The U.S. Hemp Authority Releases Newest Certification Standard

Guidance 3.0 is based on insights and lessons learned in the industry over the last year.

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February 19, 2021

The U.S. Hemp Authority announced it has released Guidance Procedures 3.0, a revised version of the 2.0 standards. 

The organization creates regulatory standards and certifies hemp and CBD businesses through third-party auditing.

“The revised version is a reflection of the strong intention of the organization to continue measures of improvement to apply lessons learned about the new industry, and reflect broad and deep public input,” the organization states in a news release.

The changes from version 2.0, which was implemented in 2019, include new regulations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and revisions that are designed to help clarify expectations for farmers, with additional insights from another year of experience gained by the industry, the release states.

According to the summary of changes, some revisions from version 2.0 include a new introduction section to describe the program’s intentions and objectives. The glossary has also been updated to revise definitions and remove unnecessary terms. 

Current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs) and government regulations are now referenced in the standard, but the details of applicable sections from the Code of Federal Regulations are not spelled out in the standard, the summary states.

Additionally, the U.S. Hemp Authority has updated the rules around labeling certified products to heed regulatory, industry and consumer concerns related to message clarity, content and formulation, the summary states. 

“The U.S. Hemp Authority recognizes that government regulations around labeling are not yet consistent across all regulatory authorities and therefore has attempted to strike a balance between legal necessity, credibility to consumers along the stated intentions and objectives of the program, and the need to retain a certain amount of flexibility,” the organization says on its website.

Furthermore, the compliance and qualification requirements of suppliers and their inputs to certified entities operations have been outlined, giving suppliers flexible options depending on the situation, according to the summary. 

For a full list of changes click here.

Overall, the certification “helps farmers, product manufacturers, brand owners and retailers secure mainstream market share by appealing to consumer and trade concerns about the veracity of product claims and serves to legitimize the evolving hemp/CBD consumer product category,” the release states.

The certification program has, at times, been scrutinized by the hemp industry. Some industry stakeholders saw it as a positive step forward for the nascent industry, while others question its legitimacy.

For new applicants to the U.S. Hemp Authority certification program, version 3.0 will go into effect immediately, but entities already certified will have until their 2021 annual certification inspection to make any changes they need to comply with version 3.0.