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Letter From The Founder, David Belsky – September 2019

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The cannabis industry is moving forward at a frenetic pace. Frenetic means lots of energy and effort in a multitude of different disjointed ways. With each passing week it is getting more and more competitive. In California alone, there are over 400 vape brands and 100 pre roll joint brands being sold in 600+ licensed dispensaries. Ryan Smith, the CEO of Leaflink, the leading B2B marketplace for the cannabis industry said his platform is seeing 70 new products launched every week the majority in California. This activity is a result of lots of hard work from scrappy entrepreneurs on full tilt and investment dollars that have poured into the industry in the past 12 months. Most of these new products have taken a lot longer to “get to shelves” than originally anticipated based on the challenges of navigating licensing, compliance, supply chain, distribution, and testing. By the time the products are ready and they make it to market they are competing directly with brands already there offering a similar look, feel, price, and formulation.

The sophistication of the presentation and trade marketing in this industry makes it the most cutting edge trade marketing effort in CPG history. Even with all of this, to get into the licensed retailers brands are faced with having to deal with stocking fees, deep discounting, and architecting a constant stream of contact and influence to maintain their tenuous foothold on shelf space as more and more brands compete for slots on the menu. Retailers and delivery companies are in the power position. This is just a small picture of what is happening out there. These are the Glory Daze of Cannabis.

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