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Self professed “cannabis tech” startup Rainbow wants to use cannabis in as many ways as possible

French startup Rainbow, founded last year, is successfully breaking into the cannabis market. Billing itself as a “cannabis tech” startup, they successfully raised €1 million from private investors. Already gaining traction with its popular Kaya brand of relaxation goods, they are now pushing into cosmetics and other diverse fields, despite a difficult regulatory environment in their home country.

Desmond O'Flynn

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This picture show some gummi bears.

The French start-up Rainbow was founded in 2019 in Paris by five entrepreneurs who raised €1 million from private investors such as La Fabrique Cookies and Michel and Augustin. Its credo: to offer a varied range of products based on hemp. It presents itself as a “cannabis tech” company.

Based in Paris and with seven employees, Rainbow brings together five partners, including the founding team of Vaïvaï, which imported coconut water into France (Emmanuel Jesberger, Gaétan Laederich and Camille Brocco), Ludovic Rachou, founder of the innovative confectionery brands One Gum and Bonsaï, and Alison Ouvrier-Neyret, doctor of pharmacy, who has developed many cosmetic brands.

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Confectionary and Cosmetics

Rainbow launched its wellness brand, Kaya, in July and wants to continue with its Peace & Skin cosmetic brand to relax consumers with the virtues of hemp and other adaptogenic plants. “Hemp has a lot of potential because its benefits are not well known, the crop is undervalued and a victim of cannabis stereotypes. Moreover, its use is a victim of administrative blockage in France, which is why Kaya was first launched in the United Kingdom,” explains Ludovic Rachou, the founder.

“Relax with products that everyone loves” is the Kaya promise. Chewing gum, vitamin-rich gummy bears, oils to put under the tongue; their products are accessible, simple and effective. They are made from adaptogenic plants and cannabidiol (CBD) found in hemp, they are called “THC free” because they contain no THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). It is indeed THC that is of interest to recreational cannabis users; apart from Kaya’s products, they contain CBD, which is not a psychotropic drug.

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They are not currently produced in France. But the hemp comes from French cultivation.

Hemp bags made in France

In addition to hemp flower-based products, the start-up also plans to partner with the textile company Les Tissages de Charlieu (near Roanne, in the Loire) to produce more durable, reusable bags made from the fiber.

As an alternative to kraft and cotton bags, future hemp fiber bags would be eco-responsible, thanks to a French manufacture made from hemp grown on the territory with “a very good carbon footprint” and reusable.

French law concerning the use of CBD remains unclear

The development of hemp start-ups remains limited in France due to legislation. Ludovic Mendes, a member of parliament (LREM) from the Moselle constituency, believes that there is “a lot of added value in this product” that is the CBD. However, French legislation on this subject still seems to be flawed because, unlike THC, which is considered a narcotic and falls under Article 222-37 of the Penal Code, CBD as such is not considered a narcotic product and is therefore not prohibited by law. However, CBD may be marketed in France only under the following cumulative conditions: the varieties of hemp grown must appear on the exhaustive list set out in Article 2 of the Order of 22 August 1990; the cannabis plant must have a THC content of less than 0.2% and only its seeds and fibers may be used; the product must not contain any trace of THC. This article does not authorize the marketing and use of hemp leaves or flowers.

It allows the use of certain varieties and parts of hemp for industrial and commercial purposes, but the communications by sellers of CBD products must not make any therapeutic claims. In France, only medicines authorized by the ANSM or the European Medicines Agency can be presented in this way.

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First published in USINE NOUVELLE, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

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Desmond O’Flynn believes in minimalism and the power of beer. As a young reporter for some of the largest national publications, he has lived in the world of finance and investing for nearly three decades. He has since included world politics and the global economy in his portfolio. He also writes about entrepreneurs and small businesses, as well as innovation in fintech, gambling, and cannabis industries.