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New Series: Cannabis Industry Issues

Updated: Mar 8

This article is brought to you by the Cannabis Commerce + Chemistry Podcast.


The cannabis industry is not only strongly contested and frequently opposed, but it faces many challenges not endured by other businesses. Higher Learning LV is known for our technical training, giving students a detailed and thorough understanding of topics such as terpenes, cannabinoids, and the endocannabinoid system.

But this isn't enough.

While this core foundational knowledge is critical to the success of any company or individual, additional layers of knowledge must be continually addressed. To be successful, cannabis and hemp industry professionals need to understand the challenges that they currently—or soon—will face. In detail. Like an A-list baller.

Things move quickly in the cannabis industry. Those who don't continually engage in structured learning cannot gain enough perspective to develop true understanding and insight of the industry (at least not enough to win against the competition).

These sad souls (sometimes called "tourists" by old school industry diehards) will never truly understand the skewed and pocketed dynamics of an industry awkwardly interwoven with a centuries-old culture that is more detailed and nuanced than they can imagine. They are doomed to a career segment that they probably won't want to highlight on their LinkedIn profile a decade from now.

Cannabis Industry Issues

Those that lack the insight and strategic planning brains to weather the storm of excessive taxation, jurisdictional bans, lack of interstate commerce, strict regulatory oversight, price compression, extreme jurisdictional variance, testing laboratory shenanigans, sometimes frighteningly expensive licensing, and lack of merchant banking services will likely not survive.

In the cannabis industry, ignorant companies and the professionals that run them are the walking dead. They are guaranteed to fail and fooling employees, investors, and regulators if they say otherwise. The zombies (their educated competition) are coming to eat their brains (their company's assets).

Social equity issues, high capitalization expenses, lack of customer satisfaction, an origins culture dripping in stigma and stereotype, and Schedule I status at the federal level only add to the pain of being a cannabis company in 2023. If you would rather survive than die in bankruptcy court, this series is for you.

"Statistically, more than 90 percent of startups in the cannabis and hemp industries will fail."

Statistically, more than 90 percent of startups in the cannabis and hemp industries will fail. That's nine out of 10 canna companies that, at some point in the next x-number of years, will result in failed enterprises.

Note that this does not include those brands that disappear because they successfully arrange a sale to a larger entity and are absorbed or diluted into the purchasing company and its brand(s). Merely because a brand fades into obscurity does not mean that it failed. Quite the contrary, its disappearance may be the result of success.

Cannabis Industry Issues Series

It is for these reasons that Higher Learning LV has introduced its new Cannabis Industry Issues series. This collection of articles, podcast episodes, and other audio assets will investigate the major hurdles and challenges facing the industry.

"Until these problems are remedied, the cannabis industry will be like an eight-cylinder car running on only four, never reaching its top speed."

Some say that, until these problems are remedied, the cannabis industry (and, by extension, cannabis investing) will be like an eight-cylinder car running on only four, never reaching its potential top speed.

  1. The first article in this series teaches readers about how not to treat VIP customers or members of a loyalty program. Read it now: "Cherish Loyal Cannabis Customers—or Your Competition Will."

  2. In No. 31, the Cannabis Commerce + Chemistry Podcast tackled this topic. Listen now: "C3 Podcast No. 31: Top Three Cannabis Industry Problems."

If you're a cannabis industry professional and want to get ahead or stay ahead of your competition, visit Higher Learning LV each week for new ad-free articles and podcast episodes.

Are you a cannabis industry professional? Check out Higher Learning LV's Deep Dive Subscription that features dozens of long-form articles based on the latest peer-reviewed scientific research. Priced to accommodate personal and enterprise training budgets.

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