When Global Cannabinoids CEO Ryan Lewis saw increased demand for hand sanitizer in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak, he immediately saw an opportunity to transition his CBD operations to hand sanitizer production to help address the supply shortage.
“In January, while we were analyzing search results online, we noticed a spike in hand sanitizer,” Lewis tells Cannabis Business Times. “We were looking at consumer products in certain categories that we could potentially add cannabinoids into, like animal health products, skincare products, personal care products [and] cosmetics. So, we see hand sanitizer. … Places are selling out. Prices are going up. [We said], ‘You know what? Let’s launch a CBD hand sanitizer.’”
Global Cannabinoids, a B2B producer, manufacturer and distributor of American-grown, hemp-derived cannabinoids, then formed a new entity, Global Sanitizers LLC, and directed its large supply of ethanol to hand sanitizer manufacturing.
While Global Sanitizers had no shortage of the ethanol used in its hemp extraction process, only certain types of ethanol, 40-B and 3-C denatured ethanol, are approved by the FDA for topical use, Lewis said. The company worked quickly with its partners to secure hundreds of thousands of gallons of these types of ethanol, and sent CBD to its manufacturing facilities to produce the infused sanitizer in bulk.
Global Sanitizers’ line of hand sanitizers is now being sold to big box retailers under the “Medically Minded” brand, and in the past week alone, the company has secured over $15 million in orders.
The company also donates a portion of its hand sanitizer to first responders, and its first donation went to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
However, even with its vast supply of ethanol, Lewis said the company is not immune to supply chain challenges stemming from the coronavirus outbreak.
“The first thing that happened was China shut down—all the factories shut down,” he said.
This left Global Sanitizers unable to obtain the bottles, labeling and other packaging materials it needed for the sanitizer. Lewis has since purchased all the packaging he could from U.S. manufacturers to keep his operations running.
“The reality here is that this is the perfect storm, and there are a lot of challenges,” he said. “That’s where the opportunity lies."