The cannabis business has been getting more and more competitive these last several years. In the U.S., state after state has legalized medicinal and recreational weed. Then, last year Canada went whole hog on it and the U.K. started making extracts too. But now, as in many other industries, U.S. extract companies may have something to fear from Chinese competitors too.

The New York Times reports that Chinese companies are getting heavy into the CBD extracts game, finding a profitable business in exporting the cannabinoid internationally. So far, only two provinces have legalized it, with only a handful of companies licensed to manufacture concentrates. But many more are looking jump on the cannabis train.

Processing, selling, posessing, or using THC is still very illegal in China, resulting in seriuos jail time and even the death penalty in some cases. However, the country has legalized the sale of hemp seeds, hemp oils, and CBD extract in some limited products. It is still not allowed in medicine or food, but its use in cosmetics is allowed.

This restricted usage is why Chinese extract companies have started exporting their product overseas. The Times reports on one company which ships out roughly two tons a year internationally.

These companies’ international business isn’t all in one direction either. Some have even set up shop in the United States. The Hanma Investment Group, the first company in southern China which was licensed to manufacture CBD extract, has acquired an extraction plant in Las Vegas, and intends to do the same in Canada soon.

Interestingly, China had a long history of cannabis cultivation before it was made super illegal by the People’s Republic. The Times writes that farmers in the country grew it for thousands of years, using it for textiles and possibly medicine. Now, the country is getting back to its roots.

Photo via Flickr user WeedPornDaily