Wherever your canna-business is located you have opportunities and challenges. New markets are opening up like the State of Illinois in January 2020 and new products are entering the market like edibles, beverages and topicals in Canada starting Dec 17th. The challenges, however, can be daunting. Cannabis capital markets are down, making business investment difficult. The regulatory regime is strict, varies immensely by State and Province and seems to change constantly.
So how do you help your business thrive in this kind of environment?
First, it is important to recognize that some consistent patterns have emerged that you need to plan for.
New Retail Store opening drive sales. The West is Best. The East is Least….
In North America, growing Cannabis sales correlate closely to opening retail stores. So markets with more stores per 100,000 residents have higher sales. A related point is the fact that retail stores tend to open very slowly in new markets. Michigan and Illinois are set to follow Ontario as big Cannabis markets with far too few licensed retail locations open or planned. This means that Cannabis sales in these areas are bound to disappoint until more stores open.
Meanwhile out West, the States of Colorado and Oregon and the Province of Alberta are market leaders in terms of retails stores per 100,000 residents and Cannabis sales reflect that. The Province of British Columbia’s lagging sales doubled in the last six months, driven by more store openings. Saskatchewan recently announced plans to follow Alberta’s lead and allow more retail stores to address slow sales growth.
Regulations will continue to vary by jurisdiction and change rapidly. Adding more products or markets will only make the compliance challenge more difficult as you grow. Permitted packaging and marketing promotions for one product will vary by jurisdiction and over time. It is not just that you will grow out of email approvals and Google Drive as your needs for version control and regulatory compliance grow. You will need a system for keeping track of new and old packaging and promotions in dozens of jurisdictions that lets you apply and audit global changes quickly. What if Amazon changes its labelling rules for Hemp products? Or if Canada eventually makes the widely expected change to raise the limit of THC allowed per package of edibles?
As you start planning to grow out of email approvals, make sure your solution can scale and adapt with your company as it faces the opportunities and challenges ahead.
Papercurve helps streamline compliance reviews in regulated industries like cannabis and life sciences. Manage approvers, comment, reference attached documents and archive past versions for audit – all in an easy to use interface.Learn more