“It’s not all about making a fast buck. It’s about building a foundation, it’s about building infrastructure, and it’s about bringing people into the industry that wouldn’t necessarily have a chance to be part of it.”

Currently, six in 10 Americans support marijuana legalization. As the U.S. continues to update state and federal regulations the “cannabusiness” industry is poised for unprecedented growth — and uncertainty. Wharton Business Radio host John Barkett sat down with a range of industry pioneers and players to discuss different aspects of doing business with cannabis today, including marketing, investing, overcoming challenges, and more.


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Interview Highlights

On Business for Political Change

“Business is a very powerful platform for political change. If we ever want to see a day when not a single adult is punished for this plant, we’re going to need to have a politically engaged, profitable, and responsible cannabis industry.” — Troy Dayton, CEO, Arcview Group

“It’s not all about making a fast buck. It’s certainly not an industry for that. It’s about building a foundation, it’s about building infrastructure, and it’s about bringing people into the industry that wouldn’t necessarily have a chance to be part of it.” — Chuck Smith, CEO, Dixie Brands

On Navigating Challenges

“The biggest challenge for any cannabis marketer is staying inside what is permitted by regulation while still being able to make a compelling proposition and a real connection with consumers. I think with good reason, there are a lot of prohibitions on what cannabis companies can say to sell themselves.” — Elizabeth Hogan, Vice President of Brands at GCH Inc.

“Traditional financing vehicles aren’t available. Most of the capital in the markets is private capital. As a result, what you get is high-interest rates and shared operations. Our advice is: be in the industry, comply with your state’s laws, be very aware of what’s happening with the federal government.” — Seth Goldberg, Partner at Duane Morris LLP

“The unique nature of the challenges in this industry are both the benefit and the drawback for the investor depending on the investor and their appetite. Some investors see that [challenges] are going to go away and the opportunity to get in now, because other investors are staying away from [the industry] until those other things resolve.” — Troy Dayton

“It’s really about best practices, making sure you’re operating like any other top tier business in any field — especially agriculture. How is your cannabis and hemp being grown? Some of the top producers and brands doing it right are sourcing hemp from American farms where regulations are more strict in terms of growing [it] and then extracting the CBD (Cannabidiol). I think what regulators are looking for is that business experience, professionalism, and acumen.” — Ricardo Baca, CEO and Founder, Grasslands

On the Future of Cannabusiness

“We’re at a particularly unique inflection point in the industry right now, where between 2018 and 2019, we’re projecting a 36% growth in worldwide retail cannabis sales. That’s the biggest jump yet.” — Troy Dayton, CEO, Arcview Group

“My prediction is that in the coming decades, cannabis will become the most valuable commodity on the planet. It will be bigger than oil, it will be bigger than anything else. Cannabis is going to disrupt just about every single industry you can think of.” — Paul Seaborn, Assistant Professor at the University of Denver Daniels College of Business

Posted: April 23, 2019

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