By Smoke Wallin
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the economy small businesses are paying a heavy price. A record number of unemployment applications and bankruptcies are being filed weekly and officials say the worse is yet to come.
With so many industries absorbing the shock and strain of the financial crisis public officials and leaders should seek every solution to help protect and lift business owners. One such solution exists, and it’s a simple one.
The market for oils, capsules, body lotions, and other products containing cannabidiol, better known as CBD derived from hemp, has been rapidly growing. But there’s room for further expansion with ingestibles. What the industry needs is for the FDA to take action and classify CBD as a food additive or supplement enabling it to be included in food, beverages and supplements.
The hemp industry, now legal to farm and cultivate in New Jersey, employs thousands of workers in America, and the growth trajectory remains strong long-term. Yet it could be even greater for New Jersey farmers if CBD ingestibles were allowed to be sold in mainstream retailers and online stores. This would allow companies like Walmart and Target to get fully behind the CBD category. Industry experts estimate the potential associated market with CBD edibles, beverages and other products could exceed $23 billion by 2023.
There’s already support from several members of Congress. Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota has also introduced a bipartisan Bill HR 5587 co-sponsored by both Rep. Comer and Massie of Kentucky, that would allow FDA-regulated, hemp-derived CBD to be marketed in dietary supplements and as food and beverage additives.
Not only would it provide a boost to the multi-billion dollar industry but it would help keep current hemp businesses thriving in the newly opened market here.
If the FDA had taken action, several companies from Kentucky to Colorado to Pennsylvania might have avoided bankruptcy. Those companies, at least in part, blamed the FDA’s inaction on ingestibles for their decline. This one policy change would have saved hundreds of jobs and kept revenue streaming into local restaurants, shops, stores and communities.
As many Americans know hemp plants and hemp-derived CBD are from cannabis plants with less than 0.3% THC and are not psychoactive and therefore cannot get you “high.”
CBD is widely used by millions and safe. Oils and topicals are applied for a variety of reasons from healing potential to pain relief to reducing anxiety.
There’s no reason why common-sense policy should not prevail especially in a time of crisis.
The FDA can help small business owners and farmers in New Jersey and take action by allowing CBD ingesitbles into the marketplace.
It’s an easy win for us all at very difficult time for the economy and does not require bailout dollars from the Federal Government.
Smoke Wallin is CEO of Vertical Wellness, a leading multi-national vertically integrated brand company in the Hemp-based CBD industry.
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