Episode 2: Quality and Compliance in the CBD Industry

CBD Podcast Episode 2

JOE: On this episode of the CBD University podcast, learn more about our dedication and commitment to quality and compliance in the ever-changing CBD landscape. As industry leaders setting the standards, you'll meet our vice president of quality and compliance. Learn more about our measures and methods to ensure the quality and compliance of all our products. And our third-party independent lab results are available right at your fingertips anytime, anywhere. This is the CBD University podcast and it starts right now.

I'm Joe Agostinelli, the host of Global Widget's CBD University podcast. If you are a returning listener, we thank you once again for tuning in. And if you are a new listener, we invite you to subscribe to our podcast on your favorite platform of choice to get notifications when new episodes are uploaded each week. In any industry, excuse me, that experiences tremendous growth and opportunity, there are responsibilities of experienced industry leaders such as Global Widget to set standards and ensure the quality and compliance of their products, processes, and team. Earlier this year, August, if I'm correct?


JOE: July/ Well, even earlier than August.

MARGARET: That's right.

JOE: In July, Global Widget announced its first-ever chief compliance officer and I welcome Margaret Richardson, who will be a frequent guest on our podcast and this is your debut on the podcast.

MARGARET: It's my initial. We'll see how it goes if you'd invite me back.

JOE: I'm sure it'll go great. I'm sure you'll be back. And now that we're with the introductions, you've brought a friend here to the podcast.

MARGARET: Yes, this is Carl, our compliance camel. It's just a way to make sure that we all think about compliance every day, no matter what our position is in the company.

JOE: And first of all, let's just talk a little bit about your experience and background now that we know all about Carl the compliance camel.

MARGARET: Sure, so I joined Global Widget, as I said, in July. And prior to that, I spent most of my working career in pharma and life sciences, 25 years there, mostly doing oral, solid tablets, creams, liquids, and ointments.

JOE: So, a little bit of the family background. Where are you from originally?

MARGARET: Oh, wow. Originally? Well, long, long ago in New York but probably most recently, North Carolina. I went to North Carolina State University, go Wolfpack for undergrad and then graduated from North Carolina Central University in Durham with my JD.

JOE: Awesome. And so when you're not at the office, what do you like to do?

MARGARET: Well, primarily, most of my activities are related to either exercise or outdoors, so I enjoy bass fishing, which is probably surprising for most people. I got into that because of my son who was really big into bass fishing. And then, as I said, I do CrossFit, pilates, and running.

JOE: So, let's now get to the topic at hand. And we'll talk about quality and compliance and something you're a champion up here at Global Widget. What does quality and compliance mean to you?

MARGARET: Well, quality and compliance... And it's important to say it's not just what it means to me, but what it means to the whole entire company, Global Widget. It means that a customer can be assured that the product that they purchase has the exact potency on the label, safe and effective for the use. And that's the most important thing. That's really our job at Global Widget is to provide products to consumers that are safe, effective, and have the potency as advertised.

JOE: And you joined, as we mentioned, Global Widget back in July and as you continue to build out our in-house quality and compliance team, what are some of the measures and processes you have already put into place?

MARGARET: Well, when I joined, of course, we had some already in place but what we've been focused on is process control. That's really the key to good quality product, making sure that you understand the raw materials coming in and making sure that those raw materials are safe and then making sure during the entire manufacturing process that you don't have any surprises, that you understand how the process works and that the finished goods are tested to meet our specifications and, again, meet the specifications on the label.

JOE: So in this industry, it's getting bigger and bigger every day and changing just about every day, sometimes hour by hour.

MARGARET: Yes, it feels like that.

JOE: So, what is Global Widget doing to lead the charge in quality and compliance of its products to local, state, and federal regulations that are out there?

MARGARET: So, we're really taking a two-pronged approach. First, very active in terms of looking and speaking to legislators about what we think would be best in the CBD industry. From our perspective, we really feel like federal legislation is the way to go, so we're looking to the FDA to come down with their regulations. We are working towards being CFR Compliant Part 111 and that will really set the standard in the industry in terms of what's expected. So, it's similar to dietary supplements or over-the-counter products that folks are familiar with going to CVS, Walgreens, or your local pharmacy to purchase.

The second thing that we're really focused on, outside of the legislative effort, is making sure that we're aware of what's happening. So, as you mentioned, it changes all the time. States are constantly updating their rules that are expectations for CBD manufacturers like us, making sure that we understand what's being required at some local level, so municipalities are making changes in the rules. So, we are constantly making sure that we know what those are and then making the changes that are necessary so that our distributor partners and our retail partners can provide a good product to the consumer.

JOE: And speaking of federal regulations, many consumers and even distributors we partner with, you know, may have questions about what the Food and Drug Administration thinks about CBD and what is the legality of it. Where do you think it stands with the FDA and other organizations?

MARGARET: So, the FDA has stated several times that they anticipate coming out with some guidance. Right now, the FDA has not approved CBD for general use. They did come out Friday, February 2nd, with a statement that they were comfortable with CBD being in topicals. We have a wide range of topical, so we feel great about that. And they're going to be putting guidance out as it relates to products that are edible, for instance, in foods and then, of course, your dietary supplements. So, we're looking to them to come out in the next few months and, of course, we'll modify as necessary.

JOE: And discuss our multi-stage lab testing process for our products and the independent third-party lab results that are available to consumers.

MARGARET: Sure. So as I said, one of the most important components of the process is making sure your raw materials are safe. So, as the raw materials come in, we look to make sure that those are safe by testing them and putting them on hold until they are released and they've met our specifications. Secondly, after the products are manufactured, we do finish good testing. That, again, makes sure that the finished goods meet our specifications and the labels.

And we then use a third-party confirmatory lab to even provide more guidance to the consumer that it's not just us saying that the product has the same potency, but it's a third-party lab that says it has the right potency. In fact, on all of our labels, we have a QR code that a consumer can easily scan to make sure that they can see the associated certificate of analysis with that particular batch.

JOE: And ah, the magic of video. Since our podcast is available on our YouTube channel, for those viewing this on our YouTube channel, you can see the product bag of one of our products. This is one of our Nature's Script...

MARGARET: Sleep patch.

JOE: ...sleep patches and right at the bottom there is what you would scan into your phone. We'll get both cameras and all around. We're all surrounded by cameras here in the studio. And this is what will show the consumers those third-party lab results.

MARGARET: That's right. It's an individual scan of that particular batch that was tested. So, every time we produce a new batch...so some products we make every day/ Some products we make maybe every week or every month. That individual batch, we send more than one sample to the lab. The lab runs that analysis. We do a full panel. So, what they will actually see is not only the potency but additional information, for instance, like confirming that there is no pesticides, confirming that there is no residual solvents, confirming that there is no any kind of pathogens in the product and that it's below detectable levels for THC, so they can be very comfortable taking and using our product.

JOE: And although I just held up one product, it is on the back of...?

MARGARET: It is on every product label.

JOE: And it'll be across all of our brands?

MARGARET: That's correct, Hemp Bombs and Nature's Script and Pure Paws.

JOE: And we already talked about how consumers can view the third-party lab results and an explanation of the stability testing process and why it matters to our customers?

MARGARET: Sure. So, one of the things that, as I said, we focus on is the Code of Federal Regulations Part 111 and one of the things that the FDA really cares about...everybody has one of those books. It's very important.

JOE: I have one at my desk

MARGARET: Exactly, exactly.

JOE: So, again, it's our intel.

MARGARET: That's right, that's our guidance for how we want to manufacture our products. So, one of the things the FDA really wants to understand is how the product reacts in real life. So it's different than if I just put it in my lab and everything is perfect. That's not a good representation of how our product is handled out in the real world. So, we do accelerated stability studies that replicate high humidity, high temperature, to make sure that the product is going to remain stable for two years on a shelf because, as I said, you're going to ship it from our manufacturing facility to distribution, out to the retail store, and then, of course, somebody is going to have it in their home. So, we want to make sure that it's going to be stable and, again, deliver that same potency when the person opens up that product at home.

JOE: And as we head to the end of 2019 and into 2020, excuse me, what are some of the upcoming packaging and labeling initiatives that Global Widget is undertaking for its brands?

MARGARET: Sure. So as we mentioned, one of our two prongs in terms of regulatory and compliance is really paying attention to what's happening at the state level. A lot of the states have initiated very specific labeling requirements. So, we're really working with our distribution and retail partners to make sure that they can comply on that individual level. So, we will be providing package inserts into all of our products that allow you to be compliant with the various state labeling rules, so that any consumer, wherever they are, can receive a product that is compliant for their particular jurisdiction.

The other thing that we're implementing are child-resistant packaging. We want to make sure that our products are safe and that they're not getting into the hands of the people that are not supposed to take our products. So, we don't sell to people under 18 and we want to make sure that that product packaging is safe for everyone, even when the consumer brings it home.

JOE: And, you know, it's just funny you just mentioned about state regulations. How often do packaging regulations change? Especially, you know, when we talked about manufacturing and distribution, I mean, this is all stuff that has to be designed, packaged, shipped. There's old packaging out there. How often do guidelines change?

MARGARET: Well, I'd like to say, not really frequently. Right now, as we've talked about, CBD is a growing industry, so the states tend to be pretty active in this area. That's why we like the approach of the package insert because the standard label will be on there, but the package insert is something that we can change very quickly so that it allows our distributor and retail partners to be compliant. We can also send it to them so that they can put it into the product packaging, again, to make sure that if something changes very quickly, we can immediately address that. So, we're trying to be as flexible as possible and, again, make sure that our partners also have everything they need to be successful.

JOE: And you just talked at a couple of forums, as a matter of fact, that you presented on. Do you want to just go into detail about some of those real quick?

MARGARET: Sure. So, last week, I was at the annual meeting for the Association of Corporate Counsel. I'm sure lots of people would be super excited to sit and listen to attorneys talk for hours but for attorneys, they like it. And so, I was on a compliance panel talking about compliance, quality issues, how companies can maintain their compliance program appropriately because compliance is an issue in a lot of different industries. So, a lot of the knowledge and expertise that we have developed here at Global Widget can be applicable across a lot of additional industries, so we were talking about that. And then just yesterday, I was in Miami at Women Leadership Conference, primarily talking about, again, how you talk about compliance and build up your career in that field.

JOE: And you're very active on the LinkedIn network.

MARGARET: That's true.

JOE: So, if folks want to follow along on all your journeys, you can find Margaret on LinkedIn. She's always sharing some great information regarding the industry and the initiatives that we're undertaking here at Global Widget.

MARGARET: Yes, a lot of fun. I do a lot of service activities. So, we just posted a couple of weeks ago the service activity with the Southeastern Guide Dogs, which is a great organization if anybody's interested. It's a lot of fun to participate with. But again, it's a good way to communicate and make sure that people understand what's happening in the industry and another contact point for those who are interested.

JOE: And I want to thank again Margaret Richardson for...

MARGARET: Thank you.

JOE: ...taking time out of her always busy schedule to join me for this episode of the CBD University podcast. She's our chief compliance officer for Global Widget and I'm sure we will absolutely have you back again very soon on another episode.

MARGARET: Thank you, Joe. I'm, looking forward to it.

JOE: And I also want to thank Carl the compliance, our special guest. I had no idea he was coming today.

MARGARET: He's got all his PPE on. Personal Protective Equipment.

JOE: Yeah. He's ready to go. He's even got his badge to get in the building, although I have not seen him leave at night.


JOE: Yeah, I think he just camps out here.


JOE: Well, thanks to Carl and thanks to Margaret for being my guests on this episode of the CBD University podcast and I thank you for listening to this episode of the CBD University podcast. If you have not yet done so, I invite you to subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast platform of choice. You can also get involved on a conversation here on our podcast.

I invite you to email your questions at podcast@globalwidget.com, that's P-O-D-C-A-S-T, @globalwidget.com. And we'll take time on each episode going down the road here of future episodes to answer some of your questions that you may have about the industry. Once again, I'm Joe Agostinelli, the host for the CBD University podcast. Thank you again for listening to this episode. And tune in again for another fresh episode of the CBD University podcast on your favorite podcast platform of choice and always outline it, www.globalwidget.com. Thanks for listening.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. CBD products are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Always consult your personal physician about CBD and using CBD products. CBD should never be used by anyone under the age of 18. This podcast is not intended to provide legal advice regarding the legal status of CBD and CBD products.