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Report: CBD companies can now sponsor MLB teams

Jun 23, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

“Only the UFC has currently sold this category, as all of the other major North American leagues have prohibited CBD sponsorships, largely due to the stigma associated with psychoactive cannabis”

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Major League Baseball (MLB) appears to have widened its sponsorship horizons by allowing CBD companies to throw their hats into the ring.

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According to the Sports Business Journal, CBD companies have received the green light to become sponsors.

MLB officials reportedly told team marketers in a conference call this week that CBD companies are now an “approved category,” that is as long as the firms can prove products have been certified by testing organization NSF and that THC levels or within regulated limits.

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NSF provides “certification, testing and auditing to public health standards in all key industries and sectors worldwide,” its website notes.

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CBD and CBD products derived from hemp are “no longer federally illegal” in the U.S., per the so-called Farm Bill passed in 2018, according to MacMillan law firm. That said, hemp means THC concentration cannot be more than 0.3 per cent on a dry weight basis.

“Only the UFC has currently sold this category, as all of the other major North American leagues have prohibited CBD sponsorships, largely due to the stigma associated with psychoactive cannabis,” the Sports Business Journal reports.

In March 2021, the UFC announced a five-year partnership with Love Hemp Group PLC, which supplies CBD and hemp products around the world.

While cannabis and CBD sponsorships may be few and far between when it comes to professional sporting teams, at least at present, there are some teams that have taken the plunge. Colorado’s first professional ultimate disc team, for example, recently welcomed Star Buds, which will have its logo featured on the team’s jersey.

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There are no shortage of CBD companies getting into the products game. Grandview Research has reported the global CBD market size was valued at US$5.18 billion ($6.7 billion) in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 16.8 per cent from 2022 to 2030.

“The demand for CBD for health and wellness purposes is high, which is the major factor driving the market,” the report states.

But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has noted that while it recognizes the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds may offer, it “is aware that some companies are marketing products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and that may put the health and safety of consumers at risk.”

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Noah Garden, chief revenue officer for the MLB, has reportedly said the league has had its eye on the CBD category for some time and that three to five brands are in the process of trying to get NSF-certified.

Beyond certification, the Sports Business Journal reports, any sponsorship moves will need the approval of the commissioner’s office.

CBD brands that do end up in deals with MLB teams or the league itself will, like rules governing sports betting ads, be eligible to air ads during MLB game telecasts, the publication reports.

Per Sports Pro Media, athletes with CBD sponsorship deals include golfer Bubba Watson, soccer ace Megan Rapinoe and former NFL star Rob Gronkowski.

According to Reuters, the MLB opted to eliminate all cannabis products from their drugs of abuse list in December of 2019. The idea is to treat cannabis the same way that alcohol is treated.

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