By Eli McVey
Nearly 20% of cannabis companies are changing up their growth plans for next year based on the election of Donald Trump, with some scaling back or delaying projects and others accelerating or even expanding them, according to a Marijuana Business Daily survey of industry executives.
The survey results show that a number of companies are making decisions for next year based solely on the results of the presidential election and the uncertainties for the industry under a Trump presidency. Some executives who are more concerned about a possible crackdown are pulling back, while others who are more optimistic are charging forward.
The majority of respondents – roughly 80% – indicated that the election of Trump has not influenced their 2017 growth plans so far.
But many in this group are taking a wait-and-see approach, saying they haven’t decided if they’ll make any shifts to their expansion strategies. They will be keeping a close eye on the incoming Trump administration for clues on how the federal government plans to approach the marijuana industry.
The anonymous survey, conducted Dec. 6-7, includes responses from 223 self-identified marijuana industry executives, senior managers and high-level investors.
A poll released last week by Marijuana Business Daily of the same group of cannabis industry executives revealed that over half of them are somewhat or very concerned about their business prospects under a Trump administration. But so far, only one in five are actually making changes to their growth plans.
This isn’t entirely surprising, as the mixed messages the president-elect has been sending to the industry provide little direction for business owners to make planning decisions of any kind.
Two of Trump’s cabinet picks – Rep. Tom Price for Health and Human Services secretary and Sen. Jeff Sessions for Attorney General – are unabashed opponents of the marijuana industry.
But Peter Thiel, an adviser to the Trump transition team, has a big stake in the marijuana industry. Thiel’s venture capital firm Founders Fund invested in a round of financing for Privateer Holdings, a cannabis-focused private equity firm that raised $75 million last year.
Jay Czarkowski, a founding partner of the Colorado marijuana consultancy Canna Advisors, doesn’t anticipate changing his company’s growth plans because of the Trump presidency. But Czarkowski is bullish about the future of both his company and the industry under Trump.
“I feel great, wonderful about my business prospects under a Trump administration,” Czarkowski said. “The reality is that it has nothing to do with Trump, it has to do with the industry. The momentum that we have as a society, people learning the truth about cannabis, that’s driving the business. On a national level, this industry is going to grow under Trump, but not due to Trump.”
Eli McVey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org