Marijuana Business Magazine October 2018

¬NFUSED BUS¬NESS STRATEG¬ES T ype CBD into a search engine and it will populate with new brand names every day, said Steve DeForest, the chief operating officer and chief compliance officer for Los Angeles-based Green Gorilla, a manufacturer and online retailer of hemp-derived CBD oils, topicals and pet products. The U.S. market for hemp-derived CBD products is expected to approach $600 million this year, according to cannabis research firm Bright- field Group, and brands are eager to capitalize on the surging popularity of THC’s nonpsychoactive relative. Despite a rosy outlook for the market, not every brand hawking hemp-derived CBD products is positioned to succeed. Green Gorilla could be an exception, bolstered by manufacturing in a lab registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), strategic prod- uct development and pricing as well as vertical integration. Green Gorilla’s products are available for sale online in the United States and Brazil, with plans to expand to Canada and the United Kingdom; they also are on shelves in more than 1,000 retail stores in the United States. “We’re not a ginor- mous company yet,” said Steven Sax- ton, Green Gorilla’s CEO and founder. “But we hope to become one.” While declining to go into specif- ics, the company said its revenue increased by 275% in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2017. Green Gorilla also entered a new partnership with Arizona-based Pure Grow Soil, which will expand the company’s footprint to soil production and sales. In addition, Green Gorilla ultimately will use the soil to grow its own hemp. The partner- ship is intended to give Green Gorilla’s team more control over consistency, cost and efficacy of its line of CBD products. DeForest and Saxton shared insight on the com- pany’s strategy for staying ahead of the pack – and scaling to become a lead- ing global brand. Prepare for a Policy Shift The hemp industry broadly expects the FDA to eventually regulate the manufacturing of CBD products. In the Wild West of CBD production, such oversight could have massive implications for businesses manufac- turing their products in facilities that are not up to par. And that would put Green Gorilla ahead of the curve. Action by the FDA would likely Seeing Green Sophisticated manufacturing, strategic product development and pricing, and vertical integration are keys to Green Gorilla’s success in the CBD market By Joey Peña Green Gorilla produces CBD oils, topicals and pet products at a facility registered with the FDA. Photos courtesy of Green Gorilla Steven Saxton is the CEO and founder of Green Gorilla. Photo courtesy of Green Gorilla 92 • Marijuana Business Magazine • October 2018