This post was originally published on LinkedIn on December 27th, 2019 and is being republished here with the author’s consent
I made a post the other week and it got quite the response. I wasn’t expecting so many people to react, but I guess I struck a nerve. For some it was a bad zing like hitting your funny bone. Others said it was a jolt of inspiration. So I suppose it’s worth expounding upon my initial premise, which is that the Chads are screwed and the culture side of the cannabis industry is going to kick their ass.
I know both sides very well, I’ll even admit to some Chad-esque tendencies early on in my cannabis career. But I spent time with the farmers and hustlers that built the industry, I learned from them, and I’ve seen what makes them different. But before I get into the reasons the culture is poised to run game on the capital clowns, here’s a few reasons why I’m not worried about the Chads.
Underestimating the competition
I recently heard a suit bragging about working 70 hours a week. Admittedly, that’s a lot, to the average 40 hour per week desk jockey. But not to a farmer or real weed hustler. You’re about 30 hours short there, suit. Yep, these guys go hard, like 12-16 hours a day 7 days a week. They don’t take vacation, they don’t show up late. There are no sick days on the hill, Chadley. You aren’t competing against fellow business school grads, you’re fighting against fucking warriors who laugh at your 45 min commute in traffic as they tear through backwoods for miles to a remote farm with views you can’t comprehend.
Access to services
Normal business services either don’t exist or are exorbitantly expensive. Banking? Nah. Lawyers- 200% markup. And that thing you rely on for marketing- social media…well we can’t use it without huge amounts of scrutiny. Hell, we can’t create a digital mailing campaign. All these things that big business is used to throwing money at to solve simply don’t exist in cannabis. The suits comfort makes them weak. The farmers calm under discomfort makes them powerful. Once the shackles of 280e are removed you’ll see the real strength of the cannabis community.
Arrogance to think they can market to the early adapters
Corporate cannabis is trying to sell sub par products to an established market who is used to better quality and lower prices. It won’t work. So, you have 2 options, create a better product with reasonable pricing, or expand the market and sell to consumers who aren’t accustomed to superior cannabis. Anything else will move customers back to the traditional market. Take a look at Florida, nearly 400,000 registered patients and less than 20 licensed companies to cultivate, process, and dispense. What do you think those “patients” are buying? Peace of mind and traditional market product, that’s what.
With big checks come big responsibility. They also come with accountability to investors. Investors that don’t know shit about growing good cannabis and only see dollar signs. They also know how to spend money, they’re really good at spending. MedMen’s misguided marketing campaign to destigmatize cannabis cost a couple million and didn’t get patients in the door, but it got them on South Park. Several big dogs have undergone expensive rebrands to change the conversation after coming to market with weak product offerings. There’s a limit to how effective expensive, inauthentic marketing can be…and when the capital well runs dry, welcome to the drought.
The drought is coming
What? You didn’t think cannabis had economic cycles? That’s the part you suits are supposed to be good at. This is also where the cannabis community thrives! Where suits are used to predicting and riding market fluctuations, who do you think controls them? The farmers and hustlers control costs, customers are the leverage point. And if you thought it was hard to sell your boof now, just wait till the traditional market breaks open the exotic totes this summer.
You can’t fake the swagger
Culture vultures take note- you’re easy to spot and your stench is worse. Real recognize real, it’s never been truer. Next up…why the culture is poised to dominate 2020 and beyond!
I’d welcome a rebuttal from someone on the capital side, I know you’re reading…
Greg Welch truly is a cannabis marketing mercenary whose passion for the plant and connections in the industry run deep enough for him to keep his finger firmly on the pulse of the culture at the root of it all. You can catch more of his unique insight by following him at his LinkedIn page HERE.