“Lots of Shades of Gray,” Gates Calderon Tells McClatchy Newspaper on Business Use of Hemp

The Kansas City Star interviewed Shook Partner Katie Gates Calderon about the business issues hemp farmers may face now that the product is legal to grow again in the United States. Companies use hemp to produce fabric, food and fuel, but entrepreneurs are capitalizing on manufacturing hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) consumer products.

The Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of ingestible CBD products, yet retail stores are popping up nationally with sales expected to exceed $20 billion by 2024, according to BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research. Claims of health benefits are usually enforced first according to the article.

“They’re not saying yes it’s fine, but they are also not saying we prohibit it,” Gates Calderon told The Kansas City Star and co-leads Shook’s Cannabis Law Practice. “There’s a lot of shades of gray. But that’s what makes the expansion of the industry – not just the growth of it, but the pace of it – so interesting.”

Even with the uncertainty, the publication reported one chain in Kansas City has 40 local stores.

“Just because it is risky doesn’t mean people aren’t going to get into it,” Gates Calderon said.

Recently, Shook launched a Cannabis Law Practice and produced a white paper on in-house counsel concerns over the maturation of the global cannabis market.