Here We Go Again
The merry-go-round of cannabis regulation continues to spin and this time, it sure looks like the FDA is about to drop the hammer on CBD. Leaders of the agency’s cannabis regulation efforts have been raising concerns about the safety of CBD and want to do more testing on its long-term effects. They claim they want to modify the rules around the legal sale of cannabis-based products and are going to decide sometime in 2023 about how they want to regulate CBD going forward. They stand against the notion of classifying CBD as a dietary supplement – similar to glucosamine chondroitin or fish oil – both of which have been widely available for many years. In anticipation of the sweeping change looming over us, many seed companies like Cheyenne Mountain Seed will shift their business models to focus on the home-grow market as large pharmaceutical companies become the only viable go-tos for mass retail products.
Yeah, it’s a disappointing outlook and we had hoped it wouldn’t go this way, but any time there are big bucks at stake, the small players typically get pushed out. That said, there are still reasons to be hopeful.
We Have Created Demand
Since the 2018 Farm Bill passed and hemp once again was legal for agricultural production, a veritable army of producers came forward to revive this traditional row crop. Farmers began growing hemp for both industrial and medicinal purposes. Drying and extraction companies sprang up. Marketers went to work to educate people about the properties and benefits of CBD. County extension services, farm stores, and equipment sellers all got into the game in service of the new generation of American hemp farmers. Everyone from bloggers to Google ads to traditional advertising platforms were profiting from a new topic to build content around. Then, of course, there came to be companies like mine who wanted to supply growers with top-quality hemp seed – whether they were growing in their basement or a 10-acre plot. The infrastructure is still new and, yes, it’s underbuilt and inadequate in some areas. That’s going to change. Hemp has arrived, people want it, and that is a marketplace reality that will keep the industry going.
We Have Created Awareness
Regardless of how the US marketplace evolves in the coming years, one thing is clear: the legalization of hemp has fueled a broader and deeper understanding of the rightful place of cannabinoids in the array of medicinal options. As more people began to embrace now-ubiquitous CBD creams, lotions, tinctures, edibles, and flowers, it has also paved the way for wider acceptance of marijuana legalization. CBD products are on store shelves at major retailers like Walgreens and CVS, which signals a “mainstreaming” of cannabis-derived merchandise that would have been hard to imagine a decade ago. In what I see as a parallel development, more than a dozen US states have loosened marijuana laws since 2018. Now, in early 2023, we can celebrate the commercial and cultural revolution that hemp has helped to drive in the US. And I’m pretty sure we’ll see that continue to advance.
The New Customer Profile for Seed Companies
When my partners and I started this company back in 2018, our idea was to be producers of the highest quality feminized hemp seeds on the planet. We have done that. Our customers appreciate our products for the robust, resilient plants they generate. We started with a customer base that included agribusinesses, greenhouses, and home growers. Over the course of five years, that customer based has evolved significantly to point where most of our sales are to small, home-scale growers – people who want seeds they can cultivate in their basements, in patio pots, or in small gardens, all for personal use. Cheyenne Mountain Seed Company has been adjusting to this foundational shift and developing new ways to reach, educate, and sell to the increasing number of home growers we are serving. Like any other kind of business, our smartest and best decisions are based on market realities and that is okay. We, ourselves, are home growers and find this constituency a lot of fun to work with
We’ll keep doing what we do best: offering top-quality hemp strains to people like you who enjoy germinating seeds and tending them carefully through maturity. Your harvest is for your own enjoyment and benefit, which is great. As regulators and big companies take over more and more parts of the hemp industry, there will still be a market for those who want to grow their own, enjoying the advantagesof organic production as well as the satisfaction of raising plants up from seed. We will continue to be there for you!