It wasn’t that long ago when large companies avoided association with cannabis as much as possible.
The cannabis world was considered taboo from a marketing perspective, and more so from an industry involvement standpoint.
Courting or working with the cannabis industry seemed too risky and wasn’t worth it to large companies concerned about public perception.
Those days are gone.
The cannabis industry has grown so massive that not only has it caught the attention of large global companies, some companies have taken the leap into the cannabis industry via ancillary products.
A software giant turns heads
In mid-2016 Microsoft shook the cannabis industry and much of the business world when it announced that it would be entering the cannabis industry via a partnership to provide seed-to-sale tracking software.
Seed-to-sale tracking software is a lucrative sector in cannabis.
A common requirement in taxed and regulated state-level systems stipulates that all cannabis is tracked from the time the seed goes into the grow medium through to the point when it is purchased by a consumer.
Microsoft is not involved in a business model that ‘touches the plant’, but cannabis operations do depend on the tracking software the tech giant has designed just for them.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Microsoft develop other types of software that would help revolutionize the cannabis industry, just as they have for other industries.
An alcohol powerhouse makes a massive investment
Many cannabis advocates have long feared that the alcohol industry would enter into the cannabis industry.
While there are bad actors in the alcohol industry, that does not mean that every alcohol company is automatically evil.
Just as responsible cannabis consumption by adults is a personal right that should be allowed, the same is also true for alcohol.
As long as a company is socially responsible and mindful of the wellbeing of the consumers that support their company, they should be given a chance.
Only time will tell which alcohol companies are just in it for the money and which ones will be good stewards of the cannabis plant, but one investment in the cannabis industry has had a bigger impact than any other to date.
Last Fall Constellation Brands, which makes Corona beer, made a $191 million dollar investment in Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth Corp.
The deal gave Constellation Brands a 9.9% stake in one of the largest cannabis companies on the planet and is one of the biggest examples of the legal cannabis industry becoming an international force.
Jack in the Box goes all in with the ‘Merry Meal’
Jack in the Box has long flirted with the cannabis world via nuanced television commercials and other clever advertising. But it wasn’t until recently that they pursued a more overt strategy.
The fast-food chain teamed up with the Snoop Dogg-backed cannabis media company Merry Jane to offer a limited-time meal for the obvious price of $4.20.
Only available at a handful of locations in Southern California, the meal was more symbolic than it was an actual entry into the cannabis industry.
But it was still very significant in that it marked the first time that a non-cannabis company the size of Jack in the Box very publicly marketed directly to cannabis consumers.
The marketing move ushered in a new era in which cannabis consumers’ business is valued and the buying power of the cannabis consumer base is finally recognized by mainstream industries.
The largest retailers in the world dip their toe in the cannabis industry
Walmart, Amazon, and Home Depot are three of the largest retailers of products on the planet.
A quick search on the companies’ websites returns results for hydroponic equipment, grow lights, and a number of other products that are used for cultivating cannabis.
These are essential items for some cannabis growers but they have other uses too, so the retailers selling them don’t necessarily raise eyebrows.
However, the big three also now sell products that are specifically geared towards cannabis cultivation, with American Cannabis Company being a prime example.
American Cannabis Company has a distribution agreement with all three retailers now. The retailers will distribute such products as SoHum Living Soils – designed for cannabis cultivation.
Selling soil is not the same as selling cannabis directly, which is a good thing for those that do not want to see giant retailers take over cannabis sales.
But the fact that these retail giants are entering into distribution agreements with companies that are very much geared towards serving cannabis consumers and/or growers is a significant sign of the times.
Now that cannabis has gone mainstream, big companies no longer fear collaboration or investing in cannabis.
If you want to learn more about the world of cannabis investing, Green Flower has you covered…