U.S. Military veterans may still be prohibited from using medical marijuana by the federal government, but that doesn’t mean they can’t strike it rich in the cannabis industry. Craig Henderson, an Army vet who served in Iraq, is one of those soldiers going this route, building a multi-million dollar company through the distribution of cannabidiol-infused products. His business, Extract Labs, which is based in Boulder, Colorado, was launched in December 2016. It now employs 25 people and recently opened a second location in Louisville, Kentucky, according to a story from Military Times.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the non-psychoactive component of marijuana. This means it is still considered a Schedule I dangerous drug with “no known medical value” in the eyes of the federal government. But it has been shown to have a variety of medicinal functions, including helping people with depression, insomnia and epileptic seizures.
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Last year, the World Health Organization published a report suggesting that CBD be removed from its Schedule I classification because its use “could have some therapeutic value.” In June, the U.S Food and Drug Administration approved the first ever CBD-based pharmaceutical drug for distribution in the United States. This move could lead to a CBD reschedule on the Controlled Substances Act, according to Forbes.
As for Henderson, he got into the business of slinging CBD after “watching a bunch of marijuana documentaries” and “following the laws changing in Colorado and California.” His first thought was to get a job in the cannabis industry, so he began “emailing people my resume and calling different companies.”
“But no one called me back,” he said.
He was eventually pulled on to work with Ohio-based Apecks Supercritical, where he spent several years “teaching people how to process marijuana with CO2.” It was during that time that Henderson recognized a unique opportunity working with hemp farmers and decided to go out on his own. Extract Labs was created.
Henderson’s company deals in hemp-based CBD products, like tinctures, creams, shatter and vape juice. Because these items are not derived from the cannabis plant, many hempsters, like Extract, have been raking in the sales because patients in prohibition states can get their hands on these remedies without the threat of legal repercussions.
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Although the FDA recently approved CBD-based Epidiolex for certain kinds of epilepsy, companies like Extract Labs cannot “make specific claims” about the medical powers of their CBD products. They are not FDA approved. Still, this has not stopped the cannabis entrepreneurs, like Henderson, from cashing in on high demand. The CBD market pulled in around $820 million in 2017. It is expected to grow 700 percent within the next the two years.