The U.S. Hemp Authority is one of the industry’s leading certification initiatives. Using an audit system, the program ensures high production standards and compliance with best practices.
Although Qredible is not affiliated with U.S. Hemp Authority we are supportive and bullish on the work that they are doing to drive quality and transparency in the industry.
A U.S. Hemp Authority certification has the power to increase trust with consumers and retailers, making it a useful tool in any hemp or CBD company’s arsenal. That is because nearly 81% of consumers value transparency from the companies they purchase from.
So, how can your company earn a U.S. Hemp Authority certification? Keep reading to learn about the process for certification, the program standards, and more.
Benefits of a U.S. Hemp Authority Certification
A U.S. Hemp Authority certification provides businesses with the opportunity to earn the trust of both consumers and retailers. This makes the certification valuable to both retailers and CBD/hemp processors.
A few of the benefits for both types of business include:
- Increased trust
- Improved reputation
- Quality assurance
- Increased transparency
- Improved safety and compliance
- Increased value and sales
Some of the industry’s leading brands have earned a U.S. Hemp Authority certification, including Charlotte’s Web, one of the largest CBD manufacturers in the country.
How to Get a U.S. Hemp Authority Certification
Becoming U.S. Hemp Authority certified involves following a series of steps to demonstrate compliance with strict regulatory standards.
The steps are as follows:
- Subscribe to the U.S. Hemp Authority mailing list
- Familiarize yourself with their regulatory standards
- Submit an audit application
- Complete your audit
- Receive your certification
The most critical of these five steps is learning their standards. As the business leader, it is your responsibility to ensure your facility and processes meet the standards prior to your audit.
Depending on where your business is in terms of compliance and quality assurance, this could require minimal prep work or multiple weeks of facility upgrades and the implementation of new systems.
What are the U.S. Hemp Authority Standards?
The U.S. Hemp Authority standards apply to manufacturers, growers, and all CBD or hemp brand owners.
Requirements For All Certified Businesses
Certain standards apply to all CBD and hemp businesses. They are as follows:
- Legal compliance: The operator must be compliant with all federal, state, and local laws. This goes beyond just proving legal compliance. Businesses must demonstrate a process for remaining compliant through a shifting regulatory landscape. They must also showcase record-keeping systems for keeping track of violative incidents and corrective actions.
- Prohibited substances: The program only certifies legal products. Artificial, synthetic, or engineered substances as well as adult-use cannabis products do not qualify.
Requirements for Growers and Nurseries
All hemp and cannabis growers applying for a U.S. Hemp Authority certification must adhere to the following standards:
- Production plans: Growers must demonstrate plans that adhere to Good Agricultural Practices as well as records to prove said plans. Plans must also showcase compliance with The American Herbal Products Association’s Guidance document on Good Agricultural Collection Practices and Good Manufacturing Practices. Plans must also include details about the facility, including acreage, crop yield, and crop varieties. Licenses must be recorded.
- Materials: Records of all seed and material sources must be available for examination. This includes purchase records and material data sheets. Any analyses conducted on soil, seeds, or plants must be recorded and kept for examination.
- Employee training and safety: All employees must be properly trained on best practices, proper processes, and safety procedures. Proper PPE, sanitation, and hygiene are required. The program also examines labor laws, wages, and human rights.
- Soil and water management: All growing processes must demonstrate proper due diligence concerning waste and environmental protection. The soil must be routinely sampled for contaminants and heavy metals, and testing labs must be accredited. A soil management program is also required and will be examined by the certifying body.
- Post-harvest processes: All hemp should be clean, dried, and preserved according to best practices. All materials must meet compliance standards for safety, including water.
Requirements for Manufacturers
Hemp and CBD manufacturers must adhere to the following standards:
- Product safety: Processes for awareness, adherence to, and implementation of safe production practices will be examined by the U.S. Hemp Authority. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act as amended by the Food Safety and Modernization Act and the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices provide basic guidance as to the required minimum standards.
- Facility sanitation: The facility in its entirety (interior and exterior) must be sanitary and free of contaminants or harmful chemicals. PPE must be clean and documentation is required to demonstrate all processes dedicated to sanitary systems.
- Sources and suppliers: Operators must keep detailed records of all materials and components required to manufacture all products. These records should demonstrate legal compliance and quality control.
- Testing: All products and materials must adhere to sample and testing requirements that ensure 95% confidence or higher.
- Production and process: All processes must be documented and recorded to ensure sanitation, best practices, proper sampling, and general compliance with all applicable regulations. This can include storage, transportation, labeling, packaging, distribution, and non-retail storage in addition to actual manufacturing processes.
- Quality control: Quality control concerns records and documentation of compliance, which must all be available for examination at the time of audit. Processes that are used to assess quality control include equipment, employee training, sampling, hold and release, recalls, materials, complaints, and internal audits.
Requirements for Branding and Labeling
Merchants and brands must adhere to the following requirements:
- Products and sourcing: Operators must retain records of all products, including raw materials used in production. They must demonstrate their processes for ensuring quality in the materials they source.
- Labels: Brands must demonstrate their processes for ensuring the accurate labeling of all products as per the Code of Federal Regulations for foods and dietary supplements, the Food Drug & Cosmetic Act for cosmetics, and additional government requirements.
What is a U.S. Hemp Authority Audit?
Once an operator is ready to apply for an audit, they may do so through the U.S. Hemp Authority online portal.
The program defines its audits as: “a planned, systematic, objective, independent, and documented examination to assess whether agreed-upon requirements are being met.”
To make these assessments, the program will conduct a variety of investigations, including:
- Observation of processes
- Records review
- Interviews with employees
- Product sampling
- Laboratory analysis
Validate and Verify Your Certifications with Qredible®
After your facility completes its audit, you may submit your results, along with your licensing agreement and payment, to the U.S. Hemp Authority. After a thorough review of the documentation, a representative will then approve your case and assign your certification status.
Once you have your U.S. Hemp Authority certification, its validity can then be verified by third parties in Qredible’s Q-Trust platform.
Qredible can also help expedite and improve the audit process by providing a cloud-based blockchain registry of immutable documentation that showcases your brand’s commitment to quality and compliance.
Hosting your quality control documentation in an accessible, secure digital location will not only streamline the audit process, but will also increase trust with buyers, investors, financial institutions, and business partners.
Qredible is not a compliance enforcement or regulatory initiative nor is it a certification body, like US Hemp Authority. Our technology and platform were designed to support the collaboration of quality assurance programs and brands to ensure safer commerce for everyone in the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp supply chain.
Once you are US Hemp Authority Certified, Qredible will issue a smart contract ID in our blockchain and provide a tamper-proof seal validating the authenticity of the certification.
The U.S. Hemp Authority is doing a terrific job of uplifting responsible businesses and creating a safer industry. We are proud to do our part to support their work.
Qredible is the only digital registry of verified and validated legalized cannabis, hemp, and CBD brands. Want to be in Qredible? Get started today.