The Cannabis Industry 2.0: Setting the Stage For 2021 And Beyond

By Matthew Anderson and Gregory Frye

The Industry today is not what it was 18 months ago. The landscape is evolving fast, and COVID-19 has acted as a catalyst, speeding up the inevitable. 

Mergers and acquisitions, stock market turbulence, fluctuating market prices, businesses struggling and failing, investors getting burned – combined with new markets coming online, greater de-stigmatization, and increased consumer demand. 

All these elements are mixing together to create an intense environment where the wheat is separated from the chaff, and only the strongest, smartest operators survive.

And yet a collaborative approach is more important now than ever. Federal or decriminalization is coming to the U.S., and it is going to flip the industry upside down. 

Not even the biggest players will be impervious to the ensuing shake-up once cannabis is rightfully removed from the Controlled Substances Act.

For all cannabis stakeholders, now is the time to step back, assess current models, get curious and maybe even a little humble in order to effectively determine which practices and focuses are sustainable and which ones need work. After all, it’s only a matter of time before the first national cannabis brands emerge, and yet the biggest cannabis companies today could be gone a year from now.

Whether you’re in cannabis for the long-term or you’re hoping for a short-term payout, one of the most important questions to ask yourself is this: do you want to be a stalwart in this industry or a paper tiger? 

As the cannabis industry enters its adolescent years, we’ve seen enough by now to identify the benchmarks for either path.

Cannabis Industry Stalwarts vs Paper Tigers

The initial excitement and fervor surrounding the cannabis industry has died off. Cannabis is no longer that brand-new commodity everybody is fired up and crazy about. 

As the dust settles on the previous chapter, we are left with a greater sense of clarity and a much more methodical tone characterizing the next phase of cannabis and the rise of a global cannabinoid-ingredient industry.

Part of this growth process involves building on lessons learned, which range from epic failures to momentous wins. 

Understanding what happened in the past is the only way to move forward, and to recognize the shifting landscapes in cannabis today. 

Over the past two years, we’ve seen the rise, fall, and aggregation of multiple steps in the supply chain. We’ve seen multistate cannabis operators continue to buy up licenses and expand their footprint into new continents. 

MSOs are also expanding and securing their reach up and down the supply chain: cultivating, manufacturing, and even partnering with consumer-packaged goods companies.

Amidst all this opportunity and frantic energy behind the so-called ‘green rush’, not everyone has come out on top. Over the past two years, we’ve continued to see companies raising money without any revenue, promising investors …

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