Although CBD has been legalized to sell and distribute for over three years, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has still not addressed or regulated the industry, leading to a sub-optimal environment for both consumers and brands.
With that said, consumers are then left with many questions and limited ways to find a product that has been shown to have incredible health and lifestyle benefits. CBD brands who are looking to provide solutions to common lifestyle problems such as sleep, anxiety and overall wellness are then left fighting an uphill battle against individual retailers and marketing platforms that refuse to allow sales or mentions of CBD until a ruling is made.
The CBD Safety and Standardization Act (H.R. 6134) would change that. The bill would force the FDA to develop rules and a framework for CBD consumption, specifically in food, while simultaneously opening doors for consumers, retailers and brands alike, as they would now all have access to buy and sell CBD.
This is a big step for the CBD industry, as many nationwide retailers and distributors are unable to sell products that are not regulated by the FDA. In tandem, it would also open up the doors to food, drug, mass and club retailers, ultimately allowing brands an opportunity for shelf space in order to more widely offer CBD to their customers.
The new act would also push the industry in a streamlined regulatory direction, assuring standardized testing and potency, which will only help keep the industry honest, while also providing consumers with further peace of mind that the products they are buying are living up to FDA standards.
Up until this point, CBD brands and manufacturers have not had to abide by any regulations, such as ensuring their products have the safety and potency information on the labels. This has led to many brands offering products that are not what they claim they are, often leading consumers to lose trust in the category.
There are, however, many CBD product manufacturers who regulate themselves because they strive to provide a quality product that is effective and safe for consumers.
At Highline Wellness, we have and will always put the consumer first. Despite the lack of an FDA ruling to this point, we have always implemented a stringent process for regulation, even though the FDA didn’t require it. We have studied how the FDA regulates other industries (food, vitamins, etc.) and have adopted those same guidelines for ourselves, knowing that we want to provide the same levels of transparency and diligence that consumers expect from everything else they ingest on a daily basis.
Ensuring that our products are always labeled accurately and that the user experience around the functional effects promised are delivered has helped us build trust and credibility with our customers since the brand’s inception in 2019.
The passing of this legislation will force all other brands that are not currently taking as diligent action to raise their standards as we and other responsible manufacturers have, ultimately elevating the industry as a whole.
In any new industry, adoption and regulation come with time. In the CBD industry, this has taken even longer than anticipated due to the FDA delaying these guidelines. This bill, likely to have bipartisan support, essentially forces the FDA’s hand – and benefits consumers and the industry as a whole.
CBD is currently a multi-billion dollar industry, and that number will grow significantly once the FDA regulates and makes it legal for retailers to carry and sell.
Roth is founder and CEO of New York City-based Highline Wellness. He previously spent six years as a director at multinational independent investment bank and financial services company Cowen and Co., working across internet, e-commerce, consumer and cannabis markets.