Six years ago this month, we launched the first print edition of Cannabis Business Times. In that time, we’ve grown significantly. We’ve launched the Cannabis Conference, which has continued to grow by leaps and bounds over the past 5 years. We also launched Cannabis Dispensary for retailers, and we created Hemp Grower in fall 2019 following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp cultivation in the U.S.
The industry also has changed vastly in that time. Despite ample challenges, especially for smaller businesses, much of the change has been positive in terms of shifts in public perception and state policies toward cannabis. In 2016, just four states had legalized cannabis for adult-use (Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon). That number has grown to 19 today. And more than 5 million medical cannabis patients are registered with legal state programs in the U.S. (based on Cannabis Business Times/Cannabis Dispensary’s recent estimates).
In my time with CBT over the past six years, I have met growers of all kinds navigating these changes—those from the heart of Humboldt County to licensed cultivators who operate in medically legal states like Minnesota and Connecticut, where cannabis is regulated much like the pharmaceutical industry and cultivators are limited in number, to Canadian growers, who, despite operating in a federally legal industry, face their own challenges.
While I’ve seen much of the worst of the so-called “Green Rush”—the astronomical “green fees” charged to cannabis businesses for just about every service imaginable, investor and partnership deals gone bad, robberies, political corruption, lawsuits, and more—I’ve also seen the best of it.
The passion that exists in this industry—for the plant, for its healing potential, and for righting the wrongs of decades of prohibition—is incomparable to any other.
As too many of us know, however, passion alone does not make success. But it is what connects so many of us in the cannabis industry and keeps us pushing forward in this challenging business.
As former NFL star and Heisman trophy winner Ricky Williams comments in his interview with CBT’s Senior Editor Zach Mentz , “[What’s] important from my side is [cultivators’] attitude about cannabis, the plant. Some people are more interested in the business side, and of course we have to run a business … but for me as the brand, I feel like it’s my name, it’s my integrity, that what we’re doing is really about what I believe in.”
While passion might be wasted without a profitable business to carry it forward, the reverse is also true. I have cited this quote from a grower friend of mine often, but it is one that stays at the forefront of my mind: “If you aren’t passionate about cannabis, you won’t make it in this industry.”
Our mission, from day one, has been to help every cannabis cultivator and cultivation operation be as successful as they can be, to help all of you navigate industry landmines (from growing the plant to running the business) and come out on the other side.
I feel honored to be part of this industry and that CBT has been able to continue playing a role in helping all of you balance passion with profit. Thank you, our readers, for supporting our mission for the past six years in print, and to our advertisers for helping us run a business so that our passion can be carried forward for another six years and beyond.