The CBD Supply Chain
The benefits of CBD are understood and accepted by a broad range of consumers, clinicians, companies, and countries. While CBD as a medicine or food ingredient was once viewed with suspicion, it is now much more widely embraced. Frankly, it’s about time!
Unfortunately, the rise in popularity brings with it ambiguous product quality (at best) or atrocious product standards (at worst). We definitely won’t be applauding that.
A Regulatory Wake-Up Call
The call for tighter standards echoes up and down the CBD supply chain. As an ICHQ7 / WHO GMP certified producer, Vantage upholds the globally-recognized standards of pharmaceutical grade API manufacturing. Unfortunately, some suppliers have a more cavalier approach. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking notice. As the CBD market doubles in size each year, so do the recalls, seizures, and unfulfilled orders. The result is a supply chain left shaken by unpredictability. Today we find producers, manufacturers, and retailers facing intermittent disruptions to this new and quite lucrative revenue stream. Meanwhile, customers don’t know which brands to trust.
Supply Chain Chaos
(UPDATED NOV. 23 2022 – We are adding this heart-wrenching example of what can go wrong in a highly complex hemp extraction facility. Our thoughts are with the injured workers and all those striving to bring the hemp CBD market into a modern regulatory framework.)
- UPDATED – North-central Oregon fire leads to total loss of hemp processing plant
- One alarming example, following a labeling blunder, CBD consumers in Oregon unwittingly purchased the psychoactive cannabinoid THC, instead of CBD
- Another incident in Florida saw CBD products containing traces of lead yanked off the shelves
- A selection of other producers have faced recalls owing to apparent false labeling
The sanctions and recalls are all too common. At Vantage, we embrace regulations and believe the industry as a whole will benefit from them. The harsh truth is that many smaller suppliers will struggle to comply with complex regulatory requirements owing to a lack of production resources, limited funding, or little inclination to see the industry improve.
Current Issues Caused By Industry Growth
The 2018 US farm bill signaled an exciting new era of opportunity in the hemp-derived CBD space. It also unleashed a tidal wave of speculative entrepreneurs – a generous turn of phrase for many of the unscrupulous operators in the current CBD market.
If I were being less generous, I might say many brands were not inclined to build a reputable brand and simply sought quick profits in a growing market. The result was a large chunk of the industry scrambling to exploit revenues with a troubling lack of care and attention to quality. It takes comprehensive industry knowledge, the ability to meet worldwide regulatory standards, and serious investment to create and maintain a pharmaceutical grade CBD production and manufacturing facility. Without those prerequisites, many suppliers are merely winging it – with cascading damage to large swathes of the industry as a result.
Today more questionable players are being “shaken out” due to the strict quality control demands of an increasingly regulated market.
The Immediate Future
The CBD supply chain has a problem. Well, anyone outside of our network has a problem. The CBD supply chain is in a tumultuous state owing to (extremely warranted) recalls, fulfillment issues, and regulatory barriers. Many brands, producers, and retailers are learning tough lessons about regulations and quality control these days.
Vantage rises above this chaos thanks to our unique position in the market, our end-to-end production and manufacturing, and our commitment to the highest regulatory standards. We created this vast production and manufacturing endeavor to separate ourselves from the general supply chain. In truth, we anticipated the burgeoning chaos. That’s not to say we gloat as the CBD supply chain suffers from significant growing pains, but we have always been committed to supporting brands and retailers by providing the highest quality standards. Brands seek out Vantage to deliver stability with pharmaceutical-grade products manufactured in a responsible, globally-recognized regulatory framework.
Strengthening the CBD Supply Chain
The industry is tightening up and becoming more polished. That’s a good thing for responsible producers. We embrace the push for quality across the CBD supply chain. Through our end-to-end process and industry-leading 62,000-square-foot facility, we are thoroughly poised for even the most stringent standards. We are also agile enough to adapt to frequently evolving regulations. We always have been. Vantage earned its reputation as an industry leader not in response to regulations, but with our ongoing policy to improve industry standards.
For example, the Falcon and Raven buildings were designed and built in full consultation with the City of Greeley and the Greeley Fire Department. Today, Vantage Hemp’s Falcon and Raven facilities are the “gold standard” in fire safety for all hydrocarbon extraction in the State of Colorado. If you can’t meet our standards for fire safety, you will need to find another state to set up shop.
Another example is our CBD Distillate Drug Master File with the FDA. This demonstrates our inclination to conform to regulatory guidelines. It sets a precedent for the industry as a whole. Completing our DMF has taken a monumental effort, with considerable investment. With the current turmoil in the CBD supply chain, the penny has dropped with many brands and retailers who are now seeking the quality and consistency that Vantage provides.
Partnering with Vantage
So we find ourselves in an odd, bittersweet situation. We are passionate about the CBD revolution and take no joy in watching the supply chain in turmoil. We want the market to do better. By the same token, we are benefiting from a wave of frustrated brands and retailers knocking on our door looking for help. If you are seeing these issues in your supply chain, and wish to rise above the chaos, please be sure to reach out!
With over 25 years of experience in sales, business development, marketing, and operations management. Christian Santi comes from a variety of industries and is no stranger to leading global supply chain organisations. Christian’s past titles range from Chief Operating Officer, Director of Channel Sales & Product Development, Executive Vice President, and most recently Director of Sales for companies such as Socati Corp, Ferrin-Tech, and Boulder Botanicals & Bioscience Laboratory. Additionally, Christian has extensive expertise in building and leading high-performance sales teams and providing analysis on client needs through a consultative approach. Christian is also well equipped to handle international markets with a background and in-depth knowledge of sourcing from China and India.