Business of Cannabis: New York brought some of the industry’s leading companies to the stage to share their insights and their knowledge. From growers, to consultants, the state of play sessions gave real insight straight from the source.
Mitch Baruchowitz, CEO of Merida Capital, talked about the state of play for Merida. Mitch continued the conversation about an equitable industry, changing perceptions and touched on some of the difficulties from moving from an illegal to a legal market. As for Merida’s prediction for the legal market in New York, Baruchowitz thinks that all predictions right now are too conservative: “Rational analysis is going to underestimate the New York market.”
Allan Gandleman, Head of New York Growers and Processors Association sat down with Jonathan Rubin, CEO of New Leaf Data Services to discuss how small and mid-level growers remain relevant among the major players and how to build a vibrant and inclusive ecosystem. Gandleman laid out some of the legislative timeline and said “hopefully we’re looking at kind of an early 2022 timeline”.
Speaking on the progressive nature of the MRTA, Gandleman highlighted not only the social equity but the environmental elements of the act: “Part of the MRTA which is really notable is it’s kind of commitment to environmental sustainability, we all know the energy use of cannabis in Colorado et cetera, and you know here in New York we are favouring outdoor”.
Gary Santo, CEO of Tilt Holdings joined Andrew Udell, Managing Editor of TheCannalysts, for a state of play session. Santo further expanded on the Shinnecock Indian Nation partnership that Barre Hamp discussed earlier in the day. Santo stressed the importance of working to help provide Tribal Nations the assistance to create enterprises that they will continue to own and run: “It’s about building a true economic ecosystem that’s going to give back to the reservation and to the nation itself,” he said.
Santo discussed regulations, access to capital and brand structuring, but social equity was very much the core of his talk. “Social equity it’s not just about writing a cheque, or diversity in the people we hire, it’s really about digging into the community and trying to create that next wave of cannabis entrepreneurs and operators.”
Jennifer Drake, Co-Chief Operating Officer of Ayr Wellness took the last state of play session with Andrew Udell.
Drake shared Ayr’s ambitions to “really to be the largest producer of high-quality flower in the country” and shared her excitement for new products such as Levia (a THC-infused seltzer) to come to the market.
She explored some of the difficulties of vertical integration, cultivation and providing quality products consistently saying: “Running a cannabis company is hard, so you’ve got to be really passionate about it.” She also stressed the importance of a good company culture, “because attracting and retaining that great talent is the only way you can do all of these hard things consistently well.”