The American hemp in-dustry is attempting to align itself with European standards in order to boost its exports.
The decision to concentrate on the end user was taken last month as a Hemp Business Summit hosted by the National Industrial Hemp Council of America (NIHC)in Washington.
Funded by the US government, the conference was attended by more than 150 farmers, manufacturers, investors, econ-omists, traders, researchers, sustainability experts and law-yers along with government and its agencies to look at how to accelerate international market development.
Emerging from this was a broad consensus. First, that harmonized regulatory frameworks, spanning national and international mar-
kets, should be in place if significant market investment is to be attracted.
Second, it is time to focus on the end market and the consumer, setting out the history, use and sustainability credentials for hemp to stimulate the level of demand necessary to support a robust and profitable global market.
Patrick Atagi, President and CEO of NIHC, said: “The US hemp industry is rapidly gearing up production capacity and we were pleased to welcome the FDA, USDA and key policy makers to address the industry at our summit.
“What is clear is that we must put in place regulatory certainty that is fit for the future – and do this as a priority working in concert with our partners in Europe.
“Only then can we drive significant, long-term global investment in industrial hemp.
“Second, we need to drive demand – educating business and consumers alike about the history of hemp, the range of its applications, its unique product attributes and its environmental benefits, from enhanced soil quality to carbon capture.
“It is a material that answers many of the challenges faced by sectors as diverse as the construction and fashion.
“We believe that it is the material of tomorrow, available today. NIHC will be working around the world to tell that story.”
It was widely acknowledged that regulatory standards would need to be established and that US and European markets needed to move closer together to establish a truly global marketplace.
Common standards and de-
finitions for tetrahydro-cann-abinol (THC) would be required alongside clarity in testing regimes and understanding of the differences across the supply chain.
Mr Atagi added: “We believe in establishing an accurate, consistent testing regime that protects the brand of hemp.
“We’re exploring testing standards and third-party ver-ification laboratory requirements that will be applicable when testing for potency, pesticides, metals, terpenes, and other product attributes.
“We will use third-party accreditation bodies to verify laboratory testing protocols and to ensure equipment is prop-
erly calibrated – and those conducting the testing are trained to do so.
“Accurate labeling will bring value to the marketplace and integrity to products sold in stores and online.”
The summit included a series of workshops on the legal and financial frameworks and support systems required by the sector in order to thrive.
Mr Atagi concluded: “The industrial hemp economy is expanding at an unprecedented pace as the products and services in this field affect more aspects of our daily lives.
“That said, to ensure effective progress, there is a need for an authoritative voice in the sector which has both the expertise and the capacity to unify on a global stage. NIHC is that voice.”
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