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How Marijuana Culture Caused Top Christian Bookseller to Change Its Name

In hopes of avoiding “brand confusion,” the decades-old Christian Book Distributors — known by the acronym CBD — is changing its name.

The faith-based company announced its decision in a press release issued last month, revealing it would be doing away with the three-letter acronym as well as the word “distributors” because of the now-common use of “CBD” to refer to cannabidiol, a chemical compound extracted from marijuana.

“Across the country, people see signs for ‘CBD sold here,’ which creates brand confusion,” said Christianbook CEO Ray Hendrickson. “[A]s this wave of popularity over the ‘other CBD’ is not likely to subside, we will stop referring to ourselves as ‘CBD’ and will also drop the word ‘Distributors’ from our company name.”

Faithwire: Christian Cannabis Highlights ‘Power of Marijuana’ for Believers, Says Founder Craig Gross 

“Going forward,” he added, “we will operate under the name of ‘Christianbook.’”

Hendrickson, who founded the Massachusetts-based Christian retail company in 1978 with his brother Stephen, said that, despite the name shift, they “have no plans to change the way we do business and serve our customers.”

Christianbook is not the only Christian company to change its name because of cultural connotations attached to the title. For example, in 2011, Campus Crusade for Christ International changed its name simply to Cru in order to avoid controversy over the sometimes-problematic word “crusade.”

“It’s become a flash word for a lot of people,” said Steve Sellers, who now serves as the executive vice president and COO for Cru. “It harkens back to other periods of time and has a negative connotation for lots of people across the world, especially in the Middle East.”

He went on to explain that, in the 1950s, the word “crusade” had an inherently evangelistic bent to it. Over time, though, the term took on “different meanings to different groups.” So it was best for the Christian ministry to rebrand.

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As for Christianbook, changing the name will — like Hendrickson suggested — likely prove to be a wise decision, particularly because there are some fringe Christian groups pushing cannabis, even in the faith-based community.

In May, Faithwire spoke with Craig Gross, founder of Christian Cannabis, a business he said is intended to start conversations about the supposed benefits of marijuana.

Gross, who began using weed in 2013 following his father’s death, claimed marijuana has “opened me up to a different sort of awareness and connection between my head and my heart.”

You can read that full story here.

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