Emerging markets are one of the most exciting spaces for investors to enter. These spaces are often the untested Wild West, run by trailblazers and iconoclasts, defined by a rogue outlaw culture which captivates the public’s imagination. With proper nourishment, the seeds in any emerging market multiply many times over, grow into something beloved by many and create a more equitable society.

Cannabis and hemp have a complicated history in the United States. For decades, cannabis was subject to an unfair war on drugs that targeted marginalized groups, while wasting billions in taxpayer dollars. CBD’s rise in recent years played an instrumental role in mainstreaming responsible legislation, helping change the national conversation around the different use cases of an agriculture product and how it can become a driver for economic growth and social change.

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Being on the ground floor of CBD has allowed investors to ride the product’s coattails into established industries like the food and beverage sector, health and wellness, and fitness. Our CBD company, PureKana, has entered into partnerships with some of the brands beloved by active millennials (especially young women), including No B.S. Skincare and Trubar. Only in an emerging market like CBD can investors increase their exposure to multiple other industries simultaneously, while enjoying tailwinds of profit and the excitement of taking part in something new.

There comes a moment in any emerging market where an institutional frenzy occurs, and the space becomes recognized as a new staple of the modern economy. While the past few years have seen numerous consolidations in the CBD space, 2021 may become its most exciting year to-date. Last month, the National Football League (NFL) announced it had opened up a research committee to explore how CBD affects pain management in players and could be used as an alternative to opiates. Establishing this committee indicates a shift away from stigmatizing athletes who use cannabis and CBD to treat pain, to wanting to better understand the holistic properties of this unique plant.

As more and more institutions funnel resources into better understanding CBD, and the sector continues merging with other longstanding industries, those on the frontlines will take part in transforming society.

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Kathy Casey is the CEO of PureKana. She previously served in senior leadership positions at Procter & Gamble, as well as Kellogg’s.