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How to Shake Up the CBD Industry

If you sell CBD products at your store, you probably understand, for the most part, how the products work and how to talk about them to customers, but how much do you really understand about where your product comes from? Does “full-spectrum” mean the same to one brand as it does to the next? Is that really a fair price?

Demystifying the CBD Industry

Walker Patton, Corporate Development at Green Light Solutions, first got into the game growing hemp—or, at least, trying to.

“It turns out it’s hard to grow good, high CBD hemp,” Patton laughs. “After we realized we didn’t have the right product, we had to go find farmers that did grow good hemp, and we became hemp brokers.”

Through the process, Patton learned to tell the good from the bad and really dug his claws into the industry. That was in 2018, and industrial hemp could sell for up to $750 per kilogram, but when the COVID-19 pandemic rolled across the world, some saw prices as low as $150 per kilogram, so Patton knew he had to switch gears again and it was then he had his light bulb moment: the price of hemp had fallen dramatically, but the price of the products was staying the same.

“I started running the numbers and figured out that, basically, CBD is not that expensive—it’s usually the least expensive ingredient in the product,” he says.

He and his team saw an opportunity to not only sell quality CBD at a fair price but to turn the whole market on its head.

“When a market is built for the manufacturers and not the consumer or retailer then that’s something we want to turn on its head,” he says.

Everyone On the Same Page

After talking to customers and retailers, Patton saw the need for a high-quality product at consumer-friendly prices, but most of all he saw the disconnect between manufacturers and retailers—they don’t even call it the same thing!

When hemp or cannabis plants are sent for extraction, the first pass leaves about 50% to 60% CBD, called “crude” by manufacturers. This thick oil can be processed further into what is known as “winterized crude” after the lipids and waxes are removed, bringing it up to 60% to 75% pure CBD. At this point, it’s what most retailers likely know as full-spectrum CBD, meaning it still has its full-spectrum cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Further processing might make it something else like a distillate or isolate.

Does that sound confusing? Imagine how your customer feels.

“For the longest time, I’ve seen the role of retailers as educators,” Patton says. “They can help standardize the language.”

Shaking Things Up

While LoFi isn’t the first on the market, Patton isn’t scared to be the one shaking up the industry.

“The most important thing we can accomplish here is to shift the narrative around CBD,” he says. “Let’s be clear that CBD is not an expensive ingredient.”

As science and research catch up, Patton just wants to help others in the industry thrive, as well as deliver a quality product.

“When it comes to business, there is short-term thinking and long-term thinking,” he says. “I’m more interested in: how do I build something that creates value for the people who matter in this industry, and build to make things better for everyone? It’s a more interesting problem to solve and helps more people, so I would rather spend time doing that.”

Tags: Canada Cannabis (138), Cannabis Retail Store (47), CBD hemp (1), CBD industry (1), CBD manufacturing (1), CBD products (1), full-spectrum cannabis (2), Green Light Solutions (2)