The CEO of a British CBD brand has spoken of his ambition to become the ‘Apple’ of the nascent industry.
Sam Watson heads up Dr Watson, which manufactures premium CBD products for the European, Japanese and US markets.
While the industry struggles with confusion over regulations and is reeling from issues with inferior quality and wildly varying levels of CBD and THC, Sam tells The Leaf Desk how he wants to build a company focused on traceability, transparency, and testing.
The entrepreneur, who has a background in finance and capital markets, is now focused on building Dr Watson into a billion-dollar global cannabis brand – despite only launching little more than a month ago.
He said: “We’re trying to become the Apple of CBD products. We want a brand that resonates with people, offering quality products where you know what you’re getting.
Sam describes Dr Watson’s range of vapes as its ‘iPod’, adding: “We’re excited about it.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of growth, not just oil and vape but a big move towards cosmetics.
“We’re developing a whole cosmetics line and we want to grow our presence in Japan and the US.
“Recreational legalisation is five years away”Sam Watson
“It’s early days, but our main goal is to be the most trusted brand in the space. We have customers in Japan, we’re tapping into US market. It’s going to resonate with consumers – and has already.”
The firm is named for his uncle and chief scientist Dr Richard Watson, who oversees the testing process.
Dr Watson products have QR codes that show the lab results of each batch. “We want to set the standard for the industry,” Sam adds.
Consumers have become better educated about CBD, but he admits confusion is still a major barrier.
He said: “This plant has been legal for a long time. CBD is not going to get you high. We get asked ‘is it a drug? Will it get me high’ and it’s on us to educate people and make sure they’re aware.
“People are starting to appreciate that difference.
Lack of data
“There’s a lack of clinical data and that’s because lack of funding for clinical trials. Big pharmaceutical can’t patent or own CBD so there isn’t much of an incentive.
“Hopefully that changes as research happens and clinical trials are funded.”
Sam believes CBD and hemp-derived products are not going to be the only evolutions for the cannabis plant over the coming years.
He says the British government will be eyeing the tax benefits of recreational cannabis as it seeks ways to offset the forecasted economic upheavals of Brexit.
He cites the US state of Colorado, which has surpassed $1 billion in tax revenue from cannabis sales since recreational use was legalised in 2014, and monthly tax and fee revenue from cannabis sales haven’t dipped below $20 million since July 2017.
“Recreational legalisation is five years away,” he said. “Brexit will help, when we’re out of the bloc we can do what we want – but we’ll need new revenue streams.
“It will be a big boost to the economy.”