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The Week In Cannabis: Amazon Lobbies In DC, Colombia’s New Law, Big IPOs And More

Below is a recap of the main news related to the cannabis industry and markets for the week of July 19, 2021.

Contents

U.S. Surgeon General Bashes Prohibition

Amazon Lobbying For Cannabis

Colombia’s New Law

New York’s Cultivation Bill

India Globalization Capital

Top Stories Of The Week

Below is a recap of the main news related to the cannabis industry and markets for the week of July 19, 2021.

Listen and subscribe to Benzinga Cannabis Hour Podcast for news and exclusive interviews with Cannabis Industry executives.

U.S. Surgeon General Bashes Prohibition

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said on Sunday that he does not think there is value to incarcerating people for marijuana use and that science should be our guide in policymaking.

“When it comes to decriminalization, I don't think that there is value to individuals or to society to lock people up for marijuana use. I don't think that serves anybody well,” Murthy told host Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Dash asked Murthy if he supported, from a health perspective, the draft bill unveiled last week by Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to legalize cannabis at the federal level. Murthy replied that, when discussing marijuana, science should be at the forefront.

“I do think that, in terms of our approach to marijuana, I worry when we don't let science guide our process in policy-making,” Murthy said.

Benzinga Cannabis’ content is now available in Spanish on El Planteo.

“And we know the science tells us that there are some benefits to marijuana from a medical perspective but there are also some harms that we have to consider—and we have to put those together as we think about the right policy.”

Amazon Lobbying For Cannabis

In June, corporate giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) said it would adjust its outdated cannabis policy and told the world it will no longer test for marijuana for most of its job positions. The online retailer also declared its support for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act).

Having one of the largest companies in the U.S. openly supporting cannabis-related initiatives is an important milestone in and of itself. Now it turns out, there's more.

The Seattle-headquartered company is apparently trying to persuade other corporations and Congress to support federal cannabis legalization.

Based on a Politico report, several advocacy and industry groups such as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), and Canopy Growth (NYSE: CGC) reported having met with Amazon executives in June to talk about federal marijuana policy.

Many cannabis legalization advocates are now looking to Amazon, hoping the company “will take the next step and use its considerable D.C. muscle to help get [the initiatives] passed,” according to Politico.

Cannabis lobbyists in contact with Amazon have confirmed that the company has indeed gotten involved in the cannabis legalization debate in Washington, D.C. but whether the company is actively lobbying or monetarily backing the legislation is still unknown.

“I'm quite disappointed that we've really seen no movement whatsoever at the federal level,” said Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “I think that if Amazon were able to lend its political support to federal reform and fund state-level efforts, that would be a net positive for the cannabis reform movement in this country.”

Find out what’s in it for Amazon in this article.

Colombia’s New Law

Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez signed on Friday afternoon a law that would allow for larger amounts of dry cannabis flower to be exported from the country. The signing followed a meeting with the leading Colombian cannabis producers.

The new law also allows for cannabis to be utilized in industrial products including food and beverages and reduces the limitations around the marketing of cannabis products.

New York’s Cultivation Bill

New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney presented a cannabis cultivation bill that would enable farmers to start growing and selling cannabis prior to the official launch of the state's recreational marijuana program.

New York became the 15th state in the U.S. to legalize adult-use cannabis this March when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law. Setting up the rules and regulations for the state's comprehensive program could take anywhere from 18 months to two years, according to experts. This means the Empire State's recreational cannabis program could roll out as late as March 2023.

To accelerate the launch and help get the process rolling, Cooney introduced

Senate Bill S7295, which would create a recreational provisional cultivation license enabling growers to start planting their cannabis seeds prior to the formal launch of the program. Temporary licenses will allow businesses to operate in the event that the program's regulations are not completed by January 1, 2022. The rules and regulations are being worked out by the state's Office of Cannabis Management, a newly created department which, Cooney says is not fully functional nor currently operating.

Stocks were quite volatile. Over the five trading days of this week:

The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ): lost 0.3%.

The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO): tumbled 1.15%.

The AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF (NYSE: MSOS): fell 2.4%.

The Cannabis ETF (NYSE: THCX): was up 1.6%.

The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE: CNBS): declined 0.6%.

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the week up 1.94%.

Two cannabis-related companies, Clover Leaf Capital and Silver Spike, priced their IPOs.

Clover Leaf Capital Corp. (NASDAQ: CLOEU) closed its initial public offering of some 13,831,230 units at $10 per unit, raising more than $138 million.

Silver Spike Investment Corp. announced an initial public offering of 10.71 million shares with a price of $14.00 per share, pricing the offering at $150 million. The company applied to list on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol “SSIC.”

Acquiring Company

Acquired Company

Price

Conditions

Ayr Wellness Inc. (CSE: AYR) (OTC: AYRWF)

Stock, cash and debt deal

Herbal Remedies Dispensaries (Illinois)

Seller notes, stock and cash

High Tide Inc. (TSXV: HITI) (NASDAQ: HITI)

Sundial Growers Inc. (NASDAQ: SNDL)

Inner Spirit Holdings Ltd. (CSE: ISH) (OTCQB: INSHF)

30 cents in cash and 0.0835 of a common share of Sundial for each Inner Spirit share.

Southern Colorado Growers in Huerfano County, Colorado

GrowGeneration Corp. (NASDAQ: GRWG)

Mendocino Greenhouse and Garden Supply

Company

Lead Financier

Amount

Clever Leaves Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: CLVR)

Catalina LP, a division of SunStream Bancrop Inc., a joint venture initiative sponsored by Sundial Growers Inc. (NASDAQ: SNDL).

Body and Mind Inc. (CSE: BAMM) (OTCQB: BMMJ)

FocusGrowth Asset Management

Ayr Wellness (CSE: AYR) (OTCQX: AYRWF)

XS Financial Inc.

TILT Holdings Inc. (CSE: TILT) (OTCQX: TLLTF) subsidiary, Jupiter Research

Entrepreneur Growth Capital

Sproutly Canada, Inc. (CSE: SPR) (FRA: 38G) (OTCQB: SRUTF) posted its financial reports for the fiscal year ended February 2021, reporting net revenue of CA$316,424 ($247,871) compared to net revenue of $926,972 in the prior fiscal year. The company also disclosed net loss for the year of CA$16.41 million or CA$0.06 per share, versus a net loss of CA$61.61 million or CA$0.30 per share in the comparative period of the previous year.

Entourage Health Corp. (TSXV: ENTG) (OTCQX: WDDMF) (FSE: 4WE), which recently rebranded from WeedMD Inc., reported that its preliminary unaudited revenues amounted to $13.6 million in the second quarter.

Cannabis Strategic Ventures (OTC: NUGS) reported a significant boost in revenue in 2020. Consolidated revenue jumped 517% year-over-year to $14.6 million.

Red White & Bloom Brands Inc. (OTC: RWBYF) posted its fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 earnings with quarterly revenue of $15.7 million, up by 158% from $6.1 million in the third quarter of 2020.

POSaBIT Systems Corporation (CSE: PBIT) (OTC: POSAF) announced that its total revenue amounted to $5 million in the second quarter of 2021, representing a 232% year-over-year increase.

Find all the details on these and other earnings reports on Benzinga Cannabis’ Earnings Center.

Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) confirmed Wednesday that another independent proxy advisory firm is recommending that shareholders back all the company’s proposals at a special meeting scheduled for July 29. This time, the proxy advisory services company Glass Lewis also advised shareholders to vote in favor of the company’s dilution as well as other proposals.

The company previously released a proxy statement with an open letter from CEO Irwin D. Simon in which he called on shareholders to support proposals to be discussed up at the upcoming annual shareholders meeting.

Some two weeks later, Tilray announced that Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), an independent proxy advisory firm, recommended Tilray shareholders approve the company’s propositions.

India Globalization Capital

India Globalization Capital, Inc. (AMEX: IGC) obtained a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The patent (#11,065,225) is named “Ultra-Low dose THC as a potential therapeutic and prophylactic agent for Alzheimer’s Disease.”

The Potomac, Maryland-based cannabis company noted the initial patent submission was filed by the University of South Florida in August 2016. The following year in May, IGC signed an exclusive agreement with the University in relation to the patent application and connected research on Alzheimer’s disease.

The obtained patent is related to the company’s proprietary formulation – IGC-AD1, which is earmarked to assist in the treatment of patients with Alzheimer’s. The formulation is the subject of IGC’s Phase 1 clinical trial.

TPCO Holding Corp. (NEO: GRAM.U) (OTCQX: GRAMF), which is doing business as The Parent Company, announced the launch of a shoppable app for iPhone users.

Gage Growth Corp. (CSE: GAGE) is expanding its retail presence in Michigan by opening two new dispensaries.

The company is also teaming up with Pure Beauty to launch a new line of cannabis products in Michigan.

Ayurcann Holdings Corp. (CSE: AYUR) is poised to list its shares on the OTCQB, a U.S. market operated by OTC Markets Group Inc. in New York.

Jushi Holdings Inc. (CSE: JUSH) (OTCQX: JUSHF) announced that it's ready to become a U.S. domestic issuer under U.S. securities laws. With more than 50% of its issued and outstanding subordinate voting shares owned by shareholders of record domiciled in the United States on June 30, 2021, the Boca Raton, Florida-based company is no longer deemed a "foreign private issuer."

CV Sciences (OTCQB: CVSI) released the results of a preclinical study that suggests that CBD can reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms in smokeless tobacco users. The study, conducted in collaboration with researchers from the University of California, San Diego and published on Springer Nature, found that CBD prevented nicotine-dependent rats from exhibiting withdrawal symptoms including increased pain sensitivity and weight gain during short-and long-term nicotine restriction.

MyJane’s president Hélène Blanchette won the Vanguard Media Online, "Woman of the Year" Award for 2021. The award was granted to recognize Hélène's extraordinary efforts and contributions within the cannabis industry, overall leadership and consistent mission in helping and empowering women.

How to Sell CBD Online 2022 | 7 Simple Steps

It seems that CBD (cannabidiol) is suddenly everywhere you look. Health stores, high streets, pharmacies, and even coffee shops are all excitedly stocking their shelves with CBD products. It’s a craze that’s quickly gathered momentum, and is set to keep growing over the coming years.

It’s been forecast that the CBD market in the US alone will exceed a whopping $20 billion by 2024 – so if you’re looking for an opportunity in a growing market, you’re in the right place to get in on this CBD revolution.

But selling CBD comes with its own unique set of challenges – especially if you’re selling online.

To help you set up your budding CBD business for success, we’ve put together this extensive guide to walk you through the tips and trip-ups that every CBD seller should know. We’ll ask important questions like “What is CBD?” and “Is it legal?” before walking you through the seven steps to setting up your own CBD online store:

How to Sell CBD Online – 7 Simple Steps

  1. Do the research
  2. Pick your products
  3. Choose a reliable CBD provider
  4. Start creating a brand
  5. Build your online store
  6. Set up payments
  7. Market your CBD products

We’ll also give you an insider tip on the most common CBD mistakes to avoid, and offer advice from experts who’ve been through it all themselves.

If you’re ready to become part of a global, lucrative, and sometimes controversial movement, then read on and get ready to start your own CBD online business!

Now seems like a good time to point out that this article is primarily aimed at US sellers.

CBD laws in other regions may differ from the information given in this guide, so double check your local legislation before launching your business.

We’re not lawyers here at Website Builder Expert – we’re more into techy stuff – so please always seek legal advice to check your CBD business is all above board. Happy CBD selling!

What Is CBD?

Let’s start with the basics, because there’s a lot of confusion and misunderstanding around what CBD actually is. CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the main ingredients of cannabis – but don’t let that put you off.

CBD isn’t psychoactive – that means it’s not responsible for any of the “high” symptoms associated with cannabis (like paranoia or euphoria). The ingredient of cannabis that causes those symptoms is called THC.

You can get CBD from both hemp and marijuana plants. This guide will focus on hemp-derived CBD, because it contains much less THC – around 0.3%, which is the legal limit allowed when selling CBD products (we’ll cover the legal side of selling CBD next).

Why Do People Use CBD?

So, why is CBD so popular? Well, people believe it has medical benefits without the negative side effects that come with THC. These benefits include helping to:

  • Relieve pain
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Relieve anxiety and depression
  • Ease migraines and nausea
  • Decrease seizures

There are plenty of different CBD products available. The main types include:

  • CBD tinctures – place a couple of drops under the tongue.
  • Edible CBD products – such as CBD infused chocolate, or adding it to coffee!
  • CBD creams – applied directly to the skin to help with inflammation or arthritis.
  • CBD capsules – tablets are a fast and familiar way of taking CBD.
  • CBD isolates – “purified” CBD that has been turned into a powder.
  • CBD vaporizers – vaping delivers quick results, and is a popular method of taking CBD.
  • CBD patches – similar to nicotine patches, this gradually releases CBD into the body.
  • CBD for pets – our four-legged friends can benefit from CBD, too!

That’s quite a list, and it’s barely scratched the surface of all the ways CBD can be taken. Nasal sprays, lollipops, and CBD oil-infused candles are just three examples of how you can get creative within these product categories.

Okay, so CBD won’t get you high, and there’s a wide range of product types to choose from. But is anyone actually reaching into their pockets to buy CBD products? What if this is just a passing craze?

Unfortunately, we can’t see into the future, but all signs and statistics are pointing towards CBD becoming a booming industry. The Farm Bill, passed in December 2018, has been largely responsible for the surge in CBD sales.

The bill allows farmers to legally grow hemp, opening the door for the CBD market to boom…

…and boom it did!

For starters, the US CBD market saw a growth of 562% from 2018 to 2019, and it doesn’t seem to be tiring after such an explosive sprint off the starting blocks.

As many as 14% of Americans say they use CBD. Treating pain was the biggest reason given, with anxiety the second most common cause for turning to CBD products.

Is CBD Legal?

A lot of the confusion around CBD is to do with the legalities of selling, buying, and using it. So we’ve picked out the key things you should know about the legal side of selling CBD online.

The first thing to make clear is that, yes, CBD is federally legal in the USA, as long as it meets certain requirements.

It is federally legal to sell hemp-derived CBD in the US, as long as it only contains up to 0.3% THC. If your CBD product contains more than 0.3% THC, it is legally defined as marijuana – not something you want to be selling!

Despite this, you do need to be careful – or at least mindful – about how you approach selling CBD online.

For one, different states have different rules and restrictions around CBD, and don’t always match up with the federal law. Because of this, you must always check your local legislation to make sure you’re not breaking any rules.

For example, some states require CBD to have 0% THC rather than 0.3%, and in a few states any CBD is still illegal.

Aside from always checking your state’s laws, there are two main things to know:

1. You can’t make medical claims about CBD

We know, this seems designed specifically to trip up CBD sellers. While the main reason most people use CBD is for its medical benefits, you can’t make grand medical claims when selling CBD products.

This is because CBD hasn’t been officially researched or approved by the FDA – until more is known about the effects of CBD, you simply can’t make claims about its medical benefits.

For example, you shouldn’t advertise on your website that your products can help prevent or cure serious illnesses like cancer or Alzheimer’s. Be careful about what you’re promising your customers, and always ask yourself what evidence you have to back up these claims.

Like many other natural drugs, CBD can interfere with other medications, which is why it’s especially important to be careful with your marketing. In short, you can sell CBD, but you can’t start promising to treat people with it.

2. US sellers should avoid CBD edibles

While CBD edibles are legal in other countries like the UK, and are a familiar sight on US shelves, they’re actually illegal under US law. The FDA has banned adding CBD to food and drink under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Until that changes – if it ever does – it’s best to avoid selling CBD edibles if you’re based in the US. Some companies market their CBD products as “dietary supplements” – do not do this. (You’ll get in trouble).

Instead, pick a CBD product that doesn’t involve food, drink, or diet, and sell safe in the knowledge that your business is totally above board.

Find out more
  • If you want to sell supplements, check out our guide on How to Start an Online Supplement Store instead!

CBD Dos and Don’ts

We realize that we’ve already given you a lot of information, and haven’t even started on the steps to setting up your business yet!

The upside to selling CBD is that it’s a fast-growing market, but you do have to be switched on to make the most of it. We want your CBD business to be a success, and to do that, you need to ensure you’re selling safely for both you and your customers.

Here’s a helpful list to remind you of the key CBD dos and don’ts – now is the perfect time to grab a cup of coffee and a slice of cake, before settling in for our seven steps to CBD success!

Do:

✔️Check local state laws before selling

✔️Source tested and high quality CBD for your products

✔️Label your products clearly and provide certification

✔️Understand how CBD works and carry out in-depth research

✔️Build a trustworthy brand for your CBD business

Don’t:

Sell CBD that contains more than 0.3% THC

Make medical health claims about your products

Use an unreliable or unofficial CBD supplier

Be careless when choosing a payment processor or website builder

Take risks that could affect your business or your customers

#1. Do the Research

You’ll have realized by now that selling CBD comes with a lot of important, and often confusing, information that you need to stay on top of.

Before you set up your business, make sure you know CBD inside and out. Understanding your product and becoming a bit of an expert in what you’re selling is crucial for long-term success.

It’ll help you navigate the rules and regulations a lot easier if you know your isolate CBD from your full spectrum CBD, it’ll help you make more confident sales decisions, and it’ll even help you provide a better service for your customers.

While you can’t make medical claims about CBD, customers will value your advice on which product they should choose, how to best use the product, and information on your product such as the extraction process used.

Knowing your products inside and out can help you to build a loyal customer base and add value to your brand in an increasingly saturated market.

  • Understood exactly what CBD is
  • Carried out research to get to grips with the industry

#2. Pick Your Products

This is the fun part where you get to pick which CBD products you want to sell through your online store!

Here’s a quick recap of the main CBD product categories:

The 3 Types of CBD

When deciding on your products, you’ll also have to choose which type of CBD to sell. There are three main types of CBD, with many arguments for using each. You’ll need to pick the type that best suits your needs – click on the plus icons below to find out more about each one.

CBD Isolate

CBD Isolate is the purest form of CBD, meaning that there are no other compounds or ingredients present in the end product. This is usually extracted from hemp plants. This is good for customers wanting to mix their own CBD products at home.

Full Spectrum CBD

Full Spectrum CBD contains everything that’s originally and naturally found in the plant, such as other cannabinoids and essential oils. These compounds work together to enhance the effects of the CBD product – often called the “entourage effect”.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad Spectrum CBD is a sort of compromise between Isolate and Full Spectrum CBD, where all natural compounds are left in the product – except for THC, which is completely removed. This still delivers the desired “entourage effect”, without the presence of THC.

As always, when deciding on which products to sell, you should look for opportunities within the market.

For example, CBD for pets is on the rise, with over half of CBD users expressing interest in trying CBD infused pet products. If that’s not enough, CBD pet products earned $9.4 million in four states between 2018 and 2019 – so finding products within this category could work well.

Remember that US sellers should avoid CBD edibles because of the current law.

Finding a niche is always important when starting a business, but with more and more CBD products popping up in stores and online, a strong niche is essential if you want your CBD business to succeed long-term.

Here are some tips for picking a profitable product niche:

  • Carry out market research using tools such as Google Keyword Tools and UberSuggest to understand what people are searching for online.
  • Perform competitor research to understand what other brands are doing within your niche or industry. Look at their social media, content, products, and customer profiles to get an insight into how and why they’re doing well.
  • Dig out some data to try and predict what’s going to be hot, rather than only focusing on what has been hot. Or, target products which perform consistently well – aim to combine longevity with profitability.

There are a few factors which could affect your research – the main one being how young the industry is. Because of this, there isn’t much hard data out there to help guide your decisions.

To combat this, try to gain a thorough understanding of the market as it is, and use this to direct your approach. Listen to customers and what they want; use your own imagination and identify gaps in the market; find problems that only you can solve.

  • Decided which type of CBD you want to use
  • Narrowed down the products you want to sell
  • Identified a niche in the market
  • Researched opportunities within the industry

#3. Choose a Reliable CBD Supplier

This is arguably one of the most important things you can do for your CBD online store – find a trustworthy, high quality CBD supplier.

This will affect everything from the quality to the legality of your products, as well as customer trust in your business.

Because of the boom in the CBD industry, sellers and suppliers have sprung up everywhere – and some are more reputable than others. Some products have been found to contain no CBD at all, while others have worryingly high (not to mention illegal) levels of THC.

Growing and extracting your own CBD is next to impossible, so here are some things to look out for when choosing a supplier…

1. Extraction Methods

The way that the CBD is extracted from the hemp plant affects the quality of the final product. Make sure that your supplier uses a clean extraction method – the best one is CO2 extraction, which produces a purer product.

Petroleum-based extraction is a common (and cheaper) method – however, it uses harsh chemicals like butane and propane, which can affect the final product (and not in a good way).

2. Growing Standards

Hemp plants are particularly partial to soaking in nutrients from the soil around them, but if there are harmful substances present, then they get absorbed too. This means that pesticides, plastics, or other toxins can have an especially negative impact on the quality of both the plant and the CBD extracted from the plant.

Check out the growing standards of any potential supplier to make sure they maintain clean growing conditions.

3. Medical Claims

If a supplier’s website is making grand medical claims about their CBD, consider that a huge red flag and stay away.

The FDA will crack down on companies making medical claims about CBD, so be careful that neither you, nor your supplier, are misleading your customers.

4. Testing

Your supplier must absolutely have strict testing in place to ensure the high quality of their products.

They should also send the products away for third-party testing, and readily present any certificates or reports from these tests. You should check these reports for an unbiased analysis of the potency of the product, as well as for confirmation that there are no contaminants present.

From the Experts

Kristina Spionjak, Marketing Director, London Canna Group

“What do you test your products for? Residual solvents? Microbials? Moulds? Cannabinoids and terpenes? Pesticides? Heavy Metals? Potency?

Ideally your tests should be comprehensive, and cover all the above for each batch of your products.”

If a supplier is unwilling to share these results, go elsewhere – it’s possible their products are not high quality. Some suppliers even disguise hemp seed oil as CBD, so don’t fall for it!

5. Certification

If you’re worried about picking a subpar supplier, then the safest way to ensure high quality is to look through the list of US Hemp Authority certified companies. This certification program aims to provide high standards, best practices, and self-regulation in order to help consumers find CBD sellers they can trust.

There are over 60 certified companies on the list, and some offer wholesale as well as selling directly to the public. Picking a supplier with an official certification is a great way of gaining consumer trust, while also giving yourself peace of mind over the quality of your products.

  • Found a list of trustworthy CBD suppliers
  • Thoroughly researched potential CBD suppliers
  • Chosen a vetted, certified supplier for your business

#4. Start Creating Your Brand

It can be hard to stand out in the CBD market – and it can be even harder to win customer trust and loyalty. Building a brand will help you stand apart from competitors, connect with your customers, and create a strong identity to market your products with.

1. Identify Your Target Audience

You can’t sell CBD online without knowing who you’re selling to. Understanding your target audience is essential for building your brand, because it’ll influence a lot of your decisions.

Think about what products you’re selling and who they would appeal to. Perhaps there’s a customer group that nobody is catering for yet? Or maybe you have a specialism that you can use to benefit a particular audience?

A recent study found that over 80% of 18 to 34 year-olds are aware of CBD products – but that currently only 36% have tried (or are interested in trying) CBD. Drilling into statistics like these can help to guide your branding and identify who might have an appetite for your products.

Whether you’re selling CBD to Millennials, mums, or dog lovers, you need to step into their shoes and get inside their heads. Start by searching social media, creating customer profiles, and even conducting surveys to learn more about your target audience.

Knowing your target audience pays off – 78% of consumers believe that brands focused on custom content are more trustworthy, and more interested in building good relationships.

2. Choose a Business Name

Once you know your target audience and brand values, you can tailor your business name to make your brand more appealing. A great way to get started is with a free business name generator – such as Namelix or Shopify’s naming tool – which gives you multiple options.

72% of the best brand names are created with made up words or acronyms, so don’t be afraid to get creative!

3. Create a Logo

You don’t have to be a designer to create a logo – instead, start off with a logo generator like TailorBrands. Using professional tools like this can help to inspire your imagination, or even give you a perfect logo design right there and then.

It only takes visitors 10 seconds to form an impression of your logo – so no pressure!

Psst! You can save 25% on any Tailor Brands plan with our exclusive discount code!

That’s right, Website Builder Expert readers can get 25% off their chosen Tailor Brands plan with our special discount code. Simply enter the code WBE25 at checkout to save 25% on your very own professional logo!

Do You Want to Save 25% On Your Logo?
Find out more

Discover How to Make a Logo along with the best logo makers in our helpful guide

Learn more about what a professional logo generator has to offer in our Tailor Brands Review

4. Find Your Tone of Voice

Don’t forget the importance of your brand’s voice. This is the way you talk to your customers, write content for your website, describe your products, answer emails, and post on social media.

Your tone of voice should speak to your target audience – use natural language that your customers connect and feel comfortable with. Your tone of voice should also be consistent across your business – consistent branding across all channels can increase revenue by 23%!

Find out more

Our guide on Writing for the Web walks you through the dos and don’ts of engaging your online audience

5. Pick Your Color Scheme

The right color scheme can increase brand recognition by up to 80%, and using color psychology you can even tell people about your brand without saying a word.

You’ll often see the color green in CBD marketing. It makes sense – green represents nature, renewal, relaxation, and safety, making it an obvious choice for CBD sellers. Even if you don’t choose green as a primary color for your brand, you could use it in images or to highlight call to action buttons.

Other colors you might want to consider for your branding include blue, which inspires trust and is used by 33% of the world’s 100 most well known brands, and purple, which has a calming effect and is often used to market beauty products.

If you’re unsure where to start, try out a free color scheme generator like Coolors.co to get inspired.

Find out more

Learn more about color psychology, primary and secondary colors, and much more in our extensive guide on How to Choose a Good Color Scheme

Once you’ve got these building blocks for your brand, you can start to build a website for your business!

  • Started building a brand for your business
  • Chosen a business name
  • Created a logo
  • Found your tone of voice
  • Picked out your color scheme

#5. Build Your Online Store

Usually, online sellers need to decide where to sell online. However, selling CBD online comes with restrictions, meaning you can’t sell through popular channels such as Amazon, eBay, or Etsy.

Because of this, building your own online store is the best option for CBD success!

There are still decisions to be made, though – starting with how to build your website. And you can’t just pick any old website builder, because a lot of them have restrictions around selling CBD. We’ve picked out the top three ecommerce builders for you to check out:

BigCommerce

BigCommerce became the first full-featured ecommerce platform to support CBD sellers in August last year, with the launch of its CBD sales suite. A member of the National Hemp Association, BigCommerce is leading the way when it comes to supporting CBD sellers’ online success. It won’t charge transaction fees either, unlike other platforms such as Shopify.

BigCommerce Savings Heads Up: Get 1 Month Free

Right now BigCommerce is running a limited-time offer for new customers that we thought you should know about. Simply start its 15-day free trial today to get one month free when you pick your premium plan!

“For new CBD sellers you should make sure the platform you are choosing has legal requirements in place required to sell CBD products. Also, that they offer different high-risk payment options that cater to the industry instead of forcing you into their own or preferred solution.

In August of 2019 BigCommerce officially launched their CBD offering to merchants – although BigCommerce had merchants in the CBD industry well ahead of 2019. To date, BigCommerce is approaching 1,000 merchants on the platform that are considered to be in the CBD industry. This includes everything from small retailers to some of the largest manufacturers and distributors in the world like Green Roads and CBDistillery.

Our CBD offering is based off our core platform and offers all the features and tools most merchants need. That being said, our CBD offering provides specialized solutions such as industry specific payment and shipping options that cater to the industry.”

Find out more

Read our BigCommerce Review to find out more about this ecommerce powerhouse

Shopify

This is a popular ecommerce builder that we’ve tested thoroughly – in fact, we found it was the best online store builder on the market. Shopify greenlit CBD sales last year, meaning that CBD sellers can now make full use of its impressive and easy to use sales platform.

“Hemp-derived CBD is one of the hottest new product categories we’re seeing in the beauty and wellness industries. As regulated products like hemp-derived CBD become available in retail, brands need a strong, trustworthy suite of tools to sell and manage their business successfully. Shopify is uniquely positioned to support this based on our experience with CBD retailers in Canada and our ability to provide a customizable and secure platform.”

Find out more

Is Shopify right for you? Find out in our detailed Shopify Review

WooCommerce with WordPress.org

If you have the time and technical confidence, WordPress is a powerful platform to build your online CBD store with – especially if you use the WooCommerce plugin. It’s fully customizable and gives you total control over your store – although the flip side of this is that it’ll take a while to set up, and takes a lot more time and effort to maintain.

Once you’ve chosen your platform, you can set about building your store. Remember to integrate your carefully chosen color scheme, business name, and logo onto your site, and make sure all your design choices are consistent with your brand.

Here’s a quick run-down of the key steps to follow when building your online store:

  1. Pick a theme – this will outline the design and layout of your store, so pick one that you really love. You can replace the example content to really make it your own!
  2. Add your products – upload product photos and enter product details into your store’s dashboard, so that they appear on your website.
  3. Write content – welcome your visitors with some copy! Examples of content you might want to write include the homepage, an About Us page, and product descriptions.
  4. Connect social channels – integrate your website with your social channels, such as Facebook and Instagram. This will help grow your business’ online presence.
  5. Set up shipping – if you’re storing and shipping your own products, you need to sort out your shipping settings. This includes shipping regions, fees, and couriers.

Remember that transparency and trust are key factors in building a successful CBD business. Here’s a list of some important things to have on your website:

  • A disclaimer stating that your products aren’t intended to cure, prevent, or diagnose diseases, and that any medical statements have not been FDA approved. A banner at the bottom of every page is a good idea.
  • An FAQ section answering common and important questions, such as “What are the active ingredients in your products?” and “How much THC is in your products?”
  • Contact details that are easy to find – put them loudly and proudly on your homepage. This will help customers get in touch with any questions they might have about your products.
  • Certification – if you have a Certificate of Analysis from your manufacturer, make it available on your site. This will inspire trust and signal quality.

We recommend checking out the Charlotte’s Web website as inspiration for how to check all these boxes!

  • Decided which ecommerce builder to use
  • Started building your online store
  • Checked that you’re including important information on your site

#6. Set Up Payments

Setting up payments is an essential part of building your online store – it’s so important that we thought it deserved its own section!

You should pick the right payment processor for you and your business before publishing your store. This can be tricky, because CBD is classed as “high risk” – meaning there are restrictions around accepting online payments for CBD products.

For example, PayPal and Stripe are just two popular payment processors that won’t accept payments from CBD sellers. This means that you need to put in a little more time finding a high-risk payment processor that will best assist you.

Woah! Why is CBD classed as high-risk?

CBD is described as high risk in the payment processing world, because it’s still a very new industry. It hasn’t been around too long, meaning that it’s more likely to experience credit card fraud.

There’s also the current confusion and grey areas around the legalities of CBD to consider – it’s understandable that payment processors might want to wait until the industry settles down before they start accepting payments from CBD sellers. This way, they can protect themselves from changes in laws and regulations.

“The two biggest challenges for CBD sellers are the legal guidelines for selling CBD products and payments. BigCommerce has a CBD Playbook that will take you through the legal nuances of selling CBD products and what to know and look out for as you begin selling online. BigCommerce also offers a handful of high risk payment options for you to choose from and guides you on the pros and cons of the different choices.”

To save you time, we’ve gathered together five examples of highly recommended CBD payment processors to get you started:

  1. USAePay
  2. PaymentCloud
  3. SMB Global
  4. Easy Pay Direct
  5. PayKings

You might be wondering, what makes a good CBD payment processor? Well, here are three things to look out for…

1. High-Risk Experience

Your payment processor will need to be experienced in handling high-risk transactions – this is important, as you need to know that you’re protected from fraudsters. A good way to find out if a payment processor has this experience is to look at what other industries they cater for.

Look out for online dating, gaming, and pharmaceuticals, as these are all high-risk industries.

2. Customer Support

Nobody wants to deal with the ins and outs of payment processing issues on their own, so make sure that your chosen company has first rate customer support, just in case.

It’s worth remembering that your customers will also be dealing with your payment processor – if they ask for a chargeback, for example. Ask your processor what happens in cases of disputes and how they handle tricky requests, and test out their customer service team if you can.

There’s a good chance that your processor’s customer service will affect your customers’ opinion of your business – make sure they offer 24/7 support as standard.

3. Integrations

You want a payment processor that will easily integrate with your online store.

One of the good things about platforms such as BigCommerce is that they have integrations with dozens – sometimes hundreds – of payment processors. This makes setting up and connecting the processor to your online store much easier.

At the end of the day, you want to get paid for all your hard work and effort, so don’t rush this step – take the time to find your perfect payment processor before publishing your store.

  • Researched various payment processors
  • Checked potential payment processors match up to the criteria listed above
  • Chosen a suitable processor and connected it to your online store

#7. Market Your CBD Products

Once you’ve published your online store, you need to get people visiting your site and adding products to their baskets. It’s time to see all that hard work pay off and watch the sales come rolling in!

There’s still one last bit of hard work left, though – this is the last step, so gather up your energy as we walk you through marketing your CBD online store.

The not-so-good news is that you can’t use traditional marketing methods such as Google, Facebook, or Instagram adverts. This means you’ve got to get creative in marketing your products.

From the Experts

Kristina Spionjak, Marketing Director, London Canna Group

Once you know which category your products fall under, there are several things you can and should do to market your products and generate trust among your consumers:

Display your certificate of origin.
Do you know where all ingredients are coming from?

Show your lab results for every batch of products.
Your lab results should be publicly visible on your product pages

Explain your extraction methods.
It’s worth explaining your extraction process in your marketing materials,
so the consumer can make a conscious and educated decision on choosing what is right for them.

Transparency and integrity are key in communicating CBD products to consumers. Do it right, and you will have loyal customers.”

1. Bloggers and Influencers

Do you have a favorite CBD blog or Instagram influencer? Do you think your products would appeal to them or their audience? If so, you might want to give this marketing tactic a go!

This marketing approach can be especially effective if you’re targeting a younger demographic – 87% of Millennials and Gen Zs feel neutral or favorable towards CBD brands and influencers.

Do some research and find blogs that suit your brand – perhaps they review CBD products on a regular basis, or maybe they write for a particular audience that your products would appeal to. Get in touch and offer to send them free samples in exchange for a fair review.

When looking for influencers, you can either connect with influencers who already promote CBD products, or you can get in touch with Instagrammers who you think might be open to promoting your products.

This is a tactic that Tom Bourlet, owner of the blog CBD Sloth, recommends:

“One clear stumbling block for many is how to reach their audience. You cannot sell CBD via Amazon or eBay. You cannot advertise it through Facebook or Instagram ads. It’s also not allowed on Google ads or Bing ads, so you quickly start seeing your avenues to the customer limited. Utilising influencers or bloggers is a popular option, such as my blog CBD Sloth… I’ve got a pile of 30 products on my table needing reviews!”

2. Content

Did you know that just over half of businesses rely on content marketing as a branding strategy?

This is where that CBD expertise from step one, “Do Your Research”, comes in handy. Share your knowledge in blog posts and videos to engage your audience and grow your following – this in turn will get your products in front of more people.

Not to mention, it does wonders for helping your site rank on Google.

If you’re unsure of the sort of content you could create, here are some good places to start:

  • Informative articles – such as “CBD 101” or “What Is CBD?”
  • Interviews with experts or other CBD sellers.
  • Helpful guides – like this one!
  • Product guides or information – such as “How to take CBD oil effectively.”
  • Guest posts – where other people write articles for your blog.
Find out more

Learn How to Start a Blog in 2020 with our complete beginner’s guide

3. SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about optimizing your site to reach the number one spot in Google’s search results. Getting as close to the top of those rankings is vital for gaining more traffic – after all, when was the last time you scrolled to the bottom of the results page?

By using keywords, linking to other pages as well as your own, structuring pages using headings, compressing images, and more, you can help your site climb the rankings.

From the Experts

Tom Bourlet, Owner of CBDSloth

“The search terms around CBD are incredibly high, and are only increasing with time – therefore, building a strong presence on Google should be pivotal to your website building strategy.

Creating a clear content strategy is critical, but you also have to be wary of the Medic Update by Google, which actually hit a lot of brands which were offering medical advice (including CBD brands).

Therefore, you must be careful with your wording, and try to utilise medical professionals to write the content where possible (with their qualifications highlighted within the article) along with links to reputable sources.”

4. Trade Shows

If the very thought of navigating the digital world of SEO gives you a headache, then attending CBD trade shows might be more up your street.

This is a highly effective way of building contacts while also allowing you to learn new things, forge business relationships, check out the competition, and market your products.

Examples of popular trade shows include NoCo Hemp Expo and the USA CBD Expo.

5. Email Marketing

Did you know that acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than keeping an existing one? This is where email marketing shines – it keeps your current visitors interested and coming back for more!

Email marketing is an effective way of keeping your customers engaged – you can send loyalty rewards such as discounts, or alert email subscribers of sales ahead of time to make them feel valued.

You can also make use of abandoned cart recovery, a feature that sends emails to customers who have abandoned their order at checkout. You can personalize these emails, or include discounts to draw shoppers back to your store.

BigCommerce has found that its Abandoned Cart Saver feature automatically recovers 15% of lost sales on average!