On the eve of the FDA’s hearing on cannabis and cannabis-derived products, Ben & Jerry’s issued a press release announcing the potential for the company to bring “CBD-infused ice cream to your freezer.”
In the announcement, the company also indicates that it has submitted public comment in support of cannabidiol and calls upon its “fans” to contact the FDA during their open comment window, which comes to a close on July 2.
In a brief interview with Cannabis Wire, Chris Rivard, a Flavor Guru with Ben & Jerry’s who will take on development of CBD ice cream if and when doing so is permitted, said that the company was compelled to wade into the CBD market as it became an increasingly popular trend.
As a “fan-driven and experience-driven”company, said Rivard, Ben & Jerry’s is currently working on product development by asking questions like: “how are fans using CBD?” and “what would they like to put it into?”
Asked why Ben & Jerry’s encouraged its customers to contact the FDA, Rivard said while “the FDA can always use a push from the industry, it’s important for everyday consumers to be part of the conversation.”
It should be noted that the company has turned to customer engagement to advocate for cannabis policy reform in the past. For instance, a day before this year’s 4/20, it issued another statement highlighting the overrepresentation of white men in the cannabis industry, in contrast to racial disparities in arrest rates. In response, the company asked customers to join in on calling upon Congress to expunge prior cannabis convictions.
Rivard also underscored that, even though CBD is already widely available, Ben & Jerry’s will not include it as an ingredient “until the FDA says it’s legal and safe.” Once that occurs, he added, the company will still have a lot of work to do. A top-of-mind concern will be linking any future products to sustainable agricultural sources in Vermont.
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