Posted on September 11, 2019 by Sustainable Food News

Organic certifier jumps into CBD arena, cites market boom

QAI says it recommends clients seek legal counsel over questions relating to hemp or hemp-derived ingredients

Quality Assurance International (QAI), one of the world’s largest organic certifiers, said Tuesday it is now offering organic certification of hemp crops and products containing hemp or hemp-derived CBD, whether made from U.S.-produced hemp or from lawfully-imported hemp.

However, San Diego-based QAI said its decision to certify hemp-derived CBD ingredients was prompted, in part, by the “wide variety of products already on the market that contain hemp or hemp-derived CBD, including dietary supplements, personal care products, beverages, packaged food and organic products.”

However, the organic certifier also advised that the “legal landscape surrounding hemp-derived products is complex. We recommend our clients seek legal counsel if they have any questions relating to hemp or hemp-derived ingredients.”

QAI said it may accept applications for organic certification if the hemp or hemp-derived CBD ingredients for which a new or existing client is requesting services either:

  1. qualify as “hemp” as defined in 7 U.S.C. 1639o: (defining “hemp” as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a [THC] concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”); or
  2. are derived from those parts of a foreign-grown plant excluded from the federal Controlled Substances Act’s definition of “marihuana” (21 USC 802(16)(B) (stating that “[t]he term “marihuana” does not include— (i) hemp, as defined in section 1639o of title 7… ; or (ii) the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.”)

Organic certificates must also accompany any hemp-derived ingredient used in a product making an organic claim.

QAI said it will not certify any businesses or their affiliates if either:

  1. grows or processes “marihuana” as defined in the federal Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802(16)(A) (defining “marihuana” as “all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin,”); or
  2. processes, manufactures, or distributes products containing either (a) “marihuana” as defined in 21 USC 802(16)(A) or (b) any part of the Cannabis sativa L. plant that does not meet the definition of “hemp” set out in 7 U.S.C. 1639o.

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