C3 Video No. 8: Maxime Kot from Cannabis Business Advisors

Updated: Oct 9

In December 2021, Higher Learning LV interviewed Maxime Kot, president at Cannabis Business Advisors in Phoenix, Arizona. Kot brings nearly a decade of experience in the cannabis industry to Cannabis Business Advisors.

Maxime Kot from Cannabis Business Advisors in Phoenix


During this 20-minute exclusive interview, Kot explains how businesses must be disciplined to properly navigate the licensing and regulatory landscape in the cannabis industry. She also explains some of the strategies behind the client success stories that she has created at Cannabis Business Advisors.

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The Interview


Higher Learning LV: "Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us, Maxime. You've been in the cannabis industry for nearly a decade. What inspired you to join such a risky and controversial emerging industry?"


"I didn't pick cannabis...it picked me. Like many in their twenties, I was young and needed a job. Luckily, I was fortunate to end up in the cannabis industry. From the start, I loved finding solutions to the industry's many challenges."

Maxime Kot: "I didn't pick cannabis...it picked me. Like many in their twenties, I was young and needed a job. Luckily, I was fortunate to end up in the cannabis industry. From the start, I loved finding solutions to the industry's many challenges. I still do!"


HLLV: "Historical data tell us that only about one in ten startups in the cannabis industry will succeed in the long term, becoming sustainable revenue generators with notable market share. What core business disciplines are most critical for startups to succeed, in your opinion?"

Maxime Kot


MK: "A good team is critical. By team, I don't mean vendors and employees, but rather your partners. To succeed in this space, you need to have partners and people who you can trust. You also need experts on your team to navigate regulatory complexities, such as an industry consultant, attorney, and CPA.


"To succeed in this space, you need to have partners and people who you can trust. You also need experts on your team to navigate regulatory complexities, such as an industry consultant, attorney, and CPA."

"I always ask clients who are just starting out, 'Who would you trust to hand over a suitcase with $10 million in it?' That's the type of person who you want as a business partner. Trust often disintegrates when ownership teams are misaligned when it comes to the company vision. From the very beginning, it is essential for partners to agree on the business plan and model, how profits will be split, and where different revenue streams are distributed."


HLLV: "There's been much talk recently about U.S. federal adult-use legalization. How would the descheduling and overall legalization of cannabis at the federal level affect Cannabis Business Advisors and its clients?"

MK: "Federal legalization will ultimately take time to roll out. When marijuana is reclassified and removed as a Schedule I drug, the transition will not be immediate. Right now, every state program moving from medical to recreational has taken time. If we look at alcohol, it is still regulated by the states...and even municipalities.


"In regard to The Cannabis Business Advisors, there will always be a place for licensing and operational experts in this industry, whether it is federally legal or not. Our team has evolved with the industry over the past ten years and will continue to as new policies and legislation are enacted."


HLLV: "Some claim that cannabis, such a new industry, offers greater opportunities for women than other industries. What is your opinion of the reality of being a female executive in the cannabis industry in 2022?"


"I believe that, if you want something, you go after it. Whether you are a man or woman trying to enter the cannabis space, there will be challenges. It is not an easy industry, but there are opportunities for anyone who rises to the occasion. I also foresee more opportunities for women."

MK: "I believe that, if you want something, you go after it. Whether you are a man or woman trying to enter the cannabis space, there will be challenges. It is not an easy industry. But there are opportunities for anyone who rises to the occasion. I also foresee more opportunities for women. "According to market research firm Brightfield Group, women are the fastest growing group of new cannabis consumers. This makes it essential for companies to integrate this market perspective into their leadership positions."

HLLV: "One of the biggest shortcomings of cannabis and hemp startups is a weak or poorly managed brand identity. What are your thoughts regarding brand identity in such a stigma-laden industry and culture as cannabis?"


MK: "Trying to create a brand in any industry is a challenge, never mind a regulated industry like cannabis. People trying to create brand loyalty is tough. Each state market has different rules and regulations on what you can and cannot do. It will take time and more relaxed regulations for mom and pop brands that resonate on a local level to garnish recognition on a national scale.

"That being said, I think there will always be a place for local boutique brands. There will just be a shift in how they are marketed, depending on federal legalization."

"That being said, I think there will always be a place for local boutique brands. There will just be a shift in how they are marketed, depending on federal legalization."


HLLV: "Thanks again for sharing your expertise with our readers, Maxime. What final advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs and startups trying to beat the odds and make it in the cannabis industry?"


MK: "My business partner has always said: Identify what you are good at first and then apply that to the cannabis space. I am very detail oriented, so consulting came easy. I wanted to know everything on the regulatory end, so I naturally progressed with the industry. Now is the time, if you want to make a move into cannabis, to start thinking about how you can bring your own unique skillset to the market. There is much opportunity to grow!"


HLLV: "How can our readers further follow your work online?"


MK:



Like what you just read? Check out our new Cannabis for Cancer Hub that features links to all of our articles about marijuana for cancer.

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