It was high times at ISM this year.
Two of the three 2019 New Product winners featured cannabis, including the third place Swiss Cannabis Gum and the second place Hemptastic Hemp Bar.
And as I walked the show floor, suppliers and manufacturers were bringing up the topic before I even had a chance to ask about it.
Cannabis is still seen as a bit taboo, so many of those conversations were off the record, but Frank Temme, managing director at Hansel Processing, said he’s getting lot of inquiries about CBD-oil confections in the U.S.
“I think in the U.S and Canada these will come up kind of quickly,” he says.
Hansel Processing has expertise in gummy vitamins, and gummies are a good delivery method for CBD oil because they allow for the right temperatures needed for processing it.
Temme said that as of right now the companies looking to invest in those types of products aren’t usually able to spend as much as they need to on equipment. But as laws and regulations keep evolving that may change. Specifically, when manufacturers are able to produce in one state and then take it over the border, they may be able to produce the capacity necessary to justify the price of installing expensive manufacturing equipment.
“It’s a huge investment,” Temme says. “Many people are talking right now about it, but we don’t see as much installation.”
As for the ISM New Product winners, it’s telling that ISM is embracing such products, especially since the show is based in Germany, where regulations for cannabis products are much stricter.
And these weren’t just products that advertise cannabis without any of the mind-altering parts. Roelli Roelli Confectionery, which makes the Swiss Cannabis Gum, specifically calls out the fact that each piece contains 5 milligrams of the antioxidant cannabidiol (CBD). And the company’s product description on the ISM website even says, “Chewing it releases its positive effect. Good vibes are certain.”
In the U.S. there are obviously hurdles. For example, the banking regulations are unclear, and like Temme said, it’s not possible to move the items across state lines. But Canada, which recently legalized recreational marijuana use across the country, may serve as a road map for how these types of products could be produced and distributed.
And then it will just be a matter of how long confectionery companies want to wait on the sidelines before they start getting a piece of cannabis profits. For those that are willing to manufacture cannabis-based products, though, it’s obvious that “Good vibes are certain.”