Hello, fabulous Charlotte’s Web Community! Paige Figi here.
I want to thank you for all your support this year… Charlotte’s Web feels more like a movement than a company when I see how it’s evolved. Way back in the early days, the Charlotte’s Web co-founders and I and a skeleton crew of dedicated humans attempted to build a company…out of necessity to help families, including mine. While it was not an ideal situation with our then unskilled labor, we knew we had a big purpose. We had a “lay our bodies across the tracks” mentality for this cause, the CBD movement, but we were walking into many unknowns. I have immense gratitude for every single one of you that has lifted us up. I don’t specifically know why you wake up each day and choose to be present in your own life but please accept my heartfelt, “Thank You!”
My “why” for being a part of Charlotte’s Web may surprise you. Charlotte is not my why. Yes, she was my daughter, and of course, having her name attached to this B Corp is a massive honor to me and all who value her story. But she was just one human, one little girl, and one person cannot be a why. My appetite to wake up each day and eat this thing alive is simply, The Golden Rule: Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You, an ethic of reciprocity. Upon seeing Charlotte’s massive success using CBD; her first dose, her first hour seizure-free, the gift of her big blue eyes opening…I decided I was going to do this work for others. This was to be shared.
In this vein, I decided we needed to do more than just share a success story, we had to change the law. Many laws, to be exact. I started an organization to politically represent the consumer voice of CBD, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization called Coalition for Access Now, otherwise known as CAN. The Golden Rule lives within every moment of my work. Our first members were parents and our first action as a non-profit was to travel state to state, county to county, writing and passing laws in each respective capitol, so families that had to relocate to Colorado for CBD access were allowed to move back home. A zip code should not dictate a solution. Back then CBD was treated as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, same as heroin. We worked hard and fast to pass the absolute most that leadership would allow, to help the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time. The quickest state passed a law, start to finish in 28 days, and people were legally allowed to move home quicker than they could get their affairs in order to move to a CBD friendly state. The most conservative laws allowed only for “possession without prosecution,” no cultivation. The broadest were for full medical marijuana legalization. They were publicly called Charlotte’s Web laws, and I was vilified for them. Activists wanted full recreational marijuana or nothing, but that’s not how change happens. It’s incremental and sometimes slow. I call it “perfection paralysis.” I often asked activists why are we denying some progress when your state’s leadership is saying a hard, “No!” to anything more. It didn’t make sense to me why we would hold these families hostage to impossible bills whose time wasn’t ready yet. I said, “Let’s do this for the most people today and you can continue to work for more people in the future.”
CBD was on its way to becoming legal in 50 states when our first federal bills were drafted, legislation that bore the Charlotte’s Web name. In them, we asked for two things: One, to deschedule hemp and CBD and two, to regulate CBD by the FDA as a dietary supplement.
Five years ago, hemp and CBD were removed from the definition of marijuana where they never belonged. Descheduling, done!
The Coalition for Access Now is working today to complete the last mile; regulation as a dietary supplement. Classification as a dietary supplement is the most practical lane for CBD, at its most basic, allowing for accurate labeling and independent lab testing. In the five-year vacuum of regulation, we should not expect the now 3,000+ CBD companies to be as safe and responsible in their work as we parents demanded of Charlotte’s Web. Americans deserve to know with confidence what is in the products they are purchasing, doctors require regulation before they can discuss this option with patients, professional athletes must know to the milligram what they put into their bodies, and more.
To accomplish this goal, CAN is supporting bills, H.R. 1629 in the House and S. 2451 in the Senate. They are unopposed, bipartisan, uncomplicated and noncontroversial pieces of legislation that by any stretch of the political imagination are long overdue to pass. The Coalition for Access Now may look a bit different after a decade, but our work, language and mission remain the same. No longer comprised of just parents, we strive to accurately and responsibly represent the estimated 45 million Americans who use CBD on a daily basis, like seniors, athletes, veterans, and more. Everything CAN does to keep the pressure on Congress to move these bills is executed with strategy and precision by my Washington, D.C. A-Team.
Our most recent CAN activity was this month where we held both House and Senate CBD Regulation briefings on the hill along with my typical monthly trip to our nation’s capital for lobbying work. The neutral panel of five women consisted of Kelly Fair (a Denton’s law firm regulatory expert), Dr. Rayetta Henderson Ph.D. (leading toxicologist responsible for recent clinical published studies), Nicole Hemmenway (CEO US Pain Foundation), Jen Baxter (Executive Director Balanced Veterans Network), and myself. The following day, Balanced Veterans Network and U.S. Pain Foundation, both partners of CAN, had a busy day of meetings to move our bills toward a hearing and their eventual passage. I’ll be back again in January. In February, I will be presenting CAN to the American Legion (another valuable CAN partner) at their annual DC convention where I will discuss our mutual efforts to get things done for our US veteran population.
My job is to make regulation undeniable to Congress. Because of the many voices of the American consumers, CAN partners, good CBD companies, and thought leaders in Washington, D.C., we are well on our way to getting this across the finish line. The meaningfulness of victory will be, to me, having done unto others, which is the most important thing a person can live by.