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Corporate weed is getting beat down – here’s why it’s fair

The pandemic has impacted corporate weed in a huge way, and now the ride may be slowing down – here is why I believe that’s right and it’s fair.

cannabusiness corporate weed

The pandemic really messed up some people’s sense of scale, didn’t it?! 

I could go on and on about hoarding, or antivaxxers being wrong, or companies piling on personnel after ramping up just to jettison folks just a year later. But this screed is about weed. 

More technically, I’m on my soapbox about legal cannabusiness people crying about their mid-tier marijuana not being the easy payday they thought it’d be

Before we start I should make it clear that I don’t, can’t, and won’t partake in anything currently illegal where I reside. The Powers Unknowable designed my body to descend into dystonics with even perfectly legal Deltas 8 & 9, and the State of Texas wouldn’t allow me anything my delicate baby lungs couldn’t handle anyway. 

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That said, it’s not hard to see who is and who isn’t listening to or producing what communities want, and I have a deep deep love of seeing people who underestimate the work that came before them fail miserably (even if it does take undeserving folks down with them). That’s why this current smokeshow in the weed biz is such an entertaining one.

Prices are going down on commercially grown/distributed weed, and all the VC funded new businesses are flailing and looking for people to blame. And they found who the milquetoast mob always finds to criticize for their lack of success – the people who made their pipe dreams possible to begin with. 

All my street-street people (as the late, great DMX called them) are stomping these fancy-pants dispensaries like a Dave n Busters drunk at the DDR machines, and they just can’t handle it.

Director of Insights and Intelligence for BDSA, a cannabis data firm, Rick Maturo whined said of the price drops: 

“The industry may have anticipated that people who adopted or ramped up use during the pandemic would continue, but many didn’t, contributing to an oversupply of raw marijuana. Still, competition from the thriving black market is the main concern.”

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Basically, people are mad that the folks who risked incarceration for dealing dope, shaped demand, grew their own, and knew their customers personally are retaining the share of the market they never lost.

I have to ask… isn’t it embarrassing for these corporate cannabosses to point fingers at someone with 12 gross of baggies lost in their couch and their own incense dealer going ‘THIS IS WHY I’M FAILING’?

Now that outing restrictions have completely lifted, and people aren’t thrilled to their cores by buying pre-rolls in broad daylight anymore, the bud bubble is popping hard.

The novelty is gone, and with it so are the glut of customers. The worst thing is, with proper quality control, this hard of a hit was probably preventable.

High Times’ VP of Content, Jon Cappetta, wrote on the subject, and rightfully criticized the criticizing, saying:

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“Sure you can probably make the sale once off of good marketing, but retaining a consumer – especially in a market with this many options – is very difficult. 

Comparatively, you’re now competing against people who actually consume the products they’re pushing… They wake up with it, they eat their meals with it. Without that kind of dedication, you simply haven’t tried & tested your products in the way your consumer will.

Until the quality of the product, or concern for the end user, matches that of the ‘lifers’, we’re simply talking about two different ball games, despite the fact that they’re playing with the same equipment.” 

Wise words. 

No matter what the weed market looks like, many more products than people think demand a thorough knowledge of what makes them great to sustain people past their fascination with an entry point.

It’s why I always say your team needs to be made of people who are total geeks about what you sell, or absolutely frothing at the mouth to get that way. That wouldn’t have stopped the post lockdown slowdown, mind you. But staying power needs deep understanding. Disney and Nabisco and Anheuser Busch can make dumb crap and still turn a profit. 

The mistake I see a lot of companies making is assuming that once they get to a certain point in funding, they automatically have the power to churn out a mess and still make money because the bigs are doing it. 

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That’s not the case.

Psychedelic mushrooms and ketamine are probably going to undergo the exact same “mid-amorphosis” and boom-to-bust pipeline as legality expands. We’ll probably see this repeat in a few years’ time. 

40-something me is surely smugly waiting, and watching, and ready to write.

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You can't spell "Together" without TGOT: That Goth Over There. Staff Writer, April Bingham, is that goth; and she's all about building bridges— both metaphorically between artistry and entrepreneurship, and literally with tools she probably shouldn't be allowed to learn how to use.

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