Just a few years ago, Cody Alt failed. After a successful enough run in the oil business, he threw everything into promoting his new business, BodyFuel. Instead of success, the twenty-eight-year-old, who only two years earlier had been earning $50,000 a week, found himself passing out fliers on cars and bartending at night. Yet this moment provided a powerful pivot for Alt.

Alt’s eye wandered as he sought new opportunities to exploit, even as BodyFuel became a success. As the political landscape for cannabis began to shift, Cody sought not to start a dispensary or paraphernalia store, but rather a set of businesses that create vertical integration so as to corner the market and crush the competition.

Cody Alt became a serial entrepreneur a few months later, with his launch of several cannabis- and media-related companies. These include Elevate Media, Kushly, PureKana, Slapps, and soon, Waves. Yet Cody is far from an opportunist seeking to cash in on the cannabis gravy train. His two other ventures are Slapps, which is a premium men’s underwear line, and Never Sell Dope, which is a streetwear apparel brand.

To understand why his businesses are so groundbreaking, it’s important to understand the suite of applications for cannabis and where Alt’s products fit in. With the opioid crisis casualties now equaling gun deaths in this country and last year’s opioid overdoses alone outnumbering the total American casualties in Vietnam and Iraq, there is a desperate need for alternative pain management.

This is where Alt’s products come in. PureKana’s CBD Oil recently won an award for providing the best pain relief. The organic, GMO-free product is projected to garner profits of $20 million this year, no doubt because it is effective in combating chronic pain, in addition to inflammation, swelling, and even insomnia.

Alt emphasizes that Kushly and PureKana, two of his ventures, specialize in medical cannabis and CBD. The former remains under varying and rapidly changing laws, but the latter is legal in all 50 states. The products from these ventures help with pain relief and anxiety, offering a compelling alternative to benzodiazepines (benzos) and painkillers. Alt characterizes one of his major goals in business as helping people break free of chronic pain and other conditions with an all-natural product.

In the future, Alt envisions his empire as being the Amazon.com of cannabis. With his vertical integration, he can incorporate retail, distribution (as he has already done), product differentiation and innovation. Eschewing the inauthenticity he sees in the larger market, Alt has developed an empire focused on values and mission.

The success of his cannabis-based industries is even more remarkable considering that marijuana prohibition means that he is forbidden from advertising on many traditional sales channels (e.g., social media). Alt has nonetheless used his background in site development and marketing to create a platform despite these roadblocks.

Millions are trying to cash in on cannabis, but Alt stands out from the crowd for many reasons. First, he is developing a solution to a real problem in the world. Second, he has a long-term strategy to maintain market advantage. Third, he has a long history of business success, so he is approaching the cannabis industry from the perspective of business rather than pure enthusiasm.

If cannabis could stem the opioid crisis, then maybe Cody Alt will be remembered as a true American hero as well as a business titan.Opinions expressed here are the opinions of the author. Influencive does not endrose or review brands mentioned.