Marijuana Business Magazine September 2018

D r. Priyanka Sharma had a thriv- ing global business in chemical pharmaceuticals, traveling the world setting up factories extracting fish oil for nutritional supplements. But Sharma and her husband, Pulak, left their home outside Chicago and moved to Colorado for the same three letters that have cannabis entrepre- neurs, pharmaceutical companies and even mainstream grocers seeing dollar signs: CBD. If it seems as if you’re seeing CBD everywhere these days, you are. CBD products are in grocery stores, conveni- ence stores and chiropractic offices.The letters are splashed across storefronts even in the most cannabis-averse jurisdictions – places like Kansas and South Carolina. CBD also is grabbing headlines: In a landmark decision, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June approved a naturally derived CBD drug to treat two kinds of epilepsy. Unlike THC, cannabis’ most famous cannabinoid, CBD doesn’t intoxicate users but offers a tantalizing array of health benefits. It’s a proven anti- inflammatory agent and can bind to the body’s cannabinoid receptors to induce feelings of calm and relieve pain. Moreover, CBD offers much less regulatory and tax baggage than THC- laden marijuana – particularly if it’s derived from hemp, like the Sharmas’ CBD. Products containing CBD can be sold across state lines, for example, and are available in non-marijuana markets. And, in the case of hemp, growers are free of seed-to-sale tracking requirements and the onerous 280E sec- tion of the federal tax code. Throw in growing consumer interest in all things CBD, and it’s no surprise the market is exploding. “It’s kind of a movement,” Sharma said of the CBD market. “It’s like every- body wants to use CBD – from elderly people who have arthritis to young people who want to vape and want a recreational way to relax. It’s transcend- ing all age groups.” But navigating the CBD market has its own complexities, particularly if you’re coming from the marijuana industry. Selling CBD products, for starters, requires a different approach than marijuana retailing. Federal laws EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Cannabidiol, or CBD, is helping cannabis entrepreneurs take their businesses to new heights. That’s because the nonintoxicating cannabinoid is legal to produce in many states and offers an array of health benefits sought by consumers. A variety of factors are fueling the trend, although legal uncertainties and an explosion in CBD products cloud the horizon. Here’s the situation: • For the past 20 years, cannabis breeders have honed different strains to enhance CBD content. • Now, entrepreneurs from other industries are embracing CBD as a way to monetize the health benefits of cannabis, without the regulations associated with marijuana. • CBD products are popping up on the shelves of retailers that would never consider selling marijuana, but the boom in products has fanned worries the market may be overheating. • Retailers in states without legalized marijuana are offering a variety of CBD-infused products for seniors, athletes, pets and more. ON THE CAP¬TAL¬Z¬NG CBD SURGE Priyanka Sharma, CEO of CBD producer Kazmira, describes the company's work in the Watkins, Colorado-based laboratory. Photo by Matthew Staver 60 • Marijuana Business Magazine • September 2018