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These 2 Major Events Shook Up the CBD Industry in 2021

The big stories of the year so far slipped by the mainstream media radar.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Every industry has had to reinvent itself over the last year and a half. The CBD industry has been one of those industries that have benefitted a bit more than others.

Much has been written about the pandemic's effect on the CBD industry, but not enough on two major events that are quietly affecting the growth of the industry. 

The truth is that CBD has caught on, there might still be a few fights to win, but the distance covered over the last seven years has been impressive. These two things are two of the most recent impactful occurrences in the industry. 

Related: CBD Use On the Upswing, Industry Will Rebound by 2022

Tokyo Olympics

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics was saturated with news about the heightened Covid restrictions and the hurried nature of the Olympics. As the event went on, the spectacular sporting achievements of people such as Sydney Mclaughlin and Lamont Marcell Jacobs took center stage. But one story that went largely underreported? For the first time in the history of the Olympics, athletes were allowed to use CBD in Tokyo 2021.  

The effect of this concession on the part of the governing body might seem trivial, but in the grand scheme of things, it is a massive step forward for the CBD industry. 

The very nature of CBD makes it specifically beneficial for treating pain, anxiety, and sleep abnormalities, all issues that affect athletes.

The acceptance of CBD on the big stage will catapult CBD products further into the mainstream as a go-to solution for sportspeople of various kinds. The athletics community has always made up a large part of the target market for CBD businesses, and there was no greater platform on which to open the door than the Olympics itself, a melting point of all kinds of sports and athletics. 

The direct involvement of the USWNT captain, Megan Rapinoe, in the recent publicity of CBD is quite impactful. Megan's admission to using CBD in her routine has been heard across the board. She has always been a passionate speaker. Her advocacy for CBD as a healthier alternative medication has opened the door for many other CBD brands to attract sports people as brand ambassadors and for marketing purposes

Sports and CBD have always been a match made in heaven, but after the Tokyo Olympics, it seems that that relationship is about to be taken to the next level. 

The ECJ Ruling 

Sometime in 2020, Kanavape, a Czech company that manufactures CBD oil-based e-cigarette, stopped marketing their products in France. The manufacturers were convicted on drug charges and sentenced to an 18 months jail term plus a €10,000 fine. This conviction was based on France's blanket ban on marketing products derived from the hemp plant.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) waded into the conflict and introduced a needed dose of clarity into the conflict between CBD and the legal framework of many European countries.  

The ECJ ruled that the decision sought to restrict the trade lawfully manufactured and marketed products in another EU member state. It pointed out that this is not allowed except where it can sufficiently show that the product poses a health risk to public health. 

The ECJ also pointed out that CBD "does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health according to the current state of scientific knowledge."

By this November 2020 decision of the ECJ, it became obvious that CBD is generally not classified as an illegal substance in Europe. On the wings of this decision alone, scores of CBD-based businesses have begun in Europe, and many more are expanding. 

One of the most substantial effects of this decision is the growth in the cultivation of the hemp plant. For example, the Portuguese company Blueco from Faracha Equities will focus on therapeutic cannabis cultivation and phycocyanin eco-extraction and spirulina cultures. 

Blueco even launched its ICO earlier this year to fund its creative plans. The legal frameworks of the different nations will begin taking more explicit actions to include CBD in the list of approved foods and drugs. 

As of today, Europe has the 2nd largest CBD market in the world –only behind North America. Europe has seen an explosion in CBD products from gummies and potato chips to CBD facial masks. The enthusiasts believe that Europe just might be neck and neck with North America in the fight to dominate the industry by the end of next year.

No matter who wears the crown by the end of 2022, we should applaud the CBD industry's resilience.

The CBD industry is predicted to grow to become a $5 billion industry by the end of 2025. If that is not a massive growth from the early days of 2014, then I do not know what is.