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A Slice of the Cannabis Market

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Massachusetts is a state in transition, where recreational sales are not yet legal, but it’s only a matter of time before the legal framework is in place to make it happen. Walking the exhibition room at the CannaCon held in Boston, Massachusetts, last month was an exercise in seeing how the more things change, the more they stay the same. Everybody wants a piece of the pie, and the green frenzy is still strong.

It’s a familiar pattern these transitions take, and many of the businesses present at the convention were exhibitors at conventions on the West Coast in all but name only. Security companies, software companies selling inventory and business management software, packaging manufacturers, marketing and branding companies, manufacturers of LED lights, and hydroponics retailers were all out in force, looking to woo business owners. So, too, was the consumer-oriented end of the market: patient cooperatives looking to find new clients, single-plant grow box manufacturers, seed breeders looking to build their name recognition.

There were some odd-balls in the mix as well. One energy company, which had successfully negotiated a contract to power a large grow with natural gas, sent a representative to see if others might be interested in a similar arrangement. Given the size of the companies involved, it’s doubtful that more than a handful of attendees would even consider such a thing.

The one that took the cake, though, was the young gentleman who was repping a window and door installation company and had no idea why they’d sent him to a cannabis convention. Was his presence a longshot bid by the company to cash in, or a clerical error? It will remain forever a mystery, but my heart goes out to you, windows and doors rep. If you didn’t get your thirty leads by Sunday afternoon, it surely wasn’t your fault.

Even though the price of cannabis tends to drop precipitously whenever a new legal market opens, there were plenty of growers and aspiring growers in attendance, making connections with potential suppliers.

Given the volatile nature of emerging markets, it seems doubtful that even ten percent of the business owners in attendance could know for certain whether they’d still be in business and turning a profit five years from now. Yet, still they came, and worked, and talked, and planned. Never let it be said that the spirit of American entrepreneurism is dead. It’s alive and well, and it’s currently living in the cannabis market.

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