darts here. I get that.
Joy Beckerman: 25:36 Throwing darts. That they may say isolate is a drug.
Kit O’Connell: 25:40 I’ve heard some people theorize that, too.
Joy Beckerman: 25:42 That isolate is a drug, this serving size and this potency is for dietary supplements. And ideally we’d love for them to say, and this serving size is for food, but they’re very not okay with food because with dietary supplements there is implied, this is the amount you should take. With food, there’s no… It isn’t there. So I might take, if I had a CBD brownie with 20 milligrams, or a cookie, what if I eat 10 cookies? And I’ve been known to eat 20 cookies.
Kit O’Connell: 26:15 Right.
Joy Beckerman: 26:18 And that’s a thing for the FDA. So they may go for dietary supplements and hold off on food for a minute or a while, and beverage. And I hope that’s not true. There’s a whole industries and there’s some really excellent player putting out efficacious, high quality products in food and beverages, and so I don’t want to see those go away. But that’s definitely… They’re skeptical. The FDA is skeptical there.
Kit O’Connell: 26:44 So, it seems like there’s going to be some pathway, but it may not be the one that we want. At least at first.
Joy Beckerman: 26:50 It will not be desirable. In fact, we’ve got to keep our expectations realistic. It’s probably not going to be all that we want. I did notice that Canada just, or the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, just submitted their request regarding these issues to Canada, Health Canada, and they asked for 600 milligrams a day for dietary supplements, and 60 milligram serving sizes for food.
Kit O’Connell: 27:13 That’s fabulous. That would be plenty. Right?
Joy Beckerman: 27:15 It would. It’s true. We think because there’s some data out there that suggests 220, the FDA, again, that’s different in Canada, might be looking at something like that. Something a little different.
Kit O’Connell: 27:28 Does that mean we’d probably… Some of the high potency supplements that we have now would probably have to go away? Is that part of that?
Joy Beckerman: 27:36 I mean, I sure hope it doesn’t. Again, also, because for the consumer, I take a lot of CBD every day. I can’t keep buying bunches and bunches of bottles.
Kit O’Connell: 27:46 Well, 250 milligram bottles. Yeah.
Joy Beckerman: 27:48 Yeah. So I sure hope that that isn’t the case. It will all remain to be seen and of course we need the FDA to use its authority to allow the marketing of dietary supplements in food as CBD to be marketed that way and say, “We’re going to use our discretion and our authority to basically ignore the IND preclusion,” which is what… Are you familiar with the IND?
Kit O’Connell: 28:10 Mm-mm (negative).
Joy Beckerman: 28:10 That’s the whole reason why the FDA has been saying, “It is a violation of federal law to market CBD as a dietary supplement or a food.” They’ve been saying it for four years-
Kit O’Connell: 28:20 Was that the international guidelines that-
Joy Beckerman: 28:22 No. I’ll tell you what the IND is in a sec. So, over and over they’ve been saying it and they’ve been saying it on their website for four years and all the industry leaders have known it. But when Gottlieb set it on 1220, all of a sudden State Departments of Ag and State Departments and City Departments of Health were like hearing it for the first fucking time. But no, the IND preclusion, that is the acronym for Investigational New Drug, and it is Section 201FF3B in the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, and it’s in layman’s terms or to really summarize it. It’s a mechanical function of the statute that says, basically, “If a compound has not been marketed as a dietary supplement or a food, prior to it being applied to be an IND, an Investigational New Drug, that that same compound cannot be marketed as a dietary supplement or food.” It’s a statutory function that triggers it.
Joy Beckerman: 29:20 And so we don’t have evidence because people didn’t want to put cannabidiol on the label, that even though there were products containing CBD prior to these dates and prior to DSHEA, which is the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, people didn’t put it on their label. And marketing means a certain thing. So people are like, “But, wait a second, Dr. Mechoulam had this research.” Research isn’t marketing. It needed to be called out as an ingredient on the label, and we have scoured, the biggest intellectual brains in cannabis globally, have scoured the globe for this evidence and we cannot find it. So, anyway, that’s what the IND preclusion is. So they’re like, “Hey, there was this IND. Epidiolex filed an IND for…” I’m sorry, “GW filed an IND for Epidiolex and that automatically triggered Section 201FF3B, so now it can’t be marketed as a dietary supplement or food.”
Joy Beckerman: 30:17 But there are other parts in the statute that allow the FDA to ignore that, and they can use their authority and discretion to ignore that. And we want them and need them to do it. Because without them doing that they’re not going to come up with anything. They could, technically, say, “We’re unwilling to use our authority and our discretion,” and then we probably would get into some litigation.
The future of CBD
Kit O’Connell: 30:37 What about, as far as the near future, as far as what you’re seeing in CBD’s place in our culture or society? Where do you see that going over the next year or so?
Joy Beckerman: 30:47 I see more and more awareness for it. I see the folks that are not making safe and quality assured products getting pushed out. The people who are making high quality and safe products will hopefully begin to have more shelf space. But there is no such thing. I mean, discovering our endocannabinoid system in our lifetime is like discovering that the world is round and not flat, and so it’s the demand for these products for safe and quality assured products is going to increase. That’s what I see, and that people are going to increase their general wellness and they’re going to increase… They’re going to start to live more vibrant lives, and that’s what I see.
Joy Beckerman: 31:41 I also see more products that will include other primary cannabinoids. I think we’re going to start to see a lot more, either dominant or added CBG, CBN, these types of things. I think we’re also going to see more specialized formulations to target certain temporary symptoms. I mean, I try not to make claims, we don’t say anxiety-
Kit O’Connell: 32:07 Sure. Sure.
Joy Beckerman: 32:07 … we say nervousness. We don’t say insomnia. We say temporary sleeplessness.
Kit O’Connell: 32:12 Sleeplessness. Right.
Joy Beckerman: 32:14 But I think we’re going to see more of those types of formulations.
Kit O’Connell: 32:17 Like a stress plant, for example.
Joy Beckerman: 32:19 Yes, all those stresses, a toughie, too.
Kit O’Connell: 32:21 That’s a medical sounding word.
Joy Beckerman: 32:23 And nervousness-
Kit O’Connell: 32:23 Nervousness. Okay, sure, sure.
Joy Beckerman: 32:24 … is about as safe as you can get. Right? Underlying temporary mood swings, something like that. But what you can say and what you can’t say is quite a thing with dietary supplements.
Kit O’Connell: 32:40 We do work with a smaller brand, I think is really funny. There are loopholes that they’re, “For the Sunday scaries.” It’s like your Sunday morning anxiety, but they’re not using the word anxiety. They’re just using this like hip millennial-
Joy Beckerman: 32:52 It’s all for Sunday morning scaries-
Kit O’Connell: 32:52 Scaries. Yeah.
Joy Beckerman: 32:52 Interesting.
Kit O’Connell: 32:53 So the brand is just called Sunday Scaries.
Joy Beckerman: 32:54 Which sounds temporary, if it’s just on Sunday-
Kit O’Connell: 32:56 It’s a Sunday. Right?
Joy Beckerman: 32:57 Right on.
CBD and the endocannabinoid system
Kit O’Connell: 32:59 But yeah, okay. So it sounds like part of what you’re saying is moving away from the hype that we’re seeing, but also educating people to understand that this is a essential part of human, that the endocannabinoid system is a core part of our balance and our happiness.
Joy Beckerman: 33:13 Yes. The endocannabinoid system regulates homeostasis. Homeostasis is… Can you imagine the complex system under this, our skin?
Kit O’Connell: 33:23 It’s amazing.
Joy Beckerman: 33:24 The complexity of that. And it has to behave this… I have to breathe, no matter whether I’m under tremendous stress, no matter if I’m in 107 degree weather, or if I’m in negative 20. So my insides have to still behave the same even though all of these other external forces are changing, and some of my internal forces are changing, too, but everything else still has to act right. That’s homeostasis.
Joy Beckerman: 33:51 When we discovered that the endocannabinoid system regulates homeostasis, it’s the whole internal temperature. It’s the whole internal control system for all of these other systems in our body. This is a revolution. This is like discovering that the world is round and it’s not going anywhere, and so again, it’s only going to increase. So, it’s about putting blinders on, fighting for quality-assured and safe products, fighting for common sense regulation that is going to assure this quality and safety, and educating the public.
Joy Beckerman: 34:27 And, yes, there’s all kind of drama, here, there and everywhere, and there is with any revolution, but certainly with one such as this. And we’re going to see plenty of that excitement, but it’s not going to keep reality and wonderful quality-assured products from marching themselves down the field and getting into people’s bodies and improving their lives all around the world.
Kit O’Connell: 34:49 That’s good news. Yeah.
Matt Baum: 34:52 Thank you so much to Joy for taking the time to talk to Kit and letting us use it on this show. And she brings up a really cool point about the endocannabinoid system that we know is in our body. Okay? This is not something that industry insiders are using to make a quick buck. This is real science, and the most important thing that CBD can do for a user is create a homeostasis. Not necessarily cure a bunch of illnesses. This isn’t a miracle drug, but maintaining a homeostasis is so important to staying healthy, both mentally and physically, dialing back your anxiety levels, maintaining healthy sleep patterns, and even managing pain.
Matt Baum: 35:39 These are three little things you can do to keep your body healthy. CBD is not here to cure all your ailments, and anyone who says it is, is lying. But there is real evidence that it does help mitigate the effects of pain, stress and anxiety. And like Joy said, there’s more and more evidence that shows CBD could and possibly should be part of our daily health regimen. It seems like the next major hurdle now is getting the USDA and the FDA to understand that, too.
Final thoughts from Matt
Matt Baum: 36:17 Next time on the show, we are going to be talking about minorities in the hemp business and why there’s so few of them. I had a great interview with the founders of Nothing But Hemp and I can’t wait for you to hear it. Speaking of you guys, I want to hear from you. Call me (402) 819-6417 with your hemp questions, and Kit, who you heard on this show, and myself, will answer them right here on the show. It’s been a while since we’ve done a Q&A but I’ve got a bunch of good questions right now, so we’ll probably do one real soon here. You can also email your questions to [email protected] Shoot them to us on Twitter @ministryofhemp, or on Facebook/MinistryofHemp.
Matt Baum: 37:03 Over at ministryofhemp.com we have got a fantastic recipe for CBD infused cocoa. The holidays are here and they can be a little stressful for some of us, so why not take the edge off with a little CBD in your hot chocolate? A little bourbon doesn’t hurt either. Take it from me.
Matt Baum: 37:21 If you’re looking for high quality and reliable CBD products, you can always talk. You can always check our top brands section at ministryofhemp.com, and if you have trouble affording some of this stuff, because it is expensive, we have links to several different CBD assistance programs that you could qualify for. The Ministry of Hemp podcast is written, produced and edited by me. So you are doing me a personal favor when you go to iTunes and give us a star rating or write us a review, and it also helps to put this information in front of people that are looking for it. You wouldn’t believe how helpful it is, and thank you to everybody that has so far. Once again, this is Matt Baum saying, take care of yourself. Take care of others, and make good decisions, will you? This is The Ministry of Hemp podcast signing off.