By Chloe Aiello
CBD is the latest hot trend in wellness ー and Alkaline Water Company is jumping aboard with a new CBD-infused water.
"We just see that as a market we can take right onto, and glom onto," Alkaline Water Company CEO Ricky Wright told Cheddar on Tuesday. "We already have a lifestyle health product in [alkaline water] ーwe see that as a natural extension."
The Alkaline Water Company ($WTER) announced in mid-December it would release hemp-infused, flavored, sparkling, and still waters under the brand "Soothe." Wright said the first bottling plant shipment happened this week, and the company is looking forward to bringing the products to market.
CBD is a "natural extension" of current wellness offerings from Alkaline Water Company, Wright said, which is best known for its wellness beverage Alkaline88, a higher pH water. Proponents claim alkaline water can help neutralize acid in the body, although Wright emphasized the company makes no health claims about Alkaline88. He said the company won't make claims about its new CBD products, either ー and thanks to the media, they don't have to.
"I think the media is doing a great job letting people know what the benefits, the potential health benefits are. We make no health claims," Wright said, adding that "everybody understands there are some benefits, particularly on the relaxation, particularly on the inflammation."
Cannabis industry analysts at the Brightfield Group projected the CBD market could balloon to $22 billion by 2022. It's numbers like those that got the Alkaline Water Company very excited.
"We just saw the growth. The growth opportunities are tremendous," Wright said.
The company was closely watching discussion about the recently signed Farm Bill, which contains language that legalizes the cultivation of industrial hemp, or cannabis-derived products with next to no THC. The Farm Bill has left the door cracked open for a legal CBD industry, but Wright acknowledged there are still many obstacles to navigate.
"The good news is I've got a couple of great attorneys," Wright joked. More seriously, he said guidance from the Food and Drug Administration has been thin, in part due to the government shutdown. A statement published Dec. 20, just two days before the shutdown, established a basic outline of how the FDA might navigate the change.
"We don't have a lot of guidance there, but we do know they are going to allow us to stay state-to-state. We won't do an interstate commerce type of thing until we get clearance," he said. "Along those lines, we are going for GRAS ー which is 'generally regarded as safe' ー certification on our products, so that would allow us to get past some of those other hurdles other companies will have to face."
The company plans to launch its Soothe beverages in grocery stores and conveniences stores in Washington and Nevada to start, and move onto other states as they iron out regulatory hurdles.
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