Would you agree that the cannabis industry is growing at an explosive pace?
Legal cannabis sales in North America were up 30% in 2016 alone, generating an eye popping 6.7 billion dollars in total sales, and that doesn’t even include the ancillary industry.
If you have been watching the evolution of the cannabis industry over the last two decades, then you know that the industry has come a long, long way.
The cannabis industry is becoming more refined every year that goes by, and is quickly starting to resemble other large industries.
With that being said, the industry still has a long ways to go, which is why we see so many cannabis consultants entering the picture.
Nothing is set in stone in the industry, and new laws and regulations are sure to lead to dramatic changes in the coming years.
How can entrepreneurs best navigate the turbulent waters of the evolving cannabis industry?
Is cannabis consulting the answer?
After all, there wasn’t even one legal adult-use state just half a decade ago.
The Green Flower team recommends learning from true experts (we even interviewed a few consultants for this article).
Achieving success in the cannabis industry is becoming increasingly harder to do
Do you believe in evolution?
The legal cannabis industry does not have an ‘official’ start date.
This is due to cannabis’ status as a federally prohibited substance.
One could argue that the cannabis industry started in 1996 when California became the first state to legalize cannabis for medical use. All types of businesses popped up at that time.
For many years opening a cannabis business took nothing more than renting a space and expressing that you were ready for customers.
After all, a guidebook for the cannabis industry did not exist.
Those days are long gone.
Due to increasing competition and a consumer base that is larger and more sophisticated, cannabis businesses need to try much harder and be more polished in order to succeed.
Why does all this matter?
Cannabis consultants are more important now than ever before
Below are reasons why cannabis consulting is needed in the cannabis industry:
- Quality consultants have more experience than the average entrepreneur, both inside and outside of the cannabis industry
- Consultants specialize in specific areas of the cannabis industry, which saves entrepreneurs the time of learning the particular area themselves
- Provides an outside perspective
- Can save you money in the long-haul
Not all consultants are created equal.
But when you link up with one that is a true expert in their field, from extraction equipment design to branding, it is easy to see the benefits of working with a consultant.
When you are an entrepreneur, you are likely embarking on a business journey that you have never done before.
Experienced consultants have worked on a number of projects, and know what to anticipate and where to focus.
Relying on a consultant can cut out a lot of strife and headache in the growth process of a business.
Consultants know what pitfalls to avoid, and what future changes to anticipate which could determine whether your business thrives or dies.
Can your canna-business stay afloat? Can it thrive?
Navigating the evolving cannabis industry is tough
Here’s why cannabis is so challenging:
The cannabis industry has more moving parts than any other industry on the planet, especially in the U.S.
In the U.S. cannabis is regulated at the state level, with every state having different laws.
Virtually every state-level cannabis industry law has been recently changed or will be changed at some point in the near future.
The best thing that entrepreneurs can do to navigate the changing landscape is work with a consultant or consulting firm in order to benefit from their experience.
A reputable consultant will have multiple projects that they can point to that involved launching a company or scaling up a company in a way that is applicable to other projects.
“Investors, entrepreneurs and people who are looking to get into the industry need to be prepared to spend their money wisely on either consultants or people who can help them build up the infrastructure of their companies in an intelligent and efficient manner,” Fry says.
The appeal of saving money by going it alone is tempting, but it rarely works out in the end.
Entrepreneurs need to concede that they do not know everything, and should bring in specialized experts when appropriate.
But what do consultants have to say about all this?
The cannabis industry is going global
Green Flower asked the consultants at Plant Consulting Group LLC what to anticipate in the industry in the future as it continues to grow not just in the U.S., but also internationally.
Darwin Millard, a consultant with the company, was quick to point out that the international industry has an edge on the U.S. industry because of how things are regulated stateside.
Specifically, that things are regulated at the state level.
When markets are regulated at the federal leve, it’s much easier to make projections and plan accordingly.
When the industry has so many differing laws in one country, it makes it nearly impossible to predict what will happen down the road.
“It’s difficult. In the United States, each state has its own regulations that an investor or entrepreneur or a business owner has to deal with,” Millard says.
“Whereas when you’re going internationally, you’re on a federal level. You deal with a lot more certainty and stability. You know what to expect in the future, and you can do a lot more when it comes to traditional risk mitigation and cost benefit analysis.”
Millard goes on to say that the market will eventually be a global one, similar to any other agricultural crop.
The question is this:
Will your company be backward-facing or forward-looking?
The cannabis industry is being rapidly modernized
Here’s where all this comes together.
Modernization is going to be a very big thing going forward in the industry, as is quality control, which is something that many cannabis companies don’t even have on their radars.
“Lack of focus on quality control is a big thing that we have come across. This industry is not quite fully regulated and legal. We find a lot of manufacturers that may not be abiding by regulations that you would find in other industries.” says Tamar Wise, also of Plant Consulting Group LLC.
Cannabis companies need to get out ahead of quality control requirements rather than waiting for them to become mandatory.
Companies in the cannabis space need to also anticipate the industry becoming more automated.
The cannabis world is complex, and getting more complicated every day.
If you are an entrepreneur in the cannabis space, harness the ability to know when to do things on your own, and when to bring in cannabis consultants.
Quality cannabis consulting could be the difference between you living your dream as a successful cannabis entrepreneur, or being left on the outside looking in, wondering what could have been!