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Derek Thomas is the Vice President of Business Development for Veritas Farms. In honor of this month’s National CBD Day, CBD World News contributor and cannabis journalist Heather Allman interviewed Derek about the state of the industry and Veritas Farms’ role within it.
CBD World News: Give me your perspective on the current mainstream madness of CBD. Why do you think the CBD industry has grown so quickly and exponentially since the 2018 Farm Bill?
Derek Thomas: Full-spectrum hemp oil and CBD products were already experiencing strong growth from consumers before the passing of the 2018 farm bill. After the passage of the farm bill, products became much more widely available via chain retailers like Kroger and CVS; offering consumers familiar outlets where they can trust that the products are effective and safe. The farm bill also opened up new advertising channels, increasing awareness around full-spectrum hemp oil, and driving additional consumers into the category. It also gave some reluctant states the confidence they needed to draft favorable hemp legislation, furthering both chain retail and advertising opportunities.
There were also financial benefits from the farm bill that supported and furthered the exponential growth. Consider the institutional investments that built much of the farming, processing, and manufacturing infrastructure that powers the industry. Or improved access to banking and merchant processing.
CWN: In your opinion, what are some of the ultimate benefits of the current CBD market’s rapid, expansive growth? Drawbacks?
DT: The greatest benefits are most profoundly visible in the millions of people who have quickly adopted these products into their lives and improved whatever facet of their life they’re taking the product for. But the hemp plant also.
CWN: What’s the consumer appeal of CBD?
DT: Plant-based health and wellness has overall been on the rise. Hemp is a favored plant amongst naturally-oriented consumers for many reasons, including its history as a healing plant, the many uses of the hemp plant, how sustainable it is to grow, and just how impactful and the use of cannabinoids can be for someone.
CWN: What’s the business appeal, or why the CBD market?
DT: The biggest appeal is being able to offer our community a truly quality, beneficial product that is natural and sustainable. It’s a powerful purpose and it drives what we do.
CWN: What is the biggest challenge or barrier that remains in/concerning the CBD industry at large?
DT: The biggest challenge continues to be the lack of federal regulation via the FDA. It creates many issues like fractured marketplaces, retailer and advertiser hesitancy, consumer confusion, and many onerous business requirements.
CWN: What is the biggest obstacle that you’ve professionally encountered concerning the CBD market?
DT: The biggest obstacle has been consumer misunderstanding on its uses and what makes a quality product and fears around the safety of products.
CWN: Give me an example of your company’s solution to that specific challenge?
DT: We put a lot of effort and intention into clearing up those misunderstandings and ensuring consumers know the effort we put into safety and quality. It’s evident in our marketing and it’s evident in the ease and transparency we put into making our 3rd party test results public via our Certificate Of Analysis finder on our website.
CWN: Describe your current—and emerging—CBD consumer/client demographic. Has your consumer or client base changed or pivoted since the pandemic?
DT: Because of full-spectrum hemp oil’s versatility in the benefits it offers, our demographics are broad. We have a diverse community consisting of athletes, retirees, mothers and fathers, college students, and professionals—to name a few.
We’re still here serving all of our community through the pandemic, and we’ve added additional SKU’s to not only serve them better but to invite new people into Veritas Farms as well. We have recently begun manufacturing hand sanitizer and selling it on both our website and to our retail partners. Our 70% ethyl-based hand sanitizer is made in an FDA registered facility by a manufacturer licensed to manufacture hand sanitizer. We provide a certificate of analysis performed by third-party I.S.O. certified labs (as we do for all our products). They’re available in 8-oz. bottles on our website and by the gallon via our sales team.
CWN: In our current climate, with cannabis and thus CBD being deemed an essential service: what was one of your responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, or what responsibility do you feel you have to your current and prospective CBD consumers?
DT: Internally we modified some of our manufacturing and fulfillment SOP’s to ensure our team’s ability to continue working safely and our customer’s assuredness in the safety and availability of our products throughout the crises. We know how much our customers rely on our products, now more than ever, and we take that responsibility very seriously.
CWN: What is one key element of your company’s plan to maintain your existing high caliber brand or ancillary service?
DT: One of our most exciting parts of our plan is continuing to innovate new products that broaden and optimize the uses and benefits of full-spectrum hemp oil. We have recently introduced a full spectrum hemp oil-infused skincare line for women called Veritas Beauty and Veritas Pets, a complete line of topical and ingestible pet products!
About Veritas Farms, Inc.
Veritas Farms, Inc. (OTCQB: VFRM) is a vertically integrated agribusiness focused on producing superior quality, whole-plant, full-spectrum hemp oils and extracts containing naturally occurring cannabinoids. The Company currently operates a 140-acre farm and production facilities in Pueblo, Colorado, and is registered with the Colorado Department of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp. The Company markets and sells products under its Veritas Farms™ brand and manufactures private label products for a number of leading distributors and retailers.
Veritas Farms™ brand full-spectrum hemp oil products include vegan capsules, tinctures, formulations for sublingual applications and infused edibles, lotions, salves, and oral syringes in a variety of size formats and flavors. All Veritas Farms™ brand products are third-party laboratory tested for strength and purity. The Company files periodic reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which can be viewed at www.sec.gov. For additional information and online product purchase, visit www.theveritasfarms.com.