With two months having passed since Benzinga’s last Cannabis Capital Conference in Chicago and two months remaining until the next one in Miami, we decided to check in with some of the influential companies that make each conference such an exciting and informative experience.
For this article, we check in with Abacus Health Products, Inc. (OTCMKTS:ABAHF), one of the leading producers of topical CBD products in North America. We follow up on their presentation from the Chicago Cannabis Capital Conference and get a survey of their growing prominence in the retail and clinical space as well as their partnership with former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
From The Conference
For those who missed the last event, Abacus’ VP of Corporate Development Jonathan Conforti presented information on the company’s strong growth through 2019.
In particular, Conforti outlined the successful expansion of Abacus’s two main CBD product lines, CBDMEDIC, it’s over-the-counter topical treatments, and CBD CLINIC, which it markets through licensed medical practitioners, chiropractors and physical therapists.
At the time of the event in October, Conforti reported that Abacus’s CBDMEDIC products were present in 3,000 stores across 18 different retail chains. More impressive was the fact that the company could boast 13 unique product SKUs featured in the largest retail pharmacy chain in the United States.
On the clinical front, Conforti expressed the broad acceptance that Abacus’s products have gained for treating pain among practitioners and therapists. Part of this enthusiastic adoption can be attributed to the fact that, unlike many products in the CBD space, Abacus Health’s products are registered with the FDA and are able to make medical claims based on the inclusion of active pharmaceutical ingredients such as menthol and camphor.
Apart from shelf space and the backing of health care practitioners, Abacus has also earned the endorsement of NFL superstar Rob Gronkowski, who has helped the brand find wider adoption with athletes.
Abacus’ Accounting Of 2019 And 2020
Apart from the backward-looking growth statistics, Abacus also spent some time during the presentation to look ahead to the end of 2019 and the start of a new year. This included projections about the number of retail stores the company expects to land in and what their time table is for breaching international markets
To get some contemporary insight into the company, we spoke with Conforti about Abacus’ takeaways from fiscal year 2019 and their plans for 2020.
Benzinga: During the Cannabis Conference, you stated that you expect Abacus’ CBDMEDIC products to be in about 5,000-6,000 stores by the end of 2019? How has the projection shaped out?
Conforti: Very well! We have already received purchase orders for stores representing over 7,000 retail locations. We are pleased to say that we have surpassed our goal of 5,000-6,000 locations by the end of 2019.
Benzinga: You also stated the company has plans to expand into European markets through 2020. Do you have any added insight into how Abacus plans on approaching this goal?
Conforti: As with any new expansion Abacus is taking the time to understand the current market and regulations of each new region. Within the EU there are differences when it comes to CBD and cannabis regulations but we are actively evaluating which countries it makes sense to enter first and expect to be in the European market in the second half of 2020.
Benzinga: How has the sponsorship with Rob Gronkowski influenced your products or product marketing in the direction of athletes and injury treatment?
Conforti: Abacus’ partnership with Rob Gronkowski has been incredibly successful for us, with significant growth in awareness of our products by both consumers as well as retail chain buyers. His advocacy for the use of CBD in professional sports has also been widely covered and we’ve had strong feedback from athletes about their use of our products or interest in trying them. Our subsequent partnership with Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place further leverages the Gronk effect. This wide exposure has increased the visibility of our brands, moreover as arguably one of the best tight ends in history whose career was ended because of pain we benefit from how well his story resonates with consumers.
Benzinga: How Does Abacus Health see the CBD market evolving over the next year? What role do you see regulation and consumer education playing in this evolution?
Conforti: As the CBD market continues to grow quickly in the US and expand globally Abacus is excited to be a part of this important history of making high quality and legal CBD products available to consumers across the country. We have often discussed the inflection point when we go from having CBD products in select locations to being seen on a national scale across the traditional retail food, drug and mass channels. With the adoption of our products by some of the largest retail pharmacy chains, we are now looking forward to the continued roll-out of our products through their entire chains.
On the regulatory front, we believe that safety considerations will be the focus during 2020 and expect smaller companies to face challenges if required to implement costly quality systems and achieve certifications like cGMP – we are supportive of this and our products are produced in accordance with these quality levels. We believe strongly in consumer education and create educational content for our customers which is available on our website. It is also very important for us that consumers understand that our products are safe, legal and effective.
Be sure to stay up-to-date with all of the latest cannabis industry news, interviews and insights by visiting Benzinga’s Cannabis page. And don’t forget to register and grab your tickets for the upcoming Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference taking place February 24-25, 2020, in Miami, FL.