Leafreport – Kate Leaman: Hello readers of leafreport.com and welcome to another interview. Today we’re going to be speaking to Jonathan Miller, who is the general counsel for U.S hemp round table. Hi Jonathan. How are you?
Jonathan Miller: I’m doing great.
Leafreport – Kate Leaman: Good. Can you introduce your organization and tell us a little bit about what you guys do there?
Jonathan Miller: Sure U.S. Hemp Round Table is the hemp industries leading national advocacy organization. We have over 90 companies and organizations who represent every element of the hemp food chain from seed to sale and as well as many of the leading national grassroots organizations. We, our primary focus is to promote a safe and legal hemp and hemp products like CBD. And we have engaged a number of very important lobbying activities including foremost the passage of the 2018
Leafreport – Kate Leaman: So what’s so important when it comes to hemp then? I mean, for instance, what’s the difference between hemp and marijuana when it comes to CBD products?
Jonathan Miller: Well, it’s a critical distinction, hemp is, they come from the same plant that evoke the cannabis plant, but by both legal and scientific definition has less than 0.3% THC, which is the compound that that gets you high and more a higher concentration of marijuana. Typically a joint these days will be 15 to 20% THC, so 0.3% is quite little. Thanks to the 2018 farm bill, though marijuana is illegal federally, while a number of several dozen States have legalized marijuana from the federal standpoint is still illegal and that’s still considered a scheduled one controlled substance equivalent to a heroin. So it really is a major difference between the two.
Leafreport – Kate Leaman: And in fact the FDA has recently taken a stance on CBD as a supplement in foods and beverages rather than a drug. So how, how did that play out for you?
Jonathan Miller: So about 40 years ago, the FDA came out with some public guidance that opined that CBD could not be added locally to foods or beverages, or cannot be sold as a dietary supplement that was never made final. There’s never been any formal law or regulation. However, it has certainly cast a cloud on the industry. They’ve continued to repeat to that claim, but the good news is there are a number of efforts undergoing and the FDA has pledged to develop a formal regulatory pathway for the sale of beverage and dietary supplement. And in meantime there’ve been no enforcement actions against taken against CBD sales by the FDA with the exception of those companies who have illegally made medical or disease remediation claims, for their products.
Leafreport – Kate Leaman: So who do you represent then? Who makes up your membership?
Jonathan Miller: But we represent the entire industry. You have, you know, from farmers to processors to product sellers. We have about over 90 members right now. Some are on farm groups, some are processors, some are CBD companies, some are companies that do business with the hemp and CBD industry. So we represent a real broad range of, of businesses associated with hemp.
Leafreport – Kate Leaman: And how are you assisting small farmers and native tribal groups and others like them who may be underrepresented as growers.
Jonathan Miller: So we are an advocacy organization. We do lobbying on the federal level and in the state level. Our goal is to help promote to States legal hemp and CBD products. We, we don’t, we’re not a grassroots organization we don’t get involved with those guys, but we work very closely with grassroots organizations like the Hemp Industries Association, which is focused on small farmers and focused on trying to broaden the reach of the ministry
Leafreport – Kate Leaman: now I’m sure that you know, but during the World War II many acres in Washington and also some other States were dedicated to growing hemp for things like fiber and textiles. Do you think there’s a way for us to go back to the future when it comes to hemp cultivation? So how, for instance, could those acres be switched back to growing hemp?
Jonathan Miller: Yeah we’re very bullish on the growth hemp as fiber we’ve seen during the U.S. Prohibition, tremendous advances made with hemp fiber as plastic as building materials in Europe, Canada, Asia, and we are very hopeful that we will start seeing a robust hemp industry around the fiber right now. About two thirds of all hemp of farming has done for CBD. That’s not a sustainable model, but we’re getting right now we’ve been seeing a number of companies get into the fiber space. The challenge is it takes more infrastructure, takes more money to be able to process fiber, but we see them already starting to come in and are very hopeful.
Leafreport – Kate Leaman: Do you see biodegradable hemp products as replacing single use plastic in the foreseeable future?
Jonathan Miller: Yeah, we’re very helpful. We really are excited about what has been going on in Europe in terms of development of hemp plastics and we, we see it not only is a tremendous opportunity for U.S. hemp farmers, but also a great thing for our planet our environment to be able to produce plastics that are sustainable and by hemp farmers, for companies, for consumers, and for the planet.
Leafreport – Kate Leaman: And in terms of your support then into research cannabinoid research into both private and public institutions, do you get directly involved in that or is your support more indirect, would you say?
Jonathan Miller: Yeah, the U.S. Hemp Round Table Around doesn’t get involved in fund search, but many of our members do. We have some of our larger members who are very deeply involved with funding research at major U.S. Universities and we’re excited to see what results come out.
Leafreport – Kate Leaman: Which cannabinoid are you seeing as the next big thing, if there is such a thing?
Jonathan Miller: Yeah, we’re hearing a lot about CBG and there are few look companies who are around starting to develop products in the CBG space, but we just think that the universe is unlimited here, there are so many exciting opportunities with this plant. So many different cannabinoid opportunities that I imagine three years from now we’ll be talking about things that I’ve never heard of before.
Leafreport – Kate Leaman: and talking about, uses for hemp for instance. Now hemp has of course, very high nutritional value. So how are you promoting hemp as food also? Is it a source of renewable energy and bio degradable materials?
Jonathan Miller: Yeah, we see again the possibilities for hemp to be extraordinary, there are current, there’ve been a lot of uses of hemp as a food, particularly from the seed of the plant that it’s been going on in this country for decades. We were importing hemp for those purposes. And now CBD as an additive, as are cannabinoids as additives to foods and beverages are a growing market that and hemp is in. I started off, I came into the hemp space as a clean energy lawyer. I’m really a very hopeful to see that grow in the next several years.
Leafreport – Kate Leaman: What do you think your biggest challenges for the next several years are going to be?
Jonathan Miller: You know, our biggest challenge right now is the FDA and working with them, working with Congress to develop a formal regulatory structure for CBD to remove this cloud. We think once that happens, the issues with banking that our plaguing the industry, will also go away and then we will have I’m sure other battles to focus on the future. But right now the FDA is at the top of our mind.
Leafreport – Kate Leaman: And finally what’s tips do you have for consumers of CBD and other such products?
Jonathan Miller: So the hemp industry has established a self regulatory organization, U.S. Hemp Authority. If you go to ushempauthority.org, you will see how we develop, high high standards, best practices, and self regulation. The industry and the companies that meet those high standards and go through an independent audit will be able to put a seal of certification saying that they’re legal. And so we encourage people to look for that label and if they’re looking for products that with that label, they can go to ushempauthority.org you can find them out.
Leafreport – Kate Leaman: That’s great. Jonathan Miller, general counsel for us hemp round table. Thank you so much for your time and we’ll see you soon.
Jonathan Miller: Great, thanks so much for having me.
Leafreport – Kate Leaman: And thank you also for watching this from home office or wherever you guys are. Thanks very much from leafreport.com bye for now.