Health E-Insights: You’re active in cannabis regulatory issues on behalf of AHPA. Any trends you’re seeing regarding regulation?
Ms. Wahl: Initially, cannabis regulations for both recreational and medicinal programs were heavily focused on security measures, with extensive provisions on diversion and theft. Those provisions are still part of the regulatory frameworks. However, there has been a clear shift to now address quality control measures, supply chain management, and complete and accurate labeling requirements.
Health E-Insights: What role do you take in working with AHPA members, be it basic herbal products or cannabis?
Ms. Wahl: Navigating whatever topic that potentially impacts market access for our members, be it on the state, federal or international level. I field specific regulatory inquiries from members, research and review legislation, and develop strategies to address emerging industry concerns.
Health E-Insights: Any pending legislative issues that could impact the industry?
Ms. Wahl: Fortunately, nothing thus far that will paralyze the industry—although there is ample legislative activity that will directly impact industry, such as GMO labeling, the constant push from industry foes for further regulation, numerous hemp bills on both the state and federal level, and several cannabis bills. California’s Proposition 65 and the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act are two additional matters that reside permanently on industry’s ongoing agenda.
Health E-Insights: What’s your greatest fear for the industry?
Ms. Wahl: A splashy headline. Specifically, one that is based on completely inaccurate information regarding a botanical or one based on the action of a token irresponsible company. Under either scenario a shadowy halo effect is cast on all botanical-based products. Botanicals are an easy target for naysayers and even a small amount of incorrect data, science or information becomes virtually impossible to remedy.
Health E-Insights: What motivates you?
Ms. Wahl: A novel challenge. Stepping outside of the status quo when necessary definitely ignites the motivation gene.
Health E-Insights: What are you passionate about?
Ms. Wahl: Working with really smart people to develop innovative solutions to the challenges faced by the industry.
Health E-Insights: If you could get one hour of business advice from a known expert you respect, who would it be?
Ms. Wahl: Would very much welcome words of wisdom from Oprah Winfrey. We would discuss how to be a disruptor when needed to move a cause forward and how to maintain relevance after the storm.
Health E-Insights:In which city do you like to attend a trade show and why?
Ms. Wahl: Denver is a lovely venue. The restaurants serve amazing local fare, there are several craft breweries that offer a unique environment, the scenery is breathtaking, the airport is large enough to offer several direct flights and the city has a progressive culture.
Sheldon Baker is well-known for creating nutraceutical brand marketing and public relations campaigns. He serves as vice president, strategic engagement, for the American Herbal Products Association. For Health E-Insights interview consideration, contact him at Sheldon@NutraInk.com. And follow him on Twitter @NutraInk.