Infused beverages are one of the fastest growing categories within cannabis. Yet, the regulations are too strict for most to operate within, and the infrastructure to support the area is severely lacking.
With all of these issues in mind, a group of leaders from within the sector took matters into their own hands and created a platform where the category could have a unified voice, and last week announced the official formation of the Cannabis Beverage Association (CBA) and the founding board members and affiliated brands.
The mission of this association is to educate policymakers and consumers, establish standards for operators and testers to uphold, and advocate for common-sense policies so they can ensure that the cannabis beverage industry delivers safe, high-quality, reliable products to the consumers who enjoy them.
“The CBA was established to advocate for the producers and consumers of the nascent, but burgeoning cannabis-infused beverage industry. The founders of the CBA, the pioneers and stakeholders of this space, are up against onerous and cumbersome legacy regulations created before this industry segment had a voice. It's our goal as the CBA to be the unified voice of reason advocating for common-sense policies that promote the proliferation of responsible consumption via infused-beverages, while also establishing best practices and standards for producers, testing labs, and ingredient providers that support it," said Macai Polansky, co-founder of Spacestation, a cannabis beverage manufacturer, and founder of the CBA.
Some of the immediate goals that this organization will be addressing during this legislative session include advocating for more realistic packaging requirements, less restrictive requirements for child-resistant resealable closures for multi-dose products, loosen the restrictions on use of alcohol-related terminology (i.e. rosé, IPA, etc.), increase the tolerance for variance from the labeled amount in microdose products, and to simplify the process for obtaining finished product beverages to use as samples.
These are some of the issues that are keeping infused beverages from reaching its potential and the CBA hopes to help alleviate these harsh and unnecessary restrictions through strategic and thoughtful lobbying efforts.
"The CBA provides for a much needed unifying voice for the emerging category of cannabis-infused beverages. The transition from an unregulated market to a legal industry has created significant hurdles, and in some cases, insurmountable barriers for the pioneers of this category. This is a critical collective effort of industry operators coming together to ensure ethical and responsible legislation for an entirely new type of product that differs greatly from the edibles, inhalables, and topicals that previously defined the cannabis industry. From manufacturing to distribution to retail to consumption, this is an entirely unique experience and should be treated as such," said Ben Larson, CEO of Vertosa.
"We're excited to help transform this industry through our efforts with the CBA and create the framework that is deserving of all the attention and investment the category has received in the recent past."
The Founding Board Members include:
- Macai Polansky - Spacestation - Founder and President/Chairman,
- Austin Stevenson - Vertosa - Founding Member and Treasurer,
- Aaron Silverstein - BevZero - Founding Member and Secretary,
- Ben Larson - Vertosa - Founding Member,
- Amy Ludlum - California Dream’ - Founding Member,
- Peter Bishop - California Dream’ - Founding Member,
- Cynthia Salarizadeh - House of Saka - Founding Member / PR & Messaging,
- Tracey Mason - House of Saka - Founding Member / PR & Messaging,
- Sebastian Smuts - Cann - PR & Messaging,
- Ishan Kapoor with Cann.
Some of the brands involved include: Spacestation, Vertosa, House of Saka, Cann, BevZero, California Dreamin, KZen Beverages, Venice of America, Fiorello, and Calexo.
“It is incredible how much potential, investment and talent we have in our category, yet the obstacles to our growth are outrageous,” said Tracey Mason, co-founder & CEO of the House of Saka. “Having one collective voice to help lobby for regulations that support our consumers and ecosystem is critical. We believe we are part of a category that will help define the future of the cannabis industry and the formation of this organization will be the first step to bringing more credibility and collaboration.”