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Without some kind of 11th hour miracle, the American vaping industry could potentially be on its last legs. Livid over the rise in teen vaping, anti-tobacco groups have sued the FDA. The plaintiffs demanded that the agency retract its August 8, 2022 deadline for approval and require pre-market tobacco applications (PMTA) from all vaping product manufacturers immediately. The FDA lost the lawsuit and proposed a new PMTA deadline of May 2020. If that’s the final deadline, most of the vaping products in the United States will become illegal to sell in just nine months.

America’s vapers and vape shop owners have plenty of venues in which to vent their frustrations and urge their legislators to act before it’s too late. That’s not what this article is about. It’s not about complaining; it’s about getting real. We’re going to tell you what you can do to make sure that your vape shop survives.

Your Vape Shop Hangs in the Balance

Until now, you probably thought it was safe to assume that your vape shop could continue doing business as normal until at least 2022. Maybe you even hoped that a lawsuit or act of Congress would force the FDA to change the predicate date of February 15, 2007 for grandfathered vaping products. Unfortunately, it now seems as though none of those things are going to happen. Right now, the safest thing to assume is that you will need to clear out the products you’re currently selling and either find new products – or close up shop – by May of next year. You need to immediately begin transitioning to products that will still be legal to sell in 2020.

Our recommendation is CBD.

The sooner you begin your transition to CBD sales – the sooner you can position your vape shop as your city’s new CBD superstore – the more likely it’ll be that you will emerge from the changes in May 2020 not just alive, but even healthier and more profitable than you currently are.

I Want to Start Transitioning My Vape Shop to CBD Right Now. Where Can I Get Help?

We suggest working with a CBD company that understands the vape industry and offers products and a pricing structure conducive to a vape shop setting. One such company is Crescent Canna, founded by vape industry entrepreneurs who have been selling CBD in vape shops for over two years. They know what products vape shop customers are likely to buy and understand the margins that you need to earn in order to remain profitable. Many CBD companies are offering wholesale margins of 30-50% for retailers, which is unacceptable for vape shops. Crescent Canna’s margins are at least 100% for vape shops with no minimum order quantities. At larger volumes the margins get even better.  With deep knowledge of the vape industry, they make initial order recommendations designed to move in a vape shop setting and will swap out products or flavors that don’t move. Crescent Canna’s CBD products are made from THC-free CBD isolate, and they’re manufactured from organic hemp grown in the United States. Crescent Canna subjects all product batches to third-party testing to ensure that every product is safe and free from contaminants.

We encourage you to do your own research into CBD companies based on your specific needs, but highly recommend Crescent Canna as a good place to start. They’ve also offered to answer any questions about CBD for the VapeMentors community. Just email [email protected] with any questions or to discuss an order for your shop.

Crescent Canna CBD Vape Shop

What Is CBD?

If you keep up on the latest health trends, you may already know about CBD. You might, in fact, sell CBD products in your vape shop already. CBD and vaping products tend to go hand in hand because inhaling CBD is an extremely fast way of absorbing it. For the uninitiated, though, here’s a primer.

CBD Is the Primary Active Component of Industrial Hemp

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the cannabinoids – or active components – in the cannabis plant. It’s present in all cannabis, but it’s particularly abundant in the form of cannabis known as industrial hemp. Unlike marijuana – which also contains the psychoactive cannabinoid THC and is a prohibited Schedule I substance according to the Federal government – industrial hemp contains almost no THC and has no psychoactive effects.

Industrial hemp is one of the world’s most useful cash crops. It’s used for textiles, biodiesel and building materials. It’s also grown for its nutritious seeds. The 2018 United States Farm Bill signed into law by President Trump removed some of the regulatory obstacles for would-be hemp farmers and made the crop legal to grow in the United States.

People Use CBD to Treat Many Health Conditions

By exposing hemp plant material to pressurized carbon dioxide or another solvent, it’s possible to extract the plant’s essential oils. The essential oil of industrial hemp is rich in CBD and other compounds, and medical researchers have found that CBD may have a number of remarkable health benefits. It’s been discovered, for example, that CBD helps to prevent seizures for those who suffer from certain seizure disorders. That discovery led to the first ever FDA approval of a prescription drug derived from cannabis with CBD as its main active ingredient.

Health-conscious consumers have latched on to CBD in a big way. People take it for conditions such as chronic pain, arthritis, anxiety, sleeplessness, panic and more. Although scientific research is still ongoing, preliminary studies suggest that CBD could actually be useful for treating those and other conditions.

Is CBD Legal to Sell in My Vape Shop?

Note: We are not lawyers, and nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. We recommend that all small business owners in the vaping industry retain lawyers and consult them for guidance.

CBD is a product that’s in a bit of a legal gray area. On one hand, when CBD is derived from the hemp plant, it’s a natural extract that’s federally legal to grow, process, and sell. In addition, it’s been well established for many years that CBD helps to prevent some types of seizures, so many states have laws in place specifically allowing CBD sales.

On the other hand, when CBD is derived from marijuana, or contains more than .3% THC, it’s still a Schedule I prohibited substance with no medicinal value according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

So far, the Federal government hasn’t taken action against CBD products except those marketed with unproven medical claims and those derived from marijuana and containing more than .3% THC. This doesn’t mean that the FDA will never step in and begin regulating CBD products, but it probably means that such action is far away and that you’ll have plenty of warning first. For now, the FDA has its hands full with the vaping industry.

Will CBD Be Profitable for My Vape Shop?

The CBD market is huge. A recent forecast suggests that the size of the global CBD industry may reach $20 billion by 2024. The same forecast suggests that general retail stores – like your vape shop – will be the largest sellers of CBD products.

How dramatically can CBD transform your vape shop? To get an idea of where the market is heading, we spoke with David Reich of Crescent City Vape, a chain of four vape shops in the New Orleans area. Crescent City Vape began selling a small assortment of CBD products two years ago, but it wasn’t until the shops fully embraced CBD and began putting significant promotional effort behind it that CBD sales started to take off. The biggest move they made was turning an entire section of each vape shop into a CBD pop-up experience which seamlessly introduced customers to CBD products and helped to guide their first purchases.

“When you add an entirely new class of products to your vape shop,” Reich said, “I think it’s important to ensure that you’re the one telling the story. Your customers have already seen CBD products in other stores. Some of them are buying the products, and others aren’t. For the customers who are getting their CBD products elsewhere, you need to make the case that there’s a real benefit to buying those products from you instead. For the customers who aren’t buying CBD yet, you’re uniquely positioned to build trust in the legitimacy of CBD products because you already have the trust of those customers.”

Speaking about what CBD products have done for Crescent City Vape, Reich continued, “CBD products now account for more than half of our total sales volume. While the growth of the vaping industry in our region has been stagnant for a while, CBD sales continue to grow by leaps and bounds. Many of the customers who now come to us for CBD products don’t actually vape at all.”

What Types of CBD Products Should My Vape Shop Stock?

Different CBD products have different benefits and use cases, so it’s a good idea to carry the widest variety of products possible. These are the most popular types of CBD products currently on the market.

  • CBD Oils and Tinctures: CBD oils are the most common CBD products because of their price and versatility. Out of all CBD products, CBD oils tend to have the lowest cost per milligram of CBD. Since users can hold the oil under their tongues before swallowing it, CBD oil has a faster absorption rate than some other CBD products.
  • CBD Edibles: Edible products such as gummies are all that some CBD users buy. Edibles are more slowly absorbed because they’re processed entirely by the digestive system. Because they’re absorbed more slowly, though, they tend to promote steady CBD levels in the body throughout the day. In addition, many people simply like the way CBD edibles taste; CBD oil has a distinctive flavor that doesn’t work for everyone.
  • CBD Isolate: CBD isolate is an oil-soluble crystalline powder isolated from raw hemp essential oil. Raw hemp oil is a full-spectrum extract that may contain trace THC. There is a chance, then, that taking a large amount of full-spectrum CBD could potentially result in a false positive for marijuana use on a drug test. CBD isolate is over 99 percent pure CBD and should not cause a positive drug test result. It’s also easy to use because it mixes easily with almost any food or beverage.
  • CBD Capsules: CBD capsules are gelatin or cellulose capsules containing CBD oil or CBD isolate. Some people prefer CBD capsules because they’re easy to swallow and don’t have the distinctive flavor of hemp oil. CBD capsules are also pre-measured and help to ensure consistent dosing.
  • CBD Balms and Salves: CBD absorbs through the skin, so balms and salves make it possible for people to target specific issues such as acne and muscle aches.
  • CBD Beauty Products: With preliminary studies indicating that CBD could be useful for almost anything, some people have begun using it for almost everything. There’s a growing market for CBD beauty products such as cosmetics, moisturizers, facial masks and bath bombs.
  • Transdermal Patches: As mentioned above, many people use CBD to treat aching muscles and joints. A transdermal CBD patch makes it possible to target a specific area with a large amount of CBD that’s absorbed steadily over several hours. Transdermal patches often also have other pain relivers such as menthol and lidocaine.
  • Pet Products: Does Fido seem to have a bit of anxiety? Some people have taken to giving their pets CBD-infused treats with the hope that it’ll calm their animals’ anxiety and improve their moods.
  • Vaping Products: One of the reasons why CBD has been such a natural match for vape shops is because CBD – like its better-known cousin THC – is often consumed by inhaling. You can find CBD e-liquids, disposable vape pens, pre-filled pods and more. People like CBD vaping products because inhaling is the fastest way to absorb CBD. And in a vape shop environment, these products have the potential to really fly off the shelves.

Please note that some states have prohibited the sale of CBD edibles and CBD vape products, so it’s important to know your local laws. It’s also a good sign of a reputable CBD vendor if they know what products you are or aren’t allowed to sell in your shop.

Are There Any Vaping Products That My Vape Shop Can Still Sell After May?

Yes. Although e-liquid vaping could be nearing the end of its life in the United States, dry herb vaporizers will remain available. Herbal vaporizers have always been popular among cannabis users who’d rather avoid smoking. In addition, with the potential demise of e-liquid vaping, dry herb vaporizers are also usable with tobacco and may find new life among former cigarette smokers who will lose the ability to buy e-liquid vaping products. If your vape shop isn’t already stocking vaporizers for dry herbs and wax, now might be the time to start.

With regards to e-liquid vaping products, the future is uncertain. The language of the FDA’s regulations suggests that only products with nicotine – or intended for use with nicotine – will be subject to the regulations. It therefore seems likely that disposable CBD vape pens and other closed-system CBD vaping products would still be legal to sell because those products can’t be used with nicotine e-liquids. This is an area in which you’d be wise to consult with your attorney.