Biden’s recent announcement was a positive signal.
The key word here is signal. Entire economies move on signals and confidence, so let’s take the confidence boost and look at what the signal means.
In real terms, the announcement doesn’t change much on a large scale, and whether or not it was a political smokescreen to drown out noise that Biden didn’t want airtime given to is irrelevant. The fact is, it will have a positive impact on thousands of people and their families almost immediately, and there is an opportunity for more transformational change now the wedge is in the door.
I’ve been thinking a lot about one of the posts about Biden’s announcement by Curt Dalton and whether or not this is a Trojan Horse for big pharma.
You know what? It might be. But if that’s the case, it a juggernaut and the best thing we can do as an industry is approach it with eyes wide open and prepare by honing in on our operational efficiency and competitive advantages.
But as an Australian, I also want to offer an outsiders perspective.
In Australia, we legalised medicinal cannabis in 2016 at a federal level and the industry is small with a very pharmaceutical approach and feel.
To get access to medical cannabis in Australia, you see your GP and get a prescription. You pick your script up at the pharmacy (or the chemist, as we say here). I’m often asked about legalisation in Australia and when it will happen.
There is strong social capital to legalise cannabis for adult use in Australia with more Australians supporting legalisation than ever before and a recent study shows that there has been an increase in the number of people accessing the medical program, although prices are high, so it’s inaccessible for most.
But there are two key things that are important to bring to the table in this conversation:
- The Australian system is regulated against the EU GMP which means it is very pharmaceutically focussed by intent and sets up the industry for export and import (which is what is happening); and
- Australia doesn’t have the industry capability on our own shores to support a cannabis industry now or in the near term, so we have to import talent — often from Israel or the Netherlands.
There are some lessons and opportunities here for the US market:
- The US market, given its state-by-state approach, is very inward focused by necessity to serve the state/domestic market (which is okay because there is a big enough market);
- The US industry is built on compliance to align with the Metrc or Biotrack systems (an outsider might even say ‘fixated’) and often operators are so focused on that, that they are not considering how they’d need to adjust to be compliant with the much tougher EU GMP for export capability (big pharma is EU GMP compliant already);
- There is a unique opportunity for the US to capitalise on the export potential for talent on a global scale, but to do this there needs to be industry standardisation and best practice (think how chefs all around the world get trained and how that enables chefs to work in kitchens anywhere — this needs to happen in cannabis) and remember, standardising does not mean that the creativity of your operation will be lost — instead, standardization can allow it to innovate;
- I’m sorry US employers, but the hard truth is you really need to lift your game in terms of pay, leave entitlements and working conditions if you want to compete for international talent and/or retain the talent you have — global mobility is coming and the power balance will shift to employees;
- While price will always be a factor in purchasing decisions, as consumers become more educated, they will demand higher quality, greater product diversity, higher sustainability and stronger transparency; and
- We can only deliver on this effectively if operations have efficient systems in place to allow for continuous improvement.
I’m generally excited about the wedge that this announcement creates for the industry, but let’s get strategic as it signals internationalization. Operators need to make sure they have systems to optimise the trajectory of their business so that:
🔥 They remain competitive as an artisan including building their brand;
👉 They can grow their brand, quality and diversity to become a big player in the domestic or international market; or
🧪 They become an attractive acquisition target.
What are your thoughts on this?
#cannabisindustry #cannabiscommunity #operationalefficiency #teams #startups #cannabisEUGMP#cannabisEUGMP