Cannabis Industry RIP? Is All The Drama And Hand-Wringing Justified?
Inevitably, the new year’s headlines are full of ‘what is wrong with the cannabis industry?’ Navel-gazing articles on the inherent ‘death’ of ‘all of this cannabis madness’ have hit the blogosphere if not major media fast and furious as the calendar flipped over to a new year and decade.
How legit are these critiques and predictions?
- Yes, there is a lot of hype in this industry. What on earth does one expect as patients, advocates and entrepreneurs battle not only to overturn 100 years of draconian punishment but set up a regulated business in its place? Yes, there are also scams, and criminals in this industry, with or without criminal convictions. But there are also a lot of people who have been unfairly convicted in the past, and have, literally if not figuratively, turned over a new leaf. There are many fascinating people in the industry who also pay lawyers and consultants to make sure they are operating on the correct side of legit.
- Yes, there have been very large embarrassing public scandals – including about accountability to not only rules and regulators but stockholders. Damning the entire industry, however, does no good either, and there is also clearly a shifting as well as changing of the guard.
- Yes, there are many issues and problems on the ground everywhere. In Europe over the last several years, licensed store owners have fought battles from Spain and Italy to now Germany over basic rights to sell non-THC flowers from various sources. None of these issues is strange news to those on the North American side of the conversation if just a few more years delayed.
- No, the industry is not “dead.” The biggest guys are taking a bit of a beating as governments now request to see more detailed and formal documentation. That is a conversation that has been in the room here for the past four years and has not changed. So far, despite setbacks, the industry is still moving forward. One big example? The first cannabis ETF was allowed to trade on the Deutsche Börse in Frankfurt this year. For industry veterans, this is a major victory to a hard-fought battle, if not, indeed the end of the war.
- No, the industry is not “over.” In fact, it is just getting started. There have been some big bumps along the way, some high flying flameouts, and a lot of dead ends. But all is par for the course in the birth of a new industry if not its normalization. And final, full, legalization.
Be sure to attend one of the International Cannabis Business Conference’s cannabis business conferences in Europe in 2020. Book your tickets now for Barcelona, Berlin, and Bern!