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After producing cannabis products for more than a decade, Colorado edibles maker Cheeba Chews is formulating new products that its chief marketing officer says simply wouldn’t have been possible without legalization. of hemp in the United States in 2018.

Two of them were launched this year: a 1: 1: 1 cannabigerol (CBG), CBD and THC taffy, and a 2: 1 THC and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) taffy.

Eric Leslie, Co-Owner and Marketing Director of Cheeba Chews, said Hemp producer that while products made entirely from hemp are not the best sellers in the business, new opportunities have arisen for him to combine hemp-based cannabinoids with THC in legal cannabis.

“Hemp gives us the opportunity to create a portfolio of products that are not only derived from THC on a regulated market, but also bring it to the regulated market.introduce more people to the factory, ”Leslie said.

Ups and downs in the hemp market

Cheeba Chews, who sells legal cannabis products in the states of Colorado, California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Oklahoma, has had varying experiences working with edibles made from hemp as the he business has adapted to a successful sales model.

In the hemp business, Cheeba Chews’ Hemp Taffy is primarily sold direct to consumers through e-commerce, Leslie said. The manufacturer’s hemp site markets both full spectrum CBD hemp taffy in multiple flavors and Sleepy Chew CBN (cannabinol) taffy that contains CBD, CBN, and melatonin.

But that hasn’t always been the company’s approach.

Cheeba Chews has been making and selling CBD taffy, or “chews,” since 2014, which Leslie said was more popular before. the 2018 Farm Bill and the CBD market saturation that followed.

Photo courtesy of Cheeba Chews

Eric leslie

In 2019, following the passage of the Farm Bill of 2018, Cheeba Chews sought distribution deals for their CBD chews, Leslie said. However, one of the larger distributors refused to purchase Cheeba Chews products as they decided to work with brands within their network rather than sourcing from other companies.

So, Cheeba Chews turned to various retailers. “We’ve gone through the head store networks, the convenience store networks,” Leslie said.

One problem with these avenues was that Cheeba Chews’ full-spectrum hemp-derived products were often placed alongside products formulated with CBD isolate on store shelves. Retailers preferred to store the isolate because it did not contain THC.

“I [was] like, ‘Yeah, everybody goes to convenience stores. Let’s just sell tons! ‘ Leslie recalls. “But how we were positioned and what we were up to – and the comments that were happening from these isolate products – people were really promoting isolate back then because it was. [considered more] safe. East [the THC limit] 0.3% of a piece, a pack? What does it mean? No direction from the federal government on what we’re doing here.

“So everyone just wanted a straight isolate. And I think that was the biggest mistake about hemp CBD because you need the surroundings of that low level THC and the other cannabinoids that support CBD, for it to really get the full effects of the hemp. CBD. So we really took a step back from wholesale.

Despite the demand issues, hemp has created more opportunities in cannabis for Cheeba Chews: reaching more customers in dispensaries, forging new relationships, and formulating new products that meet the individual tastes of consumers and patients.

Several cannabis dispensaries that Cheeba Chews supplies produce to provide hemp products, including The Green Solution and Leiffa in Colorado, Leslie said. He added that cannabis retailers have sometimes designated hemp sections in their stores, where consumers can find these products.

“It’s not a big part of our business,” Leslie said of federally legal hemp products. “It made for a really good relationship, honestly. My partner from Oklahoma was in liquor distribution, started ordering some hemp chews from me. And I said, ‘Hey, I want to sell THC chewing gum.’ … So, hemp introduced me to my partner from Oklahoma, which produced a phenomenal result [cannabis] Partnership.”

“The future of edibles”

Cheeba Chews formulates products containing THC as well as CBD and / or other minor cannabinoids, and sells them to state-approved cannabis dispensaries.

“The hemp law has really given us access to higher volumes of minor cannabinoids,” Leslie said of the 2018 Farm Bill.

In 2019, the company released its THC-dominant Sleepy Chew, its best-selling storage unit (SKU) in all markets. The product has a 2: 1 ratio of THC: CBN and melatonin, compared to its other Sleepy Chew, which has a 10: 1 CBD: CBN ratio, plus melatonin, and is sourced entirely from hemp.

“CBN, outside of California, which is a closed loop system, comes from hemp,” Leslie said. “It opened the door for us.

In 2019, Cheeba Chews began working with CBD manufacturing companies to source hemp-derived CBNs, Leslie said..

Earlier this year, Cheeba Chews released their Trifecta Be Happy Taffy, which contains a 1: 1: 1 ratio of CBG (cannabigerol), CBD, and THC. Then, in November, he launched his THCV loaded energetic chew product with a THC: THCV ratio of 2: 1. (For the first, Leslie said, “I never could – I won’t say never – I wouldn’t have been able to bring this product to market so effectively if I hadn’t. had access to the hemp market. ”While with the latter, he said,“ That one, I know for sure, I would never find him in a regulated market. ”)

Cannabis and hemp companies not allowed to make health claims, so Cheeba Chews decided to allow budtenders to communicate with consumers their perceived effect of Be Happy Taffy.

“I said, ‘Sample’,” Leslie reminded her sales teams. “’Sample every budtender. It’s going to cost a lot of money. It’s going to be a very expensive investment. Sample every budtender, every manager, as many people as possible. ‘ This amplification of how it works is how we’ve built a reputation with Trifecta.

And in a recent press release for the THCV-Charged Energy Chew, Cheeba Chews cited studies published in the journal Nutrition and diabetes: “Research associates THCV – found in many sativa-dominant strains – with increased energy and reduced cravings, among other potential benefits,” the statement from Cheeba Chews states.

Selling hemp-derived products has allowed Cheeba Chews to reach consumers she otherwise wouldn’t have, Leslie said. Additionally, he said exploration for minor cannabinoids represents “the future of edibles” and the components of hemp and cannabis complement each other well because they are the same plant.

“This is the course that we have to take as an industry, it is the marriage between the two,” he said. “I’m not trying to separate them. I have the THC-psychoactive side – we have to regulate it; we have to be smart about how we present it to adults only. But I think the two need to work together and not as separate paths. “

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