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Driving the Conversation Forward

December 6

Driving the Conversation Forward

Public health and safety organizations launch efforts to harmonize a pathway for federal cannabis legalization in the US.

Phoenix, AZ, November 9th- Foundation of Cannabis United Standards (FOCUS), in partnership with the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), have officially begun harmonizing the conversation around cannabis legalization in the United States. The two organizations embarked on this process Thursday, November 4th, 2021, by hosting the first in a series of webinars and organized communications about the recently proposed draft bill, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA). These efforts are designed to identify the myriad of holistic issues surrounding the harmonization of federal cannabis regulation. The goal is to create an inclusive, ongoing dialog that will ultimately produce a roadmap to legalization for the betterment of all stakeholders.

Today, AFDO and FOCUS are pleased to share the initial survey, designed as a starting point for soliciting feedback and understanding the priorities of different stakeholder groups. Survey responses will be collected through November 21st, 2021.  Participation is greatly encouraged, as the collected comments and feedback will set the agenda for follow-up webinars and the formal activities for developing the federal roadmap. Survey results will be analyzed and discussed on the second webinar on Monday, December 6th, at 1 pm Eastern. Registration can be found here.

In early 2022, AFDO and FOCUS will host the third webinar to unveil the strategy and program for continued engagement with federal and state cannabis regulatory officials, congress, and other cannabis stakeholders, including consumers and the CPG sector. In addition, the rest of the world is quickly developing national cannabis frameworks, creating the potential for massive supply and downstream demand issues that will greatly influence American cannabis stakeholders for decades to come.

Statement from FOCUS Founder Lezli Engelking:

“As a health and safety organization, FOCUS would be remiss, not to mention the considerable chasm federal cannabis legislation would cause if it does not prioritize health and safety while considering all of the different reasons Americans are already safely utilizing cannabis.  AFDO and FOCUS both represent the gold standard in their sectors: AFDO in food, drugs, and the manufacturing of all downstream products. FOCUS in the quality, health, and safety of all things cannabis. As independent, third-party organizations, AFDO and FOCUS serve as the core point between all industries cannabis touches are uniquely positioned to provide the solutions needed to enact effective and comprehensive federal legislation of cannabis. We look forward to working on this exciting project with all interested stakeholders.”

Statement from AFDO Executive Director, Steve Mandernach:

“AFDO has long been concerned about the impacts on public health resulting from a lack of policy and regulation of the cannabis and related industries. We are eager to start the conversation that leads to action-guiding and regulating the development of an already rapidly growing industry. Our goal is to ensure that conversation includes all stakeholders while addressing as many facets of the industry’s future as possible. Our actions have a long-term effect on the regulators across the country and the federal regulation that will guide their work.”


Since 1896, AFDO has united high-level regulatory officials, industry representatives, trade associations, academia, and consumer organizations. AFDO members strive to foster uniformity in adopting and enforcing science-based food, drug, medical device, and cosmetic products safety laws and regulations for improved public health.

Established in 2014 as The Cannabis Health and Safety Organization, FOCUS is a 501c3 non-profit that addresses the many shortcomings in quality, safety, and consistency that have become evident with the explosive growth of the global cannabis industry. FOCUS is not a cannabis company, an industry trade association, nor is FOCUS an advocacy organization. FOCUS is an unbiased, third-party with no financial stake in – or funding from – the cannabis industry. Instead, FOCUS exists to help assure the rapidly growing global cannabis industry has the necessary protections in place for health, safety, success, and welfare.  Our autonomy fosters a principled, objective organization that protects end-users and acts as the much-needed neutral, nonpartisan bridge between industry and regulatory. More on FOCUS can be found at focusstandards.org or by finding us on social media at @focusstandards on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Driving the Conversation Forward

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