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Today, the Council for Federal Cannabis Regulation (CFCR) announced the third installment of their monthly web series. December’s virtual conversation will discuss the topic of “Pros and Cons: What We’ve Learned from the Regulation of the US Hemp Industry.” Joining the discussion will be Executive Director of the National Hemp Association (NHA) Erica Stark, along with Herrick “Rick” Fox, CEO and Co-Founder of Meristem Farms and former senior policy staff with the USDA.

Additionally, the webinar will feature Bill Richmond, Chief, U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA and a regulatory expert from the FDA, who will be confirmed later this week.

Hosts include CFCR’s own Executive Director Sarah A. Chase and Thompson Coburn LLP Advisor Jack Jacobson. The event is scheduled for Thursday, December 16th, from 1:00 until 2:00 p.m. EST.

With roughly 125 monthly participants already since debuting September 18th, CFCR has explored various facets of the cannabis industry in their monthly webinar series – including the regulatory impacts of a groundbreaking CBD study, as well as Federal and state cannabis policies. Ongoing webinars will take place on the second or third Thursday of every month (depending on holidays), each to spotlight a wide range of industry professionals and focus on preparing to regulate and regulating today’s legal cannabis molecules and products. These virtual sessions can be viewed on WebEx. Each webinar will consist of a 40-minute interactive conversation followed by approximately 20-minutes of moderated audience Q&A for a total run-time of approximately one hour.

Speaker Profiles for the December 16 Webinar:

Erica Stark

Erica Stark is the Executive Director of the National Hemp Association. She is also the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council and serves on the leadership team of the PA Hemp Steering Committee, which is an advisory council to the PA Dept. of Agriculture. Erica was instrumental in enacting legislation in Pennsylvania and has been managing permits and growing hemp in PA since 2017. She is a sought-after speaker with years of experience in hemp education and legislative advocacy, including testifying before Congress. The industrial hemp industry has experienced a rebirth, legally, and now it is time to fuel the fires and continue to breathe new life into the fledgling industry, both locally and nationally.

Herrick “Rick” Fox

Rick Fox is CEO of Meristem Farms, a Vermont-based producer of distinctive hemp crops and consumer products that builds capacity throughout the hemp value chain through policy leadership and public-private partnerships. Rick also co-chairs the Government Affairs Committee of the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC), applying his prior USDA policy and rule-making experience to support building a hemp economy that works for everyone.

Rick’s 25 years of professional experience spans various subjects including forestry, conservation, land management, public policy, food security and agricultural trade. Prior to starting Meristem Farms, Rick finished his 15-year USDA career as an executive in USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, leading a division in agricultural trade capacity-building.  Before that Rick worked with USDA Forest Service, first in land management on National Forests and later in policy with senior USDA officials and the US Senate Committee on Agriculture. He also served as policy expert for USAID programs in Russia and the Republic of Georgia. In his early career, Rick lived in Russia for 6 years working on conservation and sustainable forestry in Siberia and the Russian Far East.

Rick holds a B.S. from U.C. Berkeley and a Master’s in Forest Science from Yale. An avid skier and hiker since early childhood, Rick recently left Washington D.C. to further hone his gravity management skills in the northern Vermont highlands with his wife and their 3 kids, except when they’re all busy chucking hemp.

Bill Richmond

Bill Richmond, Chief, USDA Hemp Program, leads the team responsible for establishment and implementation of the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program.  The USDA hemp program oversees State and Tribal hemp regulations, producer licensing, laboratory compliance testing, rulemaking, intergovernmental affairs and stakeholder outreach.  He has been in Federal service, all with USDA, for 22 years.  In other roles, he led the Country of Origin and Bioengineered Food Labeling Programs and served as the chief of staff of the Agricultural Marketing Service under the Obama and Trump administrations.  He studied agricultural economics at the University of Maryland and holds professional certificates from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Brookings Institution.

To register for this CFCR’s webinar series, please visit:

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