No. No. Maybe. Yes! CBD And Supercross Join Up
It's interesting how fast time flies and how quickly things can change. It seems like it was just eight months ago that the Supercross series and moto industry was in a bit of a quagmire when riders were barred from promoting the CBD industry through sponsorships of brands like Ignite and cbdMD. Well, just a few days ago Feld Motorsports announced that the later company will now be the exclusive CBD partner for Monster Energy Suprecross and Monster Energy Cup.
That's quite the turnaround from when Dean Wilson was asked to cover his Ignite logos at the start of the 2019 SX season and then Chad Reed had to do the same several rounds later in Arlington, TX.
Last year when Deano started the season as a privateer he had secured a sponsorship with Ignite, which also sells marijuana but Dean's deal was only with the CBD side of the business. This created an issue because while the federal government had approved the Farm Bill the year prior, which made it legal for CBD derived from hemp and as long as it contained no more than 0.3% THC, there was still plenty of grey area as far as laws for individual states and or cities. Not all states allowed for CBD use and there was the issue of promotion/marketing via the televised broadcast of Supercross races to states that may not have legalized CDB.
So with the traveling nature of the series and its nationwide broadcast you could see why it was determined by the organizers to ban riders from showcasing any CDB logos on their person or bikes. Feld, the AMA, and NBC (the broadcaster), had to do the smart thing and cover their butts from any potential fines or penalties. So while Chad Reed showed up to round 6 in Minnesota, where CBD is legal, with the cbdMD sponsorship, he somewhat slipped through because of timing and location and raced with the logos visible. The following week however, before the Arlington, Texas, race the AMA laid out the groundwork for a ban on CBD sponsorship in the pits, bikes, or rider's gear. At the time CBD was not legal in Texas, however it was legalized several months later in June when Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law.
The AMA's announcement regarding the ban on marketing CBD sponsorships/promotion released before the Arlington Race last year race stated:
Due to the ongoing issues arising from CBD Product sponsorships, we are providing the following notice to riders and their teams.
- The law regarding CBD products, including their lawful sale, possession, advertising, and sponsorship of them, is unsettled. Notwithstanding the change in federal law in December 2018, there are no federal regulations in place yet on how these products can be advertised or promoted. CBD and related products are not completely legal in all 50 states and there are various restrictions on their sale and promotion.
- Signage or promotional displays for CBD-related products will not be allowed in the pit areas.
- No rider will be allowed to race with logos or other promotional displays on their person, their uniform, their gear, or on their bike.
- The AMA will be enforcing this at inspection points and at any other time a violation is brought to the attention of Feld Motor Sports or the AMA. Riders will be required to cover or remove any logo before being allowed to race and at no time during the event are the display of CBD-related logos permitted. Failure to comply with this will result in a rider being removed from a race or denied entry.
- In addition, sanctions may be applied pursuant to the AMA Supercross rule book for any rider who violates this policy.
That statement was issued on February, jump ahead to the middle of September and we got some light at the end of the tunnel when the AMA released a Bulletin with an update to CBD sponsorships outlining how riders could secure and promote CDB companies.
CBD Product Related Sponsorships -- Updated
-Due to recent changes in state laws, limited hemp-based cannabidiol "CBD" product sponsorships at certain onsite Event locations during the upcoming 2020 Supercross season will be allowed subject to the following requirements and restrictions contained herein.
â¢ Eligibility requirements
-CBD products must be derived from hemp and contain less than .3% tetrahydrocannabinol ("THC").
-CBD logos or signage that include or relate to cannabis are prohibited.
-CBD product sponsorships are void in whole or in part wherever prohibited by law.
-Any rider, team and/or sponsor that wishes to promote CBD products at Supercross events voluntarily consent in advance to all rules, requirements and practices applicable at each Event as determined by the AMA, FIM and Feld Motor Sports in their sole discretion.
â¢ Signage or promotional displays for CBD related products will be allowed in the pit areas
-The distribution or sale of any CBD related products or samples at any Event is strictly prohibited.
-Promotional materials cannot be directed toward or appealing to children 18 years of age or younger.
â¢ Rider and Team responsibilities
-Riders accepting CBD product sponsorships do so at their own risk.
-Each rider, team and sponsor is solely responsible for complying with all federal, state and local laws and regulations regarding CBD products, including their lawful sale, possession, advertising, and sponsorship of them.
-Neither the AMA, FIM, nor Feld Motor Sports (and their respective related entities and personnel) will provide any legal advice or assume any legal responsibility for any rider or team that undertakes a CBD product sponsorship.
â¢ Broadcast restrictions
-Broadcast restrictions remain uncertain at this time. No rider, team or sponsor should assume that any promotional displays of CBD product on the track that may be captured by the broadcast will be allowed until further notice.
- Riders who race with logos or other promotional displays on their person, their uniform,their gear, or on their bike do so at their own risk. The AMA, FIM and Feld Motor Sports reserve the right to require all logos or displays on riders and equipment be covered or removed immediately.
Obviously this was much welcomed news by many as it opened up a plethora of new sponsorship opportunities for the ridders and teams. As we've seen over the years, finding sponsorship money outside of the industry is a tough job with most companies who would possibly consider helping out a rider or team having already been tapped or having already tapped out. The CBD industry is fresh with new businesses eager to reach a market that they feel would benefit from the medical and therapeutic benefits many of these CBD companies claim.
Jump ahead to just the other day, October 22, and we are now looking at the complete opposite side of the coin from back in February with Feld jumping on board the CBD train and bringing cbdMD directly into Supercross on their own behalf.
Press Release from Feld Motorsports
Ellenton, Fla.,-Feld Motor Sports, Inc. announced today that cbdMD, Inc. (NYSE American: YCBD) has come on board as the exclusive CBD partner for both Monster Energy Supercross and the Monster Energy Cup. The multi-year agreement officially began at the annual all-star event held at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas this past weekend and will extend into the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, season.
"We're excited to be the first motorsport to have an exclusive deal within the CBD category," said Jason Bitsoff, SVP of Global Sponsorship for Feld Entertainment. "Supercross is leading the way in the motorsports industry and we're always looking at partners that are also category leaders."
cbdMD sponsors an array of professional athletes that cover a broad spectrum of sports, from pro surfing, beach volleyball, golf and tennis, to MMA and Supercross. The Monster Energy Cup, an invite-only race attracted the elite of the sport both on and off the track and featured a potential $1 million purse, the largest prize in motorcycle racing, and included an iconic in-seating track section dubbed the cbdMD skyhook.
"As a category exclusive partnership with Feld Motor Sports, cbdMD is excited to expand our relationship to both Monster Energy Supercross and their fans. We feel this fast-growing sport is the perfect platform for our products, and the weekend was nothing short of a huge success for our vision for the future and the growth of our brand," said Caryn Dunayer, President cbdMD.
There wasn't a whole lot of time between when the AMA Bulletin went out about the use CBD related sponsorships and this press release announcing the relationship between Feld and cbdMD. It was just over a month's time between the two. But looking back at the AMA Bulletin there are a few things in there that seem to raise some flags.
Most notable is this: "Broadcast restrictions remain uncertain at this time. No rider, team or sponsor should assume that any promotional displays of CBD product on the track that may be captured by the broadcast will be allowed until further notice."
And then there's this: "Riders who race with logos or other promotional displays on their person, their uniform, their gear, or on their bike do so at their own risk. The AMA, FIM and Feld Motor Sports reserve the right to require all logos or displays on riders and equipment be covered or removed immediately."
It sounds like the AMA is still in "cover your butt" mode and therefore made the smart decision to put in those precautions to warn riders and sponsors that thigs are still up in the air. Could this affect the relationship between CBD sponsorships and Supercross? I wouldn't think so simply based on the fact that cbDMD has quickly emerged as the early leader in the CDB industry and is already a major sponsor with many professional athletes. They also recently became a sponsor with Bellator MMA which gets broadcast to millions of homes in the US. Plus the lawyers for Feld, the AMA, NBC, and cbdMD have most likely done their due diligence to ensure everything is in the clear moving forward. But then again, while CBD is federally legal, the FDA is still working on how to address this burgeoning market. So who knows what could happen before or during the season. Look how quickly the 180 was made to get to this point.