LOS ANGELES -- The Asian American Trade Associations Council (AATAC) and Vertical, a set of companies in the legal cannabis and hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) industries, have launched Instant brand CBD Strips in convenience stores nationwide. CBDs are cannabis compounds known to provide various health benefits without THC, the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana.
Cannabis has become a budding category in convenience retailing. Beer and beverage companies such as Heineken USA, Constellation Brands and the Coca Cola Co. have expressed interest in cannabis-enhanced drinks, while others have even begun pushing for CBD candies in c-stores. As one of the fastest-growing industries in the country, marijuana will become a $50 billion business by 2026 and add 1 million new jobs, said Scott Sinder, partner with Steptoe & Johnson, Washington.
Instant CBD Strips will arrive in stores in Florida, Texas and North Carolina before becoming available nationwide. They are taken orally and reach the bloodstream within minutes, providing high bioavailability, minimal wait-time, precision dosing and eliminate adverse side effects, according to the companies.
“CBD is an explosive category,” said Paul Rock, trustee of the AATAC. “CBD from hemp with the strictest standards and following all regulatory and legal requirements is what our groups are looking for. This is the first time in history since e-cigarettes and energy drinks that we are seeing such demand in a category from the customers that routinely frequent our stores.”
Vertical recently opened a 90,000-square-foot hemp processing and CBD manufacturing building in Cadiz, K.Y., after harvesting its first 250,000 hemp plants. Vertical and the AATAC look to continue distributing Instant brand products in major markets around the country.
“Our newly formed Vertical Wellness is rapidly building out the industry-leading national hemp-based CBD platform with large-scale seed-to-sale infrastructure to support our brands,” said J. Smoke Wallin, president of Vertical. “The building blocks for this are a world-class team and the best brand portfolio in the business. We couldn’t be more excited to bring CBD wellness in this new and effective form of Instant CBD Strips to [the] AATAC’s network of retailers nationwide.”
The AATAC, based in Tampa, Fla., and Los Angeles, is comprised of smaller buying groups, regional sub-chapters and other trade organizations whose members control more than 90,000 c-stores and gas stations across the United States and Puerto Rico. These chains include 7-Eleven, Circle K, Sunoco, Chevron, 76, BP, Arco, ampm, Kangaroo, Shell and Marathon.
Los Angeles-based Vertical focuses its business on lifestyle, health and wellness products made from hemp. The company is led by a team of entrepreneurs and business leaders from the alcoholic beverage, agriculture, consumer packaged goods, distribution, entertainment, food, healthcare and medical industries.