INNspired

Crop yield is a useful metric when measuring the scale and success of a cannabis cultivation operation. 

Cannabis companies with large-scale greenhouses love to talk about the size of their operations, however, recently cannabis companies have begun to focus on measuring cannabis crop yield as a more important performance indicator. Grow space numbers are often impressive and easy to understand, but they don’t necessarily tell the full story. Major cannabis cultivation facilities are often economies of scale that prioritize quantity over quality, resulting in a standardized end product that can be produced at large volumes.

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The proliferation of legal cannabis across North America has underscored the importance of cannabis genetics and artificial selection.

The legalization of cannabis across major jurisdictions in North America has created a new marketplace for consumer goods. In the modern cannabis industry, we have seen exponential growth in product diversity, including innovative concentrated forms such as oils, soft gel pills, shatter and vape pen cartridges. When it comes to the cannabis flower itself, which also serves as an input for oils and concentrates, the quality and genetic makeup of each strain have become even more important, with major corporations and innovative cannabis companies working to improve their base product. Driven by cannabis connoisseurs and medical users in need of strains that produce unique remedial effects, the legalization of the cannabis industry has caused an explosion of innovation when it comes to cultivating the optimal cannabis plant.

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The US legal cannabis industry is finding new legitimacy with each passing year, but cannabis is still far from federally legal in the US.

From a consumer’s perspective in legal jurisdictions like Colorado and California, it’s easy to forget that cannabis is not yet legal as far as the federal government is concerned. However, for cannabis businesses and the ancillary services they rely on, cannabis’ complex legal status can be problematic. Ever since the first legal medical cannabis shops opened in California in the 1990s, cannabis businesses have had difficulties accessing many of the basic financial services that other businesses take for granted.

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A cannabis health product category could enable the fair and accurate regulation of new markets, including CBD-based consumer packaged goods.

CBD’s reported therapeutic properties along with regulatory changes such as the US Farm Bill and the removal of CBD from the federal Controlled Substance list have provided CBD companies with a foot in the door to the US$4.2 trillion health and wellness market. In 2019, major US retailers such as CVS Pharmacy (NYSE:CVS), Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA), Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) and Kroger (NYSE:KR) began carrying CBD topicals including creams, sprays, roll-ons, oils, lotions and salves. Major clothing and beauty retail brands such as Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN), Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:ULTA) and Authentic Brands Group (which now owns Sports Illustrated) have also signed agreements with cannabis companies to give shelf space to CBD derived products.

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Cannabis legalization in the digital age is resulting in massive amounts of consumer data, enabling companies to optimize operations through cannabis data analytics.

Advances in data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning have rendered raw data in the cannabis industry all the more valuable. Technology companies are designing data collection and analytical tools that specifically target stakeholders at each stage of the cannabis supply chain, including clinical researchers, cultivators, distributors, retailers and consumers.

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The dot-com craze has provided a number of lessons for emerging cannabis businesses seeking opportunities in an industry gaining legitimacy across North America.

Over the past several years, cannabis has been the single most talked about industry among North American investors and for good reason. The historic legislative breakthroughs for legal cannabis have created numerous opportunities and no small amount of excitement. Investors who have been in the game for a while, however, probably remember that this isn’t the first time an exciting industry has come seemingly out of nowhere and generated massive buzz and speculation. Much like the mania that ensued during the dot-com bubble, the trend towards a global cannabis market is offering both opportunities and challenges to new companies on the market.

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