As the CBD industry continues to expand rapidly, there is a lack of awareness and understanding among consumers about the basics of CBD. Terms like broad spectrum, full spectrum, isolate, and winterization often seem like confusing jargon. Additionally, many CBD users are unaware of crucial information, such as potential drug interactions and the possibility of failing a drug test. This knowledge gap is not limited to consumers alone; even entrepreneurs entering the hemp business face similar challenges.
Recognizing the need for education, Leah Lakstins established Higher Ed Hemp Tours in Austin, Texas. These guided tours cater to individuals interested in starting a hemp business, as well as bachelorette parties, travelers, and cannabis enthusiasts seeking an informative and enjoyable experience.
Prior to launching Higher Ed Hemp, Lakstins worked in the commercial roofing industry. However, her fascination with CBD’s potential led her to venture into manufacturing. It was during this journey that she realized the significant lack of CBD education among consumers and retailers.
During the tours, Lakstins takes participants to retail stores, cannabis-focused events, and landmarks, such as the famous Eeyore’s Birthday drum circle and the statue of iconic musician and cannabis advocate, Willie Nelson. She describes the experience as “Edutainment” – an educational yet fun approach that keeps participants engaged.
For those interested in entering the hemp business, the tours provide a closer look at farms and manufacturing facilities, offering insights into the production process. Lakstins aims to bring aspiring entrepreneurs back to reality, as she emphasizes that success in the CBD business requires more than just growing hemp. Vertical integration, which involves controlling the entire production process, is crucial for cost-effectiveness and ensuring consistent quality.
Lakstins encourages newcomers to find a broad niche within the hemp industry, such as lifestyle, sports, pets, food and beverage, or health and wellness. This approach allows brands to establish their identity without alienating potential customers.
However, before diving into the hemp world, Lakstins emphasizes the importance of having a well-informed team that understands the industry’s language, science, and processes. Team members play a vital role in educating consumers and shaping their experience.
Lakstins believes that hemp-derived D9 edibles will revolutionize the industry, particularly in states where marijuana remains illegal. These edibles are derived from hemp plants with less than 0.3 percent THC, offering a legal alternative to traditional marijuana edibles.
Looking ahead, Lakstins advises brands to position themselves for federal legalization, which would enable access to major retail chains. Currently, big-box stores like Target and Walmart are cautious about carrying CBD products due to the lack of FDA approval. However, once federal legalization occurs, Lakstins predicts that large pharmaceutical companies will seek to acquire existing CBD brands, presenting opportunities for growth and expansion.
In the rapidly evolving CBD industry, knowledge and education are key. By empowering consumers and entrepreneurs with accurate information and insights, the hemp industry can thrive and make a lasting impact. So, buckle up and join the CBD revolution – it’s the wild west, and the party has just begun.