It wasn’t that long ago that the legal cannabis industry did not exist at all. The medical cannabis sector has existed for longer than the adult-use sector, but even the medical cannabis industry is young compared to many other industries. Yet, despite not being around for a long time, the cannabis industry is already surpassing other industries that have been well established for many decades.
According to New Frontier Data, the cannabis industry is going to become larger than the manufacturing industry by 2020. One study estimated that the cannabis industry will be larger than the NFL in the very near future. The cannabis industry is expanding at an exponential rate, so fast that it’s often hard to navigate the shifting terrain. After all, there’s not exactly a one-size-fits-all guidebook for how to succeed in the cannabis industry.
Most industry members are largely making it up as they go (in fantastic fashion) while they are simultaneously making history. That’s not to say that there are not standard practices that businesses should follow. But because the cannabis industry is still young and the rules of engagement are constantly evolving, most situations in the cannabis space have one or more unique aspects to them that are not found in virtually any other industry, except perhaps one.
In a lot of cases, cannabis industry entrepreneurs could benefit from looking at the alcohol industry, and specifically the craft beer sector of the alcohol industry. Just as cannabis is prohibited in most parts of America, so too was alcohol for a time. An extremely popular industry that operated in the shadows for many years moving to a legal, regulated system has only occurred one other time in American history, and stories of overcoming the hurdles that alcohol producers faced, and still face in some ways, would be extremely beneficial for cannabis entrepreneurs to know.
Being familiar with the dynamics involved in the rise of the craft beer industry is something that every cannabis entrepreneur should want to learn more about. The fight to reduce stigma, the multiple layers of bureaucracy involved, and the fierce competition among industry members can be found in both industries, but with the craft beer industry having a longer history with them.
Developing a craft brand is not an easy task. It takes a lot more than just having a quality product. A person can grow the best craft cannabis in the world but it takes a lot of hard work and innovative thinking to make it known to the masses exactly how fantastic their product is. That is true for both craft beer as well as craft cannabis. Learning the tips and tricks from the craft beer industry could prove to be invaluable for a cannabis startup, and there’s no better person to learn it from than Tony Magee.
Tony Magee is the founder and CEO of Lagunitas Brewing Company, which is one of the top craft beer companies in America. Magee started the company in 1993 after homebrewing on his kitchen stove. Those humble beginnings are something that every craft cannabis producer can relate to. Tony Magee doesn’t just know craft beer, he also knows cannabis. He has been very open about his cannabis use, as well as the cannabis use among his employees.
Lagunitas has been hit by cannabis prohibition, having lost its license to produce beer in 2005 due to an employee being caught consuming a joint on company property. As described in an article on Mashable:
Lagunitas was found in violation of Section 24200 of California’s Business and Professions Code, better known as its “disorderly house” law. The California ABC defines a disorderly house as a facility that “disturbs the neighborhood or is maintained for purposes which are injurious to the public morals, health, convenience or safety.”
Fortunately, things ultimately worked out for the company and it was able to thrive since the incident, but cannabis prohibition literally almost killed Tony Magee’s company. It’s cool to see that the company has overcome the issues and continues to embrace cannabis culture.
Lagunitas once created a limited edition beer that contained cannabis terpenes (Supercritical) and has sponsored a number of cannabis events. The company is at the forefront of where the craft beer and cannabis industries collide. Tony Magee will be speaking at the upcoming Seed to Sale Show hosted by the National Cannabis Industry Association, and it’s something that current and aspiring industry members need to check out February 7-8 in Denver.
Tony Magee is going to be a keynote speaker at the event, giving a presentation titled, ‘A Glimpse into the Future: Lessons from 20 Years of Craft Brewing Give Traction to the Cannabis Industry.’ Considering where Magee started and where he is now, and how he has been able to scale up his business without sacrificing quality while also building one of the most recognizable craft brands, it’s safe to say that the presentation is going to be full of useful information.
Magee will be joined by dozens of other speakers throughout the event who all have invaluable knowledge and years of experience that can provide insight into what entrepreneurs can expect as they pursue their dreams in the cannabis space. Make sure to get your tickets to the Seed to Sale Show as soon as possible before they are sold out.