CFN Media Exclusive Interview with Lofa Tatupu & Amit Rikhi of ZoneIn CBD


Rachelle Gordon

December 23rd, 2019

Exclusive, News, Top News


For many people, CBD has been a life-changing addition to their wellness regiments. Just ask former NFL star Lofa Tatupu. The three-time Pro Bowler, whose career was cut short due to injuries, has found incredible relief from CBD. After discovering what the hemp plant could do for him, Tatupu partnered with friend and entrepreneur Amit Rikhi to found ZoneIn CBD, whose motto is “Aim Higher. Feel Better. Zone In.” The company, launched this past October, is already making significant waves.  

CFN Media sat down with Tatupu and Rikhi at the recent MJBizCon in Las Vegas to learn more about the company ethos and how they plan to spread the good news about full spectrum hemp oil to the masses.

Former NFL star Lofa Tatupu, co-founder of ZoneIn CBD

CFN Media:  What is ZoneIn? How was it founded?

Lofa Tatupu:  We’re a bunch of athletes that founded this company.  That’s why we chose the name ZoneIn. It’s derived from “flow state” in positive psychology:  the “zone.” Being totally immersed in the moment. When I started taking full spectrum hemp oil about three years ago, that’s exactly what it did. It put me in a place in time where I needed to be:  in the right mind state. I had many concussions and surgeries when I left the game, that’s why my career was so short. I was looking for a solution, and I found it in full spectrum oil.

I’m second-generation NFL. My dad played for the Patriots. I grew up in Massachusetts, and went to college at Southern Cal. Fast forward, I got drafted by the Seahawks in 2005, and everything started out great. First three years, three Pro Bowls, and was blessed to be drafted by a phenomenal organization. But I didn’t realize all the physical, mental, and emotional trauma that was occurring since about my rookie year when I started getting major concussions and my surgeries started. There was a disconnect from my mind/body connection that I didn’t realize was taking place.

I think everybody goes through something, and a lot of people, they talk about anxiety and sleep. But CBD is so much more than that. We talk about it in a different light, as more of a performance enhancer; a life enhancer, if you will. We’re formulated to help you live, and help you crush life.

Amit Rikhi:   I’ve known Lofa for about six years. About a year ago, we were discussing building a different business together, but then the Farm Bill passed.  Lofa looked me in the eyes and said, “Look, the hemp bill has just passed. CBD has changed my life. We need to focus on launching this business.”  And instead of having a discussion around potential profits or market size, Lofa said he wanted to build this company to help as many people as possible.  And, at that point, I was all in!  

CFN:  Who is your target demographic? It seems like ZoneIn is for everyone!

LT:   This is for anyone who wants to be in the zone. Whether you’re a musician, an artist, an athlete, or someone that gets immersed in everyday hobbies, if you want to get to that place and time, we’re here for you. So, it’s for everyone that wants to have a great day and get into the zone.  That’s how I see us setting ourselves apart. Yes, we are athletes, so we have that appeal to us as an athletic brand, but we really targeted for overall life performance enhancement. 

CFN:  Where do you source your CBD from and how do you maintain your commitment to quality?

AR:  Everything is grown in the US.  We understand chain of custody from seed all the way to the customer.  Our manufacturing partner’s facility is FDA-approved, CGMP-approved, and even an RX-approved facility.  We also have independent labs create COA’s or Certificates of Analysis on everything. Each product is tested for safety and accuracy.     

ZoneIn CBD capsules

We’ve also just closed a partnership with Leafly Market. They have only chosen companies that meet their testing standards as well- and we love it!  It only gives us more market trust since we have another set of COA’s completed.    

CFN:  As a former professional athlete, how does it feel to be able to break the stigma regarding cannabis? How do you handle the responsibilities of being a role model for the industry as a whole?

LT:  Absolutely, that’s a lot to live up to and I will do my best.  I know something about expectations coming from second generation football, but I’ll always have that pressure to try to do more and do better by people. And, so as long as you’re able to do that, I think it’s just going to be positive. 

I’m going to talk to doctors about how excited I am for the future of the world and not just sports. Because yes, those athletic injuries are trauma.  But, everyone goes through trauma. Everybody experiences it, and this can help them work through it and not just be a band-aid. This is a real solution. So I’m excited about the future of the world.

I just can’t stop saying about how excited I am. It makes me smile just to know where we’re headed. Everybody’s going to figure out how good cannabis is for them. We are fully hemp, so I don’t want to blur those lines, but when they find out how much better their lives are going to be with CBD, they’re going to be a little more open minded towards cannabis and accepting it as real medicine.

AR:  I’ll add to that from a stigma perspective. There are two parts to removing the stigma of CBD.  First, it comes down to awareness and education of CBD. We need to answer questions like- What is CBD?  What is full spectrum hemp extract? What is the ECS? How does it all work? Second, we need to build trust in the market.  Unfortunately, there are a good number of companies our there that claim to have CBD in their products, but do not. The importance of credible COA’s is crucial.      

From a ZoneIn perspective, we are blessed to have athletes and doctors that can help with awareness and education.  Lofa does a fantastic job of evangelizing full spectrum hemp because he believes in it so much. It comes from the heart.

And, as I mentioned earlier, the COA’s that are listed for each of our products help build the trust needed in the market.  They are the evidence that people need to feel comfortable with our brand.

CFN:  What’s ahead in 2020 for the company?

AR:  We just launched about mid-October and it’s been going really.  So, we are in an incredible growth phase. We have a ton of opportunities brewing from retailers and distribution partners.  In fact, we have just partnered up with Bartell Drugs in the Northwest to have our products in all of their 60+ locations.  

LT:  We’re in talks for new products, too. We realize the product suite’s small currently, but that’s for a reason:  we don’t want to confuse people. That’s what I love about Leafly Marketplace. They offer quality education and convenience – they’re cutting through the noise. They vetted every product that’s featured, and so I don’t care who you choose, as long as you choose one of those products.

CFN:  What else should readers know about the company?

LT:  We care. That’s the best part of my day is getting to open the emails of, “Hey, I tried this, and I didn’t know that I would get better sleep, and I didn’t know that I would wake up refreshed, and I didn’t know that I would recover from my workout that quickly.” Just a chain of positive effects keep getting set off and getting those texts and emails means a lot because it reassures you’re doing the right thing.

AR:  This is a movement for us. This is a mission. Everything that we do as a company, we look through that mission lens before making decisions. It’s the core of who we are.

*This interview has been edited for clarity. 

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This article was published by CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN), owner and operator of CFN Media, the industry’s leading agency and digital financial media network dedicated to the burgeoning CBD and legal cannabis industries. Call +1 (833) 420-CNFN for more information.

About Rachelle Gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a Minneapolis-based writer. Find her online at www.rachellegordon.net.


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