Benefits of a Blank Canvas…The Cannabis Industry

What is fascinating about the cannabis space is the scope for organizations to tear up the book of traditional business practises. Cannabis organizations all around the globe are making new and innovative business models which are enabling them to rival industry goliaths in an exceptionally short space of time.

Take a gander at the biggest cannabis organizations on the planet – Aurora, Canopy, Tilray – they are all start-ups established in 2013, yet they are already contending with major worldwide organizations that have many decades, sometimes centuries, of trading history under their belts.

What start-up cannabis organizations have over traditional companies is a totally blank canvas with which to design a completely new way of operating; and not depend on traditional and often outdated business practises. For instance, the main cannabis players – Aurora, Canopy, Tilray – are data driven companies who are implementing extremely advanced IT frameworks to enable them to connect directly with customers, respond rapidly to changing market conditions, tap into expertise around the globe and flawlessly set up efficient working groups in different jurisdictions and sectors. Compare this with a one hundred year old organization that has decades of cumbersome IT frameworks heaped on top of each other and it’s easy to comprehend how new cannabis companies are pioneering a path in sectors such as, pharma, tobacco, beverages and FMCG.

The cannabis sector is developing so quickly, and this new era of dynamic IT data driven organizations, are set up to respond rapidly and proficiently to an ever-developing landscape. Something the victors in this space can do extremely well, is identify and form key strategic partnerships to allow them to tap into the best expertise in the world –  whether that be regulatory, manufacturing, science or distribution expertise , the list goes on. This enables organizations to respond rapidly to customer needs and set up extremely robust supply chains and distribution channels in a short space of time; as opposed to being a new entrant in an established sector and conforming to standard operating practices; they can rip up the play book and out flank large industry through being quick and dynamic. A good example of this is the growing demand from well-established North American companies for CBD white label in Europe. By outsourcing manufacturing to experts in the specific jurisdiction that they are aiming to expand into, they can omit a lot of the risks associated with moving into incredibly fragmented cannabis regulatory systems around the world.

Stepping back from the operational side of things, a blank canvas also allows the industry to address a lot of the ethical dilemmas that plague traditional business – gender and racial inequalities, glass ceilings, social mobility, climate issues and so forth. It is still early days for the cannabis sector, however many of us are hopeful and optimistic that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated.

As the anecdotal and scientific evidence of the benefits of cannabis increases, we are seeing the draconian regulations of the near past starting to be reviewed and changed. The echoes of Nixon’s ‘war on drugs’ and Reagans ‘Drug Abuse act’ are slowly being silenced, resulti­­­ng in patients around the world being able to access the much-needed legal medicines that have been prohibited for so long. As research develops let us hope that law makers continue to take a progressive and evidence-based approach to legalising natural medicinal such as Cannabis.

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