2018 will be a crucial year for the legal cannabis industry. Five years after the first adult-use marijuana marketplaces opened in Colorado and Washington, our industry has grown large and gone mainstream. Big and getting bigger, with the opening of the California and Nevada markets, Oregon is now part of a contiguous legal West Coast spanning from Canada to Mexico. CannaFest Destiny has never seemed more apparent, and competition never more fierce.
Legal cannabis production has never been higher, while wholesale prices have never been lower. The harsh reality for an industry that is hyper-competitive, overtaxed and over-regulated, is that for most licensees profit margins have never been tighter. Many mom and pops have already sold out, and many more are on that fence. Add to this the recent saber rattling of drug-warrior-turned-Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, and it is easy to see that for many in the industry, 2018 has begun as a time of great uncertainty and anxiety.
As I wrote in my “Open Letter to Jeff Sessions,” now is the time for industry leaders, businesses and supporters to stand united. We must show that not only has our legal industry become a vital engine of reform and economic activity – generating hundreds of millions in new tax revenues — but we have reinvigorated communities across the country by creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
The industry has arrived at a critical juncture in its evolution, and Oregon is on the front lines of the fight for an independent legal industry. As the Cannabis Collaborative Conference’s Mary Lou Burton puts it, “The CCC has grown up with the industry in Oregon. Now three years into full legalization, we no longer need to offer cannabis 101 education. Now we are focused on education geared towards successfully and profitably operating in the current environment. ”
Differentiate: The commercialization and mainstreaming of the legal cannabis industry has put enormous pressure on licensees , who must focus on building brand equity and establishing effective marketing practices that will allow them to stand out from the competition. I’m delighted to be moderating the marketing panel discussion at CCC this year, where along with canna-brand experts Stephen Gold, The Daily Leaf; Sean Lucas, NUG Digital Marketing; and Ryan Michael, KindTyme, we will discuss the top branding and marketing trends that every canna-marketer must know.
- Differentiate or Die! Marketing Panel
- 12:00 – 12:45pm, January 24
- Room D204 (Seats 50)
- Speakers: Dave Rheins, Sean Lucas, Ryan Michael and Stephen Gold
Activate: Congressman Earl Blumenauer will once again deliver a keynote speech at the conference. “This is a call to action.” he said in response to the Sessions announcement. “It’s time for anyone who cares about cannabis to mobilize to defend state marijuana laws.”
Burton added, “come together with fellow law abiding and tax paying professionals in the Cannabis Industry and unite! CCC 4.0 provides the perfect opportunity to ban together and show the media and the world that we will not back down.”