With so many cannabidiol (CBD) pet product brands hitting the market—in 2019, the category grew to more than 10 times its 2018 size, according to a report by consumer insights and market intelligence firm Brightfield Group—it can be hard to differentiate those worthy enough to put up on your store shelves. Groups such as the U.S. Hemp Roundtable and the U.S. Hemp Authority, however, are working effortlessly to help make this task easier.

PPN caught up with Steve Smith, co-founder and president of Pet Releaf, a CBD manufacturer in Littleton, Colo., to gain additional insight on these efforts. Pet Releaf was the first “pet only” company awarded the U.S. Hemp Authority Certified seal. Smith also sits on the U.S. Hemp Roundtable board of directors.

Goals and Actions the U.S. Hemp Roundtable is Focused On


PPN: Why was the U.S. Hemp Roundtable formed? Who makes up the coalition?

Smith: The U.S. Hemp Roundtable is the cannabidiol (CBD) industry’s pre-eminent advocacy organization working to promote and ensure safe and legal hemp and CBD products. The roundtable membership is comprised of the most influential hemp organizations and businesses in the U.S.

PPN: Education and action are two key components of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. Can you tell us a little bit about each and how they relate to the pet industry?

Smith: There have been a lot of misconceptions about hemp-derived CBD, and a key goal of the roundtable is to ensure that consumers, policymakers and businesses have credible information about the benefits and safety of hemp-derived CBD. For pet owners, this includes sharing information about the usefulness and safety of CBD pet products. Our members include CBD pet companies, such as Pet Releaf, and we work hard to both educate the pet industry on CBD efficacy and applications for pets.

Our other key focus is action through advocacy. For pet owners to have access to CBD products that support the well-being of their pets, these products must be legally available and regulated. Through the roundtable, we advocate for legislation that ensures the availability of safe and legal CBD products, for pets and their humans.

PPN: What campaign efforts are the U.S. Hemp Roundtable most focused on?

Smith: Currently, the U.S. Hemp Roundtable is excited by and involved in fiercely supporting the recent introduction of H.R. 8179, also known as the Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2020. If passed, H.R. 8179 would ensure that hemp-derived CBD and other non-intoxicating hemp ingredients could be lawfully marketed as dietary supplements. This bill would be a significant win for consumers, as it requires CBD and hemp extract product manufacturers to comply with the entire existing comprehensive regulatory framework for dietary supplements, which ensures that the products are deemed safe, properly labeled and prepared utilizing Good Manufacturing Practices. This bill would also provide significant relief and opportunity to hemp farmers and business owners as passage would stabilize the hemp markets and open up a promising economic opportunity for U.S. agriculture.

PPN: How can pet manufacturers and retailers get involved?

Smith: Getting involved means making your voice heard, especially amongst political leaders and policymakers. We invite all pet lovers, manufacturers and retailers to visit hempsupporter.com to learn about ongoing national and statewide action and to get involved. For every effort, the U.S. Roundtable makes it easy for supporters to send notes and emails to their representatives.

PPN: What’s next for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable?

Smith: The work for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable never ceases. In addition to continuing to support the passage of H.R. 8179, we are also preparing to support 2021 legislative action in key states, including California. Outside of education and action, we are focused on using our reach and resources to support equity and equality through the hemp industry.

The Significance of the U.S. Hemp Authority


PPN: What prompted the launch of the U.S. Hemp Authority?

Smith: The beginnings of the U.S. Hemp Authority were initiated in 2016 when leadership of the Kentucky Hemp Industry Coalition (KHIC) determined that it was essential to develop a self-regulation organization (SRO) for the industry. Not only was it important for any agricultural commodity to promote high standards, best practices and self-regulation, hemp had a particular burden because of its association with the more controversial marijuana. For policymakers to support full legalization, and for bureaucrats to reject over-regulation, an SRO was a necessary step. [In 2017, KHIC reconstituted into the U.S. Hemp Roundtable.]

PPN: Can you tell me about the significance of the U.S. Hemp Authority certification?

Smith: The U.S. Hemp Authority Certification Program is the hemp industry’s initiative to provide high standards, best practices and self-regulation. This certification is critical to businesses operating in the industry as it provides consumers and retailers with confidence in hemp and CBD products.

PPN: The U.S. Hemp Authority is working toward its U.S. Hemp Authority Standard–Version 3.0. What do you hope to achieve with this version? What does this mean for the pet industry?

Smith: To keep pace with the rapid evolution of the hemp sector, the U.S. Hemp Authority is undertaking a revision of its standard, known currently as its “Guidance Procedures v2.0.” The new Version 3.0 standards will provide updated guidance for certified operators, growers, processors/manufacturers and brand owners.

Through this program, the U.S. Hemp Authority aims to assure all interested parties that production practices meet legal requirements for quality of hemp and hemp-derived ingredients and products, that ingredients and products are handled to maintain product integrity and are labeled to represent their contents truthfully and clearly. These standards will work to increase the availability, safety and transparency around CBD products for pets.

PPN: What else should pet retailers know about the U.S. Hemp Authority?

Smith: Pet retailers should know that pet companies certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority have the highest standards, operate under best practices and practice self-regulation, meaning consumers can trust the products these companies provide. Retailers can also look to the [U.S. Hemp Authority] for resources and questions on CBD and hemp certification.

For more of PPN’s coverage on CBD, read:

The Regulatory Efforts Impacting the CBD Pet Market Now