As the North American cannabis industry takes off, cannabis industry veterans could offer new companies an edge.
Cannabis companies are increasingly turning to experienced cannabis growers and industry veterans to design their cultivation operations.
The legal American cannabis industry is no different. Experienced cannabis cultivators are certainly harder to find than other industry professionals, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. The earliest legal medical cannabis markets now go back more than 20 years and these markets have generated a wealth of valuable experience. That said, very few people gave the nascent industry any attention until recently. As legal cannabis spreads across North America and beyond, the pioneers of early legal markets are leveraging their experience to build a new wave of cannabis businesses, setting the standards for best practices that could define the new industry landscape.
Cannabis growers leveraging experience
With an unprecedented number of legal medical and recreational cannabis jurisdictions opening up over the past several years, the North American cannabis market is growing at an incredible rate. According to a March 2019 report by Research and Markets, the North American industry is expected to reach a value of US$35 billion by 2023, up from US$8 billion in 2017 for a compound annual growth rate of 28 percent.
As the cannabis industry becomes established and more players enter the game, quality, consistency and safety have become the priorities for those companies that want to stick around. There are countless factors across all stages of the cannabis production and supply chain that can have an impact on operating cost and product yield. For example, lighting, air conditions, soil quality, product processing and many other factors can greatly influence how successful a cannabis crop will be.
Cannabis cultivation is a complicated process that requires a very specific and unique skillset. In this growing industry, more people than ever before are learning the trade, meaning operations often include personnel from all over the learning curve. At the top of any grow operation, however, should be a management team comprised of veterans with hands-on experience in cannabis cultivation. While newcomers to the industry can learn these nuances over time, the highly competitive cannabis industry has left little room for those learning on the go.
“The best practices of commercial cultivation are based on trial and error. It’s still an art and not yet a documented science, so the only thing that yields superior-quality flower is the years of experience we have,” said Sheldon Aberman, Chemistree Technology‘s (CSE:CHM,OTCQB:CHMJF) chief cannabis officer.
There’s no shortage of workers looking to get into the cannabis industry. Lately, a number of executives from other industries, particularly from the mining industry, have seen opportunity and crossed over into the cannabis business. True cannabis industry experts, however, are much harder to come by. Because cannabis has historically been cultivated by those outside of the law, the pool of experienced growers is relatively small compared to those in other consumer industries. Companies that are able to attract talented growers will find themselves at an advantage as they establish the business and begin to navigate a complex legal cannabis environment.
Savvy cannabis companies are looking to the pioneers of the North American cannabis industry to find top talent. California made history in 1996 by becoming the first jurisdiction to allow the sale of medical cannabis, while Canada introduced medical cannabis in 2001. As such, cannabis professionals in these jurisdictions have enjoyed a considerable head start in gaining industry experience. New cannabis companies have the opportunity to benefit from the lessons and experiences of those who have been in the industry for years. By targeting veterans of legal cannabis jurisdictions, new entrants into the market have the chance to leverage years of experience and expertise.
Cannabis growers defining the industry
When assembling the company’s leadership group, vertically integrated cannabis company Chemistree Technology recognized that hands-on cannabis industry experience would be an essential component. In order to ensure this expertise was reflected by management, the company created the position of chief cannabis officer, a job that demands robust knowledge of every aspect of the cannabis business. To fill this role, the company selected Sheldon Aberman, who has been involved with the cultivation side of the legal cannabis industry since 2003 and has been a part of the design and management of thousands of commercial cannabis grows.
Aberman isn’t the first industry veteran to join the Chemistree leadership team.
The company includes Dennis Hunter as a founding partner and adviser. Hunter has been involved in cannabis cultivation and activism for more than 25 years, building cannabis brands like Care By Design and Canna Craft during his impressive career. Hunter was recently named one of 2018’s 100 most influential figures in the cannabis space by High Times.
The cannabis industry is developing at a dizzying pace, and it’s no surprise that business leaders from across the industrial landscape are looking to get involved. While these leaders certainly have a lot to bring to the table, cannabis industry veterans have the opportunity to translate their operational experience into financial success.