Alison Gordon, founder and ex-CEO of a publicly traded cannabis company, shares her perspective on pressures in the Canadian cannabis market as interest in the US rises.
Against the backdrop of the Lift Expo's return, a business leader in the Canadian cannabis industry reflected on how much the industry at large has changed since the last time this event took place.
Alison Gordon was the CEO of 48North Cannabis up until the boutique cannabis company was acquired earlier this year by a fellow operator, HEXO (NASDAQ:HEXO,TSX:HEXO).
Gordon, who also founded 48North, may no longer be focused on the day-to-day duties of a licensed producer, but that doesn’t mean she’s out of the cannabis industry. Gordon has now co-founded a boutique sales agency called Other People’s Pot, which is focused on selling and distribution.
Looking back on mistakes in the Canadian cannabis market
The executive said it’s hard to pin down an accurate representation of the experience of riding the early investment wave seen in the Canadian cannabis industry. “There were a lot of mistakes made,” she said.
Gordon spoke at the business portion of the Lift Expo event, serving as a panelist in a conversation around US legalization and what lies ahead for Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs trying to expand.
“I think the legacy is: Should we have walked before we ran? ... It was this race and we figured things out. And that's laid the groundwork now for where people are going," she said.
Gordon reminisced on the difficulties of running a cannabis company while learning the ropes, a challenge she said was compounded by the lack of an established roadmap or blueprint.
US cannabis opportunity shining bright — is it right for Canadians?
When asked about the opportunity in the US, which is drawing many eyes in the cannabis industry, the executive said Canadian businesses have to be very cautious and diligent when considering the market below the border.
“There's opportunity there, but it's not an easy proposition to just go to the US and do these things,” Gordon said.
According to Gordon, the most recent MJBizCon event highlighted how far the US has come in terms of growth.
“It used to be the Canadians just dominated and you couldn't walk into the hotel without seeing 10 people you knew. It did not feel like that,” she said. “You could just see this massive growth of the US side of the industry.”
As someone who has focused so much on Canada's cannabis marketplace, Gordon didn't dismiss its its role in the industry today, even as the US moves increasingly toward center stage.
“There's a lot of benefits to being in the Canadian market. But at the same time, it's a small market, and the government's hand is heavy in it, which makes it very expensive.”
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Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
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