How rolling CBD joints generated millions in sales for Wisconsin firm

How rolling CBD joints generated millions in sales for Wisconsin firm

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From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., dozens of workers at a production facility on the west side of Milwaukee crank out and package hundreds of thousands of Vance cigarettes each day.

It’s not tobacco that they’re rolling. The cigarettes bearing the Vance brand are made with hemp and they’re sold as CBD “joints,” yet another new item in the exploding market for CBD products.

Vance cigarettes are marketed as “guilt free smokes.” You don’t get high as with marijuana joints, but customers enjoy a nicotine-free product with the benefits (anti-inflammatory, anxiety-relief) touted by other CBD products, according to manufacturer Vance Global Inc.  

It’s a message that’s caught on quickly.

In just over a year, Vance Global has sold around 4 million CBD joints, said co-founders August Battles and Brandon Marhal.

“We were going to do it as an after-work thing to make money on the side,” Battles said. “It ended up blowing up.” The young founders, fueled by Red Bull and McDonald’s, think they’ve started the next Juul, the company synonymous with electronic cigarettes.

The Vance founders aren’t alone — Marhal’s dad and brother have both entered the market with competing brands.

A worker packages hemp cigarettes at Vance Global.

‘One of the top players’ in CBD business

Vance Global had about $3 million in revenue last year, according to the founders. That’s expected to soar to $15 million this year, they said. Vance cigarettes are sold in 46 states at around 14,000 stores, Battles said. 

At the production facility off South 38th Street in Milwaukee, workers decked out in teal lab coats and black gloves roll and hand pack the cigarettes into boxes of 10. They’re sold at smoke shops, convenience stores and gas stations across the country. A pack of their all-natural blend typically sells for $14.99. 



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