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CBD: A Love Story

Our affection for CBD started back in 2016. After an MS diagnosis, a loved one began suffering chronic pain and struggling with pain management. A variety of narcotics were prescribed but we were in search of a natural solution. They desired to live and feel well without the side effects of pharmaceuticals. We believe in herbal medicine and Earth’s ability to provide us with what we need. While spending time in Washington and Colorado, we visited regulated cannabis shops that do not exist in Texas and bought CBD products designed to help manage pain. Once back home in Texas, we quickly learned how effective CBD can be as a natural pain management tool. MS is a serious disease and to be clear, CBD is not a cure for the disease, however, our loved one was able to improve comfort in their daily life without the cognitive side effects that prescription pain medication added. It was an exciting time because we believed in the potential of these natural products and the results we experienced first hand. The problem that still remained is how to get these products consistently in Texas. This is where the idea of our hemp CBD brand was born and our journey to Live • Feel • Well begins. We immediately began to forge relationships with local suppliers of raw ingredients and packaging supplies. We took our time formulating recipes that were designed for maximum functionality. This was a long process of trial, feedback, improve and repeat. Once formulations were set, we began designing labels and manufacturing products. Laboratory tests were completed on each finished batch to ensure accuracy. Lastly, our website was built, social media pages created and order forms made just in time for our first order in late 2017!

We would quickly learn the challenges that come along with the CBD industry. The stigma of hemp and CBD was often questioned at this time. Many consumers lumped our products as “marijuana” and immediately dismissed the validity of our industry as a whole. In Texas, we did not see the same level of support for the medicinal benefits of cannabis as we did in other regulated states. In addition, the lack of consumer education became an issue partially due to how quickly the industry expanded. A lot of folks didn’t understand that we were not selling something that will get them high. A lot of misleading and even false information begins to pop up online. This challenge still remains. The next hurdle was payment processing. To date, FDIC banks view Hemp companies the same as Marijuana businesses. The only major US bank that processed CBD payments abruptly ended their entire CBD portfolio and left many having to jump through hoops in order to process a credit card. How can you operate a website today without being able to accept a Visa card? Not easily. In fact, many of us turned to high risk, high fee processing based in the U.K. without any other options available.  At least we got to have a functional website, continue to fulfill orders and keep our customers happy. These frustrations were short lived as we began to get customer feedback and testimonials written to us. The joy and satisfaction we felt was overwhelming as we heard how our products were impacting our customer’s lives. Stories were shared of anxiety relief, pain management and how those things impacted their overall wellness. Product reviews were written about how quality of life was positively influenced by using our products. We had letters mailed to our office and began receiving phone calls from people thanking us for being in business. While stocking shelves, pharmacists and store managers shared stories that their customers wanted passed along. Hearing this was rewarding and made it very easy to see past some of the insignificant imperfections and focus on the journey to help others Live • Feel • Well.

Fast forward to the 2018 Farm Bill passing. This bill offered clarity for the legality around CBD products, provided protection for hemp farmers and made it easier to perform clinical tests on the efficacy of CBD. In addition, having these new laws on the books encouraged new businesses to enter into the hemp CBD industry. Everyone in the industry that we had ever met was calling, texting and emailing about the great news. The biggest immediate impact was the independent pharmacies’ willingness to shelf and sell CBD products. Having our products in this setting began helping with credibility and confidence of consumers to purchase. No longer were CBD products secluded to smoke shops. You could now begin discussing CBD products with a medical professional. This was the first hum of the now buzzing CBD industry.

In June of 2019, Texas passed it’s own legislation to legalize growing hemp and the sale of CBD products. This was a major step in the development of the hemp market in our home state. These new regulations matched the previously passed Federal Farm Bill in December of 2018. In addition, Texas added additional transparency regulations by requiring CBD products to be labeled with a QR code that leads to 3rd party test results. We were already doing this to provide confidence of purchase to our customers. We believe Texas has paved the way for its farmers to lead the nation in hemp production.

The passage of Texas HB1325 brought the emergence of many different CBD retail stores throughout the state and many more existing retailers added CBD to their inventory. We also saw a quick rise in the demand for more CBD options for pets. This inspired us to formulate another product for our pet line and we created Peanut Butter Pet Wafers. These crunchy treats were well received by our customers and wholesalers. Even our furry companions can find natural relief and are able to Live • Feel • Well. Fast-paced growth for the industry continued throughout the year. It also brought additional testing focused on CBD and its impact on stress/anxiety, pain and inflammation. More importantly, we continue to make new customers and get more feedback on how our products are positively impacting their lives. This will never get old.

2020 has our hemp farmers planting the first seeds in Texas. New testing facilities are being created and existing labs are adding the ability to test hemp as part of their offering. We value being able to support our local community by partnering with local companies. The banking industry is slowly starting to open up to CBD businesses as the US Congress inches closer to passing legislation to update regulations. In fact, last month we got our debit/credit card processing back to the US with one of the largest domestic processors. We have found validation from our customer’s testimonies and their continued support. This next year will see us invest into new products and potentially a new category of products. We plan on continuing to share more of our customer’s stories. Also, we plan to provide consumers with an easy way to view ongoing and complete scientific studies on hemp and CBD. During these exciting times in the industry, the desire to help people is still paramount. Live • Feel • Well

Team Hempsy • • @hempsycbd •

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