MJBizCon experts share perspective on surviving uncertain marijuana markets

Did you miss the webinar “Women Leaders in Cannabis: Shattering the Grass Ceiling?” Head to MJBiz YouTube to watch it now!

This session and other MJBizCon 2020 content is available on demand.

Three cannabis industry leaders revealed during the “Survival in Uncertain Markets and Preparing for New Markets” panel at MJBizCon 2020 on Wednesday how their firms are weathering the COVID-19 storm.

Bob Groesbeck, co-CEO of Planet 13 Holdings, outlined how the Las Vegas mega-dispensary quickly pivoted to home delivery and curbside pickup focusing on local customers instead of tourists, allowing them to quickly bring back and redeploy laid-off employees.

“We’re just riding this thing out,” Groesbeck told the virtual audience. “I am optimistic.

“I’m very, very, very bullish once this pandemic passes, but none of us knows when. … The first two quarters of next year, we’re going to have to be very careful and very conservative.”

Raj Mukherji, CEO of New Jersey-based marijuana retailer CannTech, said constant communication with officials such as local law enforcement and state cannabis regulators has been a boon in uncertain times.

“When you need an inspection date moved because of how the pandemic affected your construction schedule, it’s helpful,” he said.

“It serves the community, it serves the municipality, and it serves you as an operator, as a regulated business, to have the lines of communication constantly open.”

Derek Peterson, founder of California-based multistate marijuana firm Terra Tech Corp., warned that MJ companies should be wary of cutting the consumer-facing aspects of their business in response to the pandemic.

“The business is still good out there, overall,” he said.

“From a top-line standpoint, it’s getting better again, because people are buying cannabis because they’re scared, and they have anxiety, and they’re stressed out and they need something to relax.”

With the endgame for the pandemic still unclear, Peterson said he expects “a little bit of a rocky road for us over the coming quarters” as firms focus on short-term survivability while preparing for future growth and M&A activity.

“It’s going to survivability while still trying to have some semblance of focus on how do we set ourselves up for growth in the future and M&A activity is going to be a thing, I think, that a lot of people are going to be considering more in the upcoming year,” he said.

“Because I think economies of scale are going to make more and more sense, and alignment and combinations are going to make more and more sense … Part of it’s going to be strictly necessity.”