Cannabis, cannabioid, weed, pot, medical marijuana—or whatever you want to call it—is on the minds of everyone in all parts of our society today. Whether it’s use is highly debated on Capitol Hill, in various states—now 30 as of press time—sports, entertainment or pop culture, one cannot deny the impact that CBD is having in all aspects of American life.
Whether it is for medical purposes to treat disorders ranging from anxiety to epilepsy, marijuana is being used in various foods we consume or being smoked in cities and states such as Colorado, Michigan and Washington, there is no denying it’s influence—and growing market as a cultural needle-mover.
One thought of as some abstract hippie drug used by stoners to get high, marijuana is now consumed in some form from aerosol sprays, gummies, drinks, food and liquid form with 62 percent of Americans favoring legalization of marijuana according to Pew Research.
Per Talbott Recovery, 76% of doctors were in favor of using marijuana for medical purposes, as of 2013.
Per a 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 4.0 million people aged 12 or older in 2016 had a marijuana use disorder in the past year, which represents 1.5 percent of people aged 12 or older. Many proponents of marijuana legalization point to statistics such as marijuana being one of the most popular substances of abuse in the United States.
According to federal data, more than 118 million Americans aged 12 or older have used marijuana in their lifetime. Cannabis use is more common than the use of cocaine, hallucinogens and inhalants combined, per Matt Gonzales’ 2018 of Drug Rehab.
Gonzales would go on to state that per a 2017 survey from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health that an estimated 24 million people reported that they were current marijuana users in 2016.
Despite all of these damning stats both pro or con, anything and everything CBD and marijuana is—pardon the pun—growing like a weed—as it’s long-standing cultural cache of coolness and popularity has led to the growth of a potentially multi-billion industry that ranges from pot stocks, cannabis influencers and companies wanting to get a piece of the growing CBD-laced pie.
Citing the Marijuana Business Factbook, Sean Williams of Fool.com referenced seven statistics from the exclusive report such as legal marijuana sales in the U.S. are estimated to grow by more than 27% per year through 2022 (assuming peak sales estimates each year). After hitting a peak of $6.6 billion in legal sales in 2017, Factbook estimates that between $18 billion and $22.1 billion worth of cannabis could be sold to consumers through legal channels in 2022.
The other noteworthy stat Williams referenced was that by 2022, the cannabis industry could generate an economic impact of between $28 billion and $34 billion in 2018 and surpass an economic impact of $75 billion by 2022.
One of those in the booming cannabis industry looking to make an impact is Keith Dolo, CEO and Director of the Vancouver-based Sproutly.
Looking like he stepped out of a GQ cover photo shoot or a Wall Street broker, the dashingly handsome forty-something Canuck heads one of the biggest up-and-coming cannabis companies whose core mission is to become the leading supplier to the cannabis beverage and edibles market.
An active member of the Vancouver community, Dolo provides direction and oversight to all functions within Sproutly, as well as overseeing subsidiaries, Toronto Herbal Remedies and Infusion Biosciences Canada.
Below is my Q and A with Keith as we talk about Sproutly, the growth in popularity of CBD, medical marijuana, it’s potential to become a legit billion dollar industry, as well as the impact weed, CBD and cannabis has had across cultural, entertainment and sports culture.
Name: Keith Dolo
Sproutly’s core mission is to become the leading supplier to the cannabis beverage and edibles market. It’s Toronto based, ACMPR licensed facility was built to cultivate pharmaceutical grade cannabis to supply a technological breakthrough in producing and formulating the first natural, truly water-soluble cannabis solution.
The company’s water-soluble ingredients and bio-natural oils will deliver revolutionary brands to international markets that are clamouring for well-defined commercial products. Sproutly’s business focus is to execute on partnerships with local and globally established consumer brands to leverage their existing customer bases, further expand brand loyalty, assist with marketing, and support distribution networks to deliver this scientific breakthrough with speed and efficiency worldwide.
What are your thoughts on the suddenly exploding medical marijuana trend? I think it’s great to see a lot of countries around the globe starting to implement medical cannabis programs or liberalizing the current ones they have in place. After seeing Germany update their existing medical program in early 2017, you’re seeing the medical cannabis floodgates open across the EU.
Europe has huge potential over the coming decade and that bodes well for Canada in terms of exporting cannabis to that region. South America is also making huge strides, and even more surprisingly, South Korea legalized medical cannabis in November of 2018 which is a major breakthrough for Southeast Asia. This is all great news for the global cannabis industry.
It seems that everything CBD from oils, gummies to drinks is all the rage, what are your thoughts on this? Is it good or bad for the industry and product? Overall, I think it will be a great thing for the industry and presents opportunities for the development of products in various categories. Consumers have become more health conscious and are looking for healthier alternatives to a lot of their favourite products.
One opportunity Sproutly is seeing is rise in demand for functional CBD beverages and carbonated CBD drinks as the demand for sodas and sugary beverages reaches 30-year lows. Sproutly can extract the water-soluble forms of CBD from the cannabis plant which produces a solution that we call Infuz2O. This solution can be used to formulate countless CBD based products from beverages, edibles, topicals and other consumable products.
As we spoke on the phone, you’re based in Vancouver–a well-known hub of cannabis–what are your thoughts on how America is dealing with and handling the growth of medical marijuana? It’s encouraging to see that 32 states now have legalized cannabis for medical purposes along with numerous other states plus Washington DC legalizing adult recreational use as well.
It’s only a matter of time before we see it legalized at a federal level especially with Canada being the first of the G7 countries to move forward. One can see the US feeling the fear of missing out and wanting to catch up with their neighbours to the north and legalizing federally sooner rather than later.
Do you feel we are closer to cannabis and medical marijuana become legal worldwide? We are. I think a pretty significant key indicator of that is the expansion across the EU and most importantly, seeing it start to get a foothold in Southeast Asia with South Korea legalizing medical use. There will still be countries that refuse to legalize, but overall things are heading in the right direction for the majority of the globe.
Do you feel we will reach a point where it’ll become a legal multi-global billion-dollar business–like tobacco? We’re already there in North America. In 2017, the North American market alone was close to $10 billion and that is projected to reach somewhere between $40 – $50 billion within the next decade.
The rest of the globe will be slower to catch up with them just starting to liberalize their medical programs, but we’ll see it start to catch wind as they start ramping up legalization of recreational adult-use. This isn’t even taking into account the boom in growth that ancillary industries will see such as renewable energy systems, sustainable agriculture, food and beverage, along with others.
Not sure if you ever watching the SHO series, “Weeds” starring Mary-Louise Parker, if so, do you feel it’s an accurate portrayal of “weed culture” Our understanding of what the modern cannabis user looks like has evolved a lot ever since the legalization of recreational cannabis in Colorado in 2014. The typical stoner stereotype is severely outdated. With more marketing research being conducted every day, we’re seeing that the modern user is a lot more complex.
They are working professionals, physically active, and well educated. Even this current profile of a user is probably overly simplified. There are a whole host of reasons that people use cannabis. Everything from pain management, wellness, sleep and relaxation, mood enhancement, or even social interactions to name a few. There will always be that creative side to the culture but there is a lot more going on under the hood when it comes to cannabis users.
In the HBO series, “Ballers” Season 2 dealt with one of the characters using weed for pain management. Do you think that sports leagues will one day legalize it? That’s tough to say. You would have to see some movement on legalization at a federal level before a lot of sports leagues would entertain that option. CBD has a lot of benefits to aid in pain management and recovery so that would be the easiest path forward for a lot of the sports leagues to allow cannabis use.
As more diverse product selection becomes available, and a deeper understanding of CBD along with the research and data to back up its benefits becomes available, you could definitely see sports leagues ease their stance on cannabis use.
Any last words regarding medical marijuana, cannabis and CBD? Aside from THC and CBD, the cannabis plant has over 100 other cannabinoids and over 400 other compounds present in various amounts throughout. One of the revolutionary aspects of Sproutly’s patent-pending, truly natural water-soluble cannabis extraction method is its ability to retain the full plant profile of the cannabis plant.
This means that we can really harness the potential benefits that these compounds have to offer and because it is truly water soluble, it increases the ability of body to absorb the compounds and put them to use. The products that we will develop now and, in the future, will allow people to consume those cannabinoids in their truest form to experience the true benefits that the cannabis plant has to offer. This is what excites me the most.
Special thanks to Mr. Keith Dolo, Sproutly and Dwain S. Schenck of NYC-based cannabis public relations firm, Schenck Strategies for their time, help and assistance.