Getting ahead in the CBD industry
A study by BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research projects that the market for CBD in the United States will exceed $20 billion a year by 2025. The respected marijuana market researchers believe that most CBD product sales will soon occur in general retail stores rather than cannabis dispensaries. As the market for CBD grows at an annual rate of 49 percent, there will be increasing numbers of jobs for managers with solid knowledge of cannabis. But what other specific job skills will make a job applicant stand out in the CBD industry?
CBD company managers and executives will need expertise in the distribution of food, cosmetic, and pet products, not just cannabis.
The old way of looking at cannabis was as marijuana that was smoked. The new way of looking at cannabis is as a source of potent, proven medicinal chemicals that can be consumed in an ever-increasing variety of forms. To get ready for these changes in the market for cannabis, while still focusing on the now-legal market for CBD, major companies are buying up makers and distributors of conventional consumer goods.
HeavenlyRx is an example of this vertical integration in the CBD industry. Just in 2019, HeavenlyRx has made four major acquisitions:
- 15 million shares for a 39 percent stake in Jones Soda, a maker of ready-to-drink lifestyle beverages sold at 7-11, Albertson’s, Kroger, Safeway, and Walmart.
- TruBrands, a Colorado-based maker of plant-fueled food products.
- Florida-based wellness company Airganics, which specializes in air purification and odor removal.
- A majority stake in Bluhen Botanicals, which grows hemp and makes CBD products in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The major players in the CBD market don’t just focus on promoting the health benefits of CBD. Their customers are already convinced. They invest in all the ways they can reach consumers with new and appealing packaging of CBD.
The major challenges facing the big players in the CBD market will be regulatory.
Hemp and CBD have become lawful, mainstream, and potentially heavily regulated products in the USA. Executive decision-making will focus on the kinds of claims the FDA will allow companies to make for their products, and the ways companies can present these claims on product labels. One mistake can result in the confiscation of an entire warehouse of product. A false claim can ruin the reputation of a product, a brand, or sometimes an entire company. Advertising and customer relations in the CBD industry will have to be science-driven and evidence-based.
There are very few schools or courses that teach the skills needed to manage claims, labeling, and relationships with the FDA and FTC. Most of the knowledge companies need to stay on the right side of consumer product laws is gained on the job. But simply being aware of the issues of labeling and advertising CBD products will give an applicant an edge in a job interview.
The secret to successful leadership in the CBD industry is embracing diversity.
CBD companies sometimes hire people who can relate colorful stories about law enforcement. They sometimes hire scientists who have never even touched marijuana (and whose research institutions would lose their grants if they did). CBD companies hire people with business experience in the “informal” marijuana market, people who have run mom-and-pop cannabis dispensaries, graduates of prestigious MBA programs, and community college dropouts. More than most other industries, CBD companies are open to talent however it comes to them.
Any future executive in the cannabis industry has to be able to work with a diversity of attitudes, experiences, concerns, and expectations. An MBA or a PharmD may be needed for some jobs. An ability to promote loyalty to a new product may be what is needed for others. But there is a niche for people of all experience levels, all educational levels, and all levels of engagement with cannabis in the booming CBD industry. Find the niche where you feel comfortable and hop on board!
Iris Dorbian. CBD Market Could Reach $20 Billion By 2024, Says New Study. Forbes.20 May 2019. forbes.com/sites/irisdorbian/2019/05/20/cbd-market-could-reach-20-billion-by-2024-says-new-study/#337b2f7649d0. Accessed 24 September 2019.