As I write, I’m airborne at 37,000 feet, en route to Almaty, Kazakhstan. My team and I are at the outset of a six-day cannabis research expedition. Our objective is to compare landrace cannabis that has grown wild in the Chuy Valley, a mountainous region between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, for centuries.
After receiving approval to research these plants, our goal is to assist those countries with creating regulate commercialized industry to quell black market activity, stimulate economic growth and create jobs for their predominantly nomadic farming culture.
I’m having intense butterflies thinking about this rare opportunity and the possibilities of creating a socially invested company that can impact great change through cannabis.
I hope to meet local Kyrgyz farmers to understand their traditional relationship with the plant and how they’ve used it over the years both medicinally and industrially.
Stay tuned for pictures and updates, for a complete rundown of our findings.
Meanwhile, here are some points from my upcoming presentation.
3 Do’s for Entrepreneurs in the Cannabis Industry
Educate your stakeholders: Whether you are seeking funding or convincing a municipality to accept commercial cannabis, education is key. The substation of this plant speaks for itself but unfortunately, this plant can’t talk! We as entrepreneurs are responsible for shining the correct light on the industry. Show and tell the medicinal benefits, the economic viability and tax implications of regulation, and sustainability of industrial applications.
Be open to change: As with any startup, things change. With the international regulatory environment being grey and fluid, we must keep our feet in multiple arenas and projects to ensure we are flexible to change. In the United States, I’ve seen two great examples.
- Commoditization: The price of cannabis has plummeted two- to threefold since legalization. Keep your business lean and agile to adjust to shrinking profits.
- Compliance: At Dixie, overnight in 2014, our packaging became obsolete. We had to recycle hundreds of thousands of dollars in aluminium bottles after regulations changed to child-resistant containers. This could cripple a small company. Stay ahead of regulatory changes, meet your local cannabis regulators and help shape policies to help your business stay afloat.
Value people over profits: The people we work with make or break the businesses we lead. Culture building should start day one and be near the top of any solid business plan. Culture also flows from the top down. Our industry can be incredibly stressful due to the fluid nature of changes occurring. I think it’s important to have a transparent relationship with all stakeholders of the business. Just like negative energy, positive energy can be contagious too!