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How companies can prepare for doing business in the hemp age

 –  Contributing Writer

Researchers, manufacturers and retailers nationwide are crossing their fingers anticipating a fully-legalized future for marijuana and hemp-based products. Since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a small amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill that lifted the federal ban on hemp cultivation, hemp-derived products are now poised to spread throughout the country. 

Like it or not, the legal marijuana industry has arrived — and it’s likely to keep growing (pun intended). Companies everywhere, from banks and retailers to professional services and marketing agencies, must decide how they’ll work with these burgeoning businesses. 

Recently, Facebook mistakenly shut down some hemp companies' accounts. This is a wake-up call for your company to make appropriate preparations for the future of this budding industry. 

One of the companies Facebook’s erroneous purge affected was Joy Organics, makers of a line of hemp-based products sold throughout the U.S. The brand offers a suite of CBD and pharmaceutical-grade products with a wide range of uses. 

The passing of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp and production of CBD products nationwide. However, because the FDA still classifies CBD as a drug, Facebook determined that the Joy Organics page violated its terms of use. Facebook later restored the Joy Organics page after admitting it mistakenly flagged it. 

“We appreciate that those on Facebook’s policy team have recognized their mistake, and we hope they will rectify the situation quickly for all the CBD businesses that have been affected by this misunderstanding,” Joy Smith, Joy Organics founder, said in published reports. 

Companies promoting legal hemp and CBD products may see Facebook’s quick reversal as a victory in the fight for public acceptance. Still, Joy Organics and many others in the legal hemp and marijuana industry face a number of hurdles before the public fully embraces them. 

A legal hemp and cannabis future 

Whenever companies wish to navigate the murky waters of legal marijuana products, their brands must stay vigilant against public relations backlashes. One simple step in the wrong direction could lead to negative press, silenced social media accounts, loss of revenue and even a lawsuit. 

Before you take any action growing, selling or aiding the production of marijuana, hemp or CBD products, it’s critical you consult with legal advisers. If your company works alongside legal hemp and marijuana manufacturers or distributors, the onus is on you to tread lightly. While many are in favor of legal marijuana products, there still remains a staunch and vocal anti-weed minority with considerable sway on public perception. 

If your company places a primary focus on encouraging and providing products that are carefully regulated, transparently marketed and made of high-quality ingredients, it’s possible to overcome the naysayers. The legal marijuana industry is frequently misunderstood — that’s why it’s important for companies to position themselves as educators and cultivators of health-conscious product lines. 

With these recent legislative victories in mind, cannabis industry analyst the Brightfield Group predicts sales for hemp-based products will reach $22 billion by 2022. Some companies offering specific services to the legal hemp industry will also benefit, like video surveillance archivist Proactive Data Storage and Monitoring. The company saw its revenues quadruple in 2018, thanks to the inclusion of cannabis companies among its clientele. Experts also expect CBD products to make up a major portion of this nascent market. 

The federal prohibition on marijuana and hemp-based products is likely nearing its end. For companies everywhere to successfully capitalize on this new market, it’s paramount to prepare for the challenges that loom large on the horizon.