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Organic Hemp and Hemp Products

The Organic Trade Association strongly supports the bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate on May 19, 2021. Consistent with the 2018 law, the Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act (S. 1698) will create regulatory pathways for use of organic hemp-derived CBD in organic food, beverages, and organic dietary supplements. This Bill is critical because it will address the uncertainty in the marketplace that is holding back organic farmers from increasing organic hemp acreage and organic brands from developing and diversifying organic product lines.

The Organic Hemp Opportunity

Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.), also called industrial hemp, is a plant of the family Cannabaceae cultivated for its bast fiber or its edible seeds and oils. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production of hemp as an agricultural commodity and removed it from the list of controlled substances. On January 19, 2021, USDA published a final hemp rule making it possible for farmers to legally grow industrial hemp under a U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program.

The Organic Trade Association recognizes the tremendous opportunity this monumental action can have for organic hemp farmers and manufacturers and for the wide range of products our members produce, including foods and beverages, cosmetics and personal care products, nutritional supplements, fabrics and textiles, yarns and spun fibers.  

Our position is that there is no need to work with a conventional crop because organic agriculture has all of the tools needed to produce a thriving hemp crop and associated hemp products. Growing hemp organically is better for the planet, and it is ultimately what the consumer wants.

The Organic Trade Association’s simplified position? 

USDA-NOP Certification of Hemp and Hemp Products

Hemp produced in accordance with the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program may be certified as organic if produced in accordance with USDA organic regulations.

Certified organic hemp is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, expand biologically diverse agriculture, and prohibit the use of synthetic toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, as well as genetically engineered seed. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic producers and handlers meet strict federal regulations addressing the methods and materials allowed in organic production.

coffee beans

Visit The Organic Center to learn more about the benefits of organic agriculture

Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act

The Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act (S. 1698) would establish a legal and regulatory pathway for the sale of hemp-derived extract products such as CBD (cannabidiol) as dietary supplements and food and beverage additives.

Our Statement: The Organic Trade Association applauds Senator Wyden, Senator Paul, and Senator Merkley for introducing the Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act. This bill is a critical step for moving the organic hemp sector forward because it will address the uncertainty in the marketplace that is holding back organic farmers from increasing organic hemp acreage and organic brands from developing and diversifying organic product lines. USDA accredited organic certifiers will be able to consistently apply certification approvals to products that are clearly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and consumers will benefit with greater access to CBD products that are safe, properly labeled and healthy for people and the planet.


For producers and handlers to take full advantage of the 2018 law and market hemp derived-CBD products in interstate commerce, FDA must take action.

In recent years, the public has developed widespread interest in the production and use of CBD, one of the primary non-psychoactive compounds of the hemp plant. However, CBD remains in a regulatory grey zone, and consumers lack certainty that the products they purchase are of the topmost quality, from the highest quality producers, and are meeting standards required of other food and dietary supplement products in the marketplace.

Currently, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act prohibits any new dietary ingredient, food, or beverage from entering the market if it has been studied or approved as a drug. FDA has the authority to exempt items from this prohibition, but has yet to exempt hemp-derived CBD despite Congressional action to legalize its production and sale. By exempting hemp-derived CBD from the prohibition, FDA can regulate hemp-derived CBD like all other new dietary ingredients, foods, and beverages.

In response, on May 19, 2021, Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced The Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act of 2021, which generally provides a legal pathway for certain hemp-derived CBD products.

The Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act would:

  • Give hemp-derived CBD products an opportunity to lawfully be used in dietary supplements, foods and beverages under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
  • Prioritize consumer safety, requiring manufacturers to comply with all existing federal regulations for the products that contain CBD.
  • Ensure that these products are properly labeled.


Organic Trade Association’s Comments on Interim Final Rule on Hemp Production Organic Hemp Certification Fact Sheet


Scott Rice

Sr. Director, Regulatory Affairs

(202) 695-1268