Key Qualities to Consider When Choosing a Hemp or CBD Supplier

By William Sumner, Hemp Content Manager, New Frontier Data

It is a buyer’s market in the hemp industry: Supply is high, biomass prices are low, and consumer demand is continuing to rise. Given the state of the market, hemp and CBD brands virtually have their pick of suppliers. That begs the question, though: How best to identify their supplier of choice? As ever, the devil is in the details, but operators should consider several factors before signing any contract.

    1. How is their customer service?
      The manner in which a company or brand goes about its business is telling, and true of hemp suppliers as well. What is their reputation? How do they handle disputes? What kind of quality assurances exist? Will they take responsibility for lost, faulty or late goods? Due diligence requires researching and ascertaining a supplier’s reputation before formalizing any agreements with them.
    2. Consider their production capabilities.
      It vital to confirm whether any supplier can reliably deliver to meet one’s needs. Enthusiasm is well and good, but ambitious promises only count when they are backed up, rather than failing in the clutch when the time comes. Given the highly regulated nature of the hemp industry, it should be relatively easy to determine how much a potential supplier can grow and whether they should be capable of delivering on time. Ask about their production acreage; if they have grown hemp before, inquire about a review of their production reports. Any reluctance from a supplier should be considered a red flag for concern.
    3. Determine their compliance status.
      In a highly controlled industry like hemp, it is vital to know whether a supplier is 100% compliant with regulations. Have their crops ever tested hot? If so, how often, and what has been their mitigation strategy? Has the supplier been hit with any violations for negligence? As it is unlikely that a hemp supplier will be immediately forthcoming about a bad compliance record, it is incumbent upon the marketer to do some homework.
    4. Check their recordkeeping.
      While they may seem mundane, operators should familiarize themselves with a supplier’s recordkeeping procedures. While hemp may not be a hazardous material, regulators tend to otherwise treat it as such, and strictly require records throughout each step of the production process. Where do they keep their records? Are they easily accessible? Are the files properly and transparently organized? If a supplier keeps sloppy records, the haphazard attitude may extend throughout other parts of their operations, presenting cause to be wary.
    5. Utilize their feedback.
      One efficient way to gauge a hemp supplier’s suitability is through a self-assessment questionnaire. It can be used to help identify performance gaps while helping assess the supplier’s knowledge of their own operation. Work with them to determine the most relevant metrics, as their input will help further gauge core competencies and overall expertise.