Of all the challenges that the CBD industry faces the most potent and powerful is the Drug Enforcement Administration who all blanket cannabinoids as schedule 1 narcotics. This is based on assumption that all cannabinoids are extracted from a female cannabis sativa plant. However the CBD that is circulating the market in large is mostly from industrial hemp plants. The CBD being purchased from a state that does not have legal marijuana is being produced from these industrial hemp plants, which grow legally under federal and state law. They also limit who can do research on scheduled narcotics- currently allowing only one facility to grow and research cannabis, leaving limited access to information and possible realizations of the efficacy of cannabinoids.

The previous administration allowed for an expansion of research institutions for cannabis and the correlation of medical benefits. Unfortunately, the expansion did not carry over to the new administration in the United States. This has created public backlash, including law suits. A current case against the DEA states that they do not have authority to change laws, only enforce them- as implied in their own name. The DEA has made the new litigation confusing and broad, and this has caused concern for select retailers about carrying CBD. Some face fears of potential legal repercussions should enforcement be mandated under a specific interpretation due to lack of clarity and seemingly fluctuating legal stances.

The Food and Drug Administration is another hurdle for hemp businesses. The agency has sent out regulatory compliance letters to some of the CBD industry leaders for making claims that there are health benefits associated with the products. Any product that has not received FDA approval cannot make claims to cure or improve any medical conditions. While there is an abundance of information available at the tip of our fingers, the benefits have not been approved by the US government as viable. The only ones approved to make these claims are the few pharmaceutical companies that are doing FDA tests on patented CBD molecule products. They are using an isolated or synthesized molecule for different seizure disorders. While they are showing great results it is hindering the rest of the industry’s growth. The isolated molecule is shown to be less effective without associated terpenes and other cannabinoids, pushing the full plant extractions to the back burner for research.

With marijuana being federally illegal and CBD being left in an unknown legal status national level banks are more wary to work with the industry- which causes complications for both business owners and local economies. The banks are concerned about transferring money from hemp or marijuana from one state to another, as this is a violation of federal law. Many involved in the process have had to find other resourceful avenues. A large portion of the industry still works with cash only and many are looking into using crypto currency as its prominence also rises. However, the bank industry is beginning to find ways to legally work with hemp based businesses. It is a slow transition, but a very welcome one.

The industry will face many challenges as it grows, but there are groups here to help. Many members of congress, who need your support, are in the corner of the hemp industry. Now that hemp businesses are on the rise and public awareness grows, it is important that consumers and sellers alike share what knowledge they have to fight the fear that comes from misinformation. Ignorance of what is possible with hemp is one of the hardest obstacles to traverse. SVBS

Cameron Spinks has been a sales lead, social media director, and marketing manager for Stash CBD since its inception in July 2017. Previously he worked for a smoke and vape wholesaler. When he isn’t outside with his dog you can find him playing video games with his girlfriend to unwind. He can be contacted by email at [email protected] or on the website StashCBD.com.