The Challenges of Breaking New Ground
CBD is an incredibly exciting molecule that is getting a lot of buzz lately. It has been used in foods, supplements, skincare products, beauty products, beverages, alcoholic drinks, and even pet care products. There are now over 1400 CBD brands in the market in the U.S. alone, and the CBD industry is expected to grow to $22 BILLION by 2022 — that is about the size of the craft beer market!
But, all of this growth also comes with some serious downsides. CBD from hemp only became legal federally as of December 20, 2018, with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Now the FDA is in charge of regulating CBD products for consumers, and to date, they have not come out with any guidelines or recommendations. So CBD manufacturers and retailers are operating in a bit of a gray zone, while waiting for the FDA to publish its guidance, which will likely take many months. Now both California and Texas say that they will create their own hemp derived-CBD laws, which will likely go into effect long before the FDA gets its act together.
In the meantime, CBD companies are operating with a lot of risk. As a plant based remedy platform, Plant Society has been super focused on CBD because we know there is a lot of confusion about its benefits and which products are safe and effective. We have been furiously testing and researching products, so that we can confidently recommend and sell the products we know work. We created an online shop to offer our customers a way to buy the products that have passed our tests. This is the ‘access’ part of our mission to empower others to lead a better life through plant remedies.
EDUCATION and ACCESS
Providing access is not as easy as we hoped though. In creating our online shop, we were rejected by payment processor Stripe, because we sell CBD. So we decided to use Paypal to process payments, and now have been suspended by them also, ostensibly because of CBD sales, and possibly because of content about marijuana (although we do not sell any marijuana). We were also not allowed to run any Facebook ads, or have a Facebook shop, Which makes it easy to purchase products directly from our Facebook or Instagram posts. So we now have to scramble to work with a payment provider that processes “high risk” products! All this, for totally legal products. You can imagine how much time is wasted fighting with these companies over their policies and trying to explain the law to them. The crazy thing is, there isn’t even a “them”. You are primarily dealing with automated replies to your inquiries, and any real person you get on the phone just says that “you don’t meet our vendor policies” but they can’t explain why, and are not empowered to make any decisions.
We know the challenges are even bigger for companies dealing with marijuana. The restrictions for opening a dispensary are almost insurmountable, particularly for a small business owner. A new dispensary owner is generally expected to spend in excess of $500,000, IF they can even get a license. This means that many of the founding players in the cannabis business are being pushed out by bigger companies with lots of cash.
There is a saying that “nothing worth doing is easy”, and that certainly applies in this marketplace. We have been blessed to work with some amazing clients, and partners who believe like we do in the power of plants, and that is what keeps us going. We know that the road is not going to straighten out quickly, but we are committed for the long haul. Too many of you have told us how powerful these medicines have been for you, and how they have allowed you to find relief, or get off of other medications, and for you we will continue!
In the short term, until we fix our payment situation, please email us directly if you would like to purchase a product and we will quickly get it mailed out to you! We can still process payments through Square (thank you Square!!) Thanks for hanging in there with us!