• Jeffrey Friedland

How Martha Stewart’s New Partnership with Canopy Growth Impacts the Future of Consumer Packaged Goo

March 11, 2019 - Martha Stewart has entered into a partnership and advisory role with the Canada-based cannabis producer, Canopy Growth. The objective is to initially develop CBD products for the animal health market.

Stewart is the well-known lifestyle authority and television personality. YouGov indicates that Martha Stewart is the 34th most popular television personality and the 5th most famous.

She founded Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, has written best selling books, and publishes the magazine, Martha Stewart Living. Stewart also hosted two television shows, Martha and Martha Stewart Living.

Canada-based Canopy Growth operates 10 licensed cannabis and hemp cultivation facilities totally 4.3 million square feet of capacity. Canopy Growth states that “Our vision is to be the number one cannabis company in the world.” Perhaps its relationship with Martha Stewart will help it achieve those objectives.

In addition to her role as an adviser to the company, Stewart’s collaboration with Canopy Growth also involves Sequential Brands Group, a firm she is closely associated with. Sequential Brands Group is a consumer brands company active in the home, fashion and active product and brand categories. The objective is the development of a broad range of product lines that include cannabinoids including CBD, starting with what Stewart describes as “sensible” products for pets. While Stewart is initially focusing on an animal health product line, it’s likely that her partnership with Canopy Growth will also be expanded to other product lines.

In announcing her involvement with Canopy Growth, Stewart stated, “I am delighted to establish this partnership with Canopy Growth and share with them the knowledge I have gained after years of experience in the subject of living… I'm especially looking forward to our first collaboration together, which will offer sensible products for people's beloved pets."

For consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs) a key question comes to mind. How does Stewart’s involvement with Canopy Growth impact my company and my interest in developing products that include CBD, or hemp seed oil?

For cannabis growers, including Canopy Growth, partnerships or collaborations with celebrities such as Martha Stewart are significant keys to building customer trust.

But, there is a bigger impact for the entire CPG industry. According to the Pew Research Center, 62 percent of Americans believe that the use of cannabis should be legalized. Martha Stewart’s joining the cannabis industry is now also a sign that cannabis and products that include cannabis are ready for prime time.

We believe that CPG companies should get off the sidelines, but what should they do?

Products produced with hemp seeds or hemp seed oil are now federally legal. Despite December’s Farm Bill, there are still undefined regulatory issues in using hemp derived CBD as a food additive or as a health, wellness or nutritional product. Those will be defined by the Food and Drug Administration, hopefully, sooner rather than later.

Our conclusion for CPG companies? Find a compatible product direction. Research and develop products now that include hemp seeds or hemp seed oil, since they can be sold nationally. At the same time, proceed with research and development with products that include CBD, so that when the regulations are defined, you can flip the switch and quickly enter the market. There are definitely first-to-market or early-to-market advantages.

©2019 by Phyto Intel Inc.