By Joscha Krauss • It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day challenges of the medical cannabis sector. Running any business comes with its headaches, but as we all know, medical marijuana and hemp CBD are probably the most challenging sectors in the entire industry. While an occasional glance in the rearview mirror is good, it’s best to focus on the road ahead. Here are four key indicators – and some road signs – to guide the way forward:
Focus on Quality
We all know there are dubious players out there peddling products of questionable quality, putting a drag on the CBD sector generally. Their antics, which too often draw official attention and tend to portray CBD negatively in the media, can be countered by responsible market players, in part, by focusing on quality in our own CBD producing operations. As the sector continues to develop, setting high internal standards will help guide us on the way to establishing and implementing the highest quality using safe and environmentally-friendly methods. Such standards will also help in the further development of proven large-scale manufacturing processes. At Medical Hemp, this is the strategy we follow and instill as we deal with a rapidly expanding network of high-caliber and experienced market players – both contractors and customers.
The matters of quality and standards naturally lead into the regulatory framework needed to advance the crucial CBD sectors – cosmetics, medicine and food supplements – beyond their current status as niche products in the broader marketplace. As this framework gradually comes together at both EU and national levels, our production and business practices can inform the process, with the goal to establish clear rules and regulations that create a fair and vibrant market in which the bureaucratic barriers to doing business are as low as possible. This is critical because the current unclear rules inhibit sales, and can turn off potential business partners as well.
Research & Development
One has to marvel at the ingenuity in the hemp business. With a broad and highly segmented array of CBD-infused products already on the market, research and development continue apace all over the globe. This is critical on two accounts. First of all, the wider the range of applications, the broader the overall market for CBD becomes. As it seeps into sector after sector, and subsector after subsector, awareness grows. The legalization of medical cannabis in Germany is also likely to spur research on cannabis in all of its medical forms including CBD, especially critical patient research.
At official levels, we’re encouraged by the progress the European Industrial Hemp Association has made in establishing an interface at the EU level, where the Association took up some issues this year on behalf of CBD, and where their heads are found not to be as thick as some might think.
On the public relations front, hemp, CBD and medical marijuana all begin to seep into the mainstream media – yet not always in the most flattering terms. It means we need more of a pro-active approach to shape the industry’s overwhelmingly positive message – and hemp’s image. We can do this individually through strong corporate communications, but it will take industry-wide joint efforts too.
Seeing the light ahead
When we do glance into the rearview mirror, we can see a CBD sector that’s made great and hard-fought gains thanks to a very few bold pioneers, some of whom have been fighting the good fight on behalf of hemp for nearly two decades. We see a few enlightened individual CBD markets – Czech Republic, Austria, Holland – which are vibrant proving grounds for how the business should work. That’s progress. And we, as an industry, have earned the right to look on those advancements with pride.
But in the fast-moving CBD sector, there’s not much time to look back.
Joscha Krauss is CEO at MH medical hemp GmbH, Berlin.