UK CBD industry challenges

UK CBD Industry & its challenges – a conversation

Hannah Wenn and the founding of Hannabis 

I first met Hannah Wenn, co-founder of award-winning UK-based CBD brand Hannabis through a mutual friend. We met up in person at the CBD Expo in 2019 in Birmingham, found that our initial impressions of each other were spot on, and that meeting resulted in the birth of the Conscious Cannabis Club a short while later.

To begin with Hannabis was simply a brand that sold other branded CBD products, but at some point Hannah felt that she could no longer promote the products of companies that didn’t really reflect her values. Her friend Nicole encouraged her to start making her own products and Hannah took the bait; Hannabis officially launched June 14th 2019 and was an award-winning company by December of the same year. 

Hannah didn’t actually smoke weed until she was 18, but has smoked almost every day since then. This mirrors my experience too, and seems to relate to many people; that when we’re younger we use it as a party drug but later realise how it can be beneficial for mental and physical health.

The cannabis industry in the UK

As Hannah explains, the cannabis industry in the UK is a very complex thing. In many ways it’s fundamentally fragmented between the THC and CBD camp; there are for example, people who say they’re cannabis activists but are actually THC activists who hate CBD companies. Others are trying to close the divide within the industry. Much of the opinion clash is related to the legality issues that cloud public opinion around cannabis.

The community is very active; Hannah and Nicole have been to three expos in Birmingham in the last year and have made many interesting connections and had a great time. At the moment there are a lot of big companies getting into the CBD market while it’s booming and using sexist marketing, which feels a bit disappointing; most CBD companies exist to help people and don’t use discriminatory sales practices.

Many smaller events at festivals are more family-friendly, and increasingly there are events specifically for women (one company we want to highlight is Endobox, see resources). These are great places to make strong connections with potential suppliers and partners, and the in-person meeting helps you ascertain whether or not someone is really a good fit to partner with.

The key challenge for Hannah has been the tension within the industry; the fact that not everyone really has their heart in the game and having to let go of the expectation that everyone in the industry will be lovely. It’s a reality that just because you both like the cannabis plant doesn’t mean you’re destined to be friends so when you find your people, hang on to them!

The growth of Hannabis and Conscious Cannabis Club Membership 

Hannabis has existed for less than a year but the growth has been explosive. The affiliate community has also been growing and is now at around 250 members and growing. It’s effectively a business in a box where all members need to do is connect with people and promote the products. With the growth that happened they needed to bring an Affiliate Manager on board; cue Jess. Jess now takes on the brunt of the work and training of the affiliates.  

A big learning for Hannah has been getting into all the science behind the use of CBD. Another major piece is the mindset shifts that come with being an entrepreneur and the self-love that is required to be able to really show up at your best; to prioritise doing what’s right for you, even if it means rescheduling plans. It’s a skill to learn and one that will serve you for the rest of your life. 

The Conscious Cannabis Club Membership is an amazing community, with coworking sessions every Monday for accountability for the week, guest speakers every month, and access to all three of us (Hannah, Nicole and myself). No matter what state of your business you’re at, you need peers you can get support from, learn with and celebrate your wins with – we created the community for ourselves so we’re right there with you, learning together.

Are you interested in getting into the cannabis industry? If so, what’s stopping you? Get in touch and let me know!

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