Six Steps Cannabis Businesses Can Take to Overcome Industry Hurdles

The cannabis industry has experienced rapid growth over the past decade alone, and it’s only predicted to increase over time, with global sales predicted to hit $149 billion by 2031. This means there is abundant opportunity for those interested in dipping their toes in the cannabis space and the vast number of potential business ideas that can spawn from it. 

However, perhaps the biggest challenge cannabis businesses face is the ongoing legal and regulatory obstacles that prevent these businesses from operating like any other business in the market. This means cannabis leaders must be cautious when planning and executing any strategy, whether that be advertising, sales or distribution and logistics. 

As leaders in the culture space, the members of Rolling Stone Culture Council are well-versed in the struggles of the cannabis industry, and here, they discuss some of the steps business leaders can take to overcome these hurdles and find success in a challenging business landscape.

Normalize the Consumer Retail Experience

The lack of federal legality and regulations means cannabis businesses can’t operate the same way as traditional retail. That means leaders really need to focus on normalizing the retail experience for consumers. How? One way is to make it so customers can order and pay online. It may be a safer solution that is more convenient for everyone — and more like traditional retail. – Dustin Eide, CanPay

Advocate for Decisive Reform

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ rescheduling recommendation to the DEA and President Biden’s State of the Union comments are solid pro-cannabis catalysts, but in the interim, cannabis operators still face unique burdens including 280E taxes, high rates and cash-only transactions. We will continue advocating for decisive reform that allows America’s next great homegrown industry to reach its full potential. – Darren Weiss, Verano

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Share Content That Highlights Your ‘Why’

One of the most common struggles cannabis-based businesses face is the varying degree of laws and regulations from state to state, so rather than focus only on the sale of products, leaders within those industries should focus on sharing their journeys and experiences with cannabis. Create relatable content that invites people to learn more about the “why” in your mission. – Cynthia Johnson, Bell + Ivy

Be Ready to Pivot at Any Time

The most significant issue cannabis businesses face across the board is the legislative landscape surrounding the industry. My cannabis PR firm has helped many clients deal with ever-changing regulations, and we’ve found the best way to approach this issue is to stay flexible. Be ready to pivot in whatever ways you need to in order to continue legitimate operations, even as regulations change. – Evan Nison, NisonCo


Use Available Resources to Expand Your Customer Base

Capital markets continue to face challenges in the cannabis industry, so cash is expected to remain scarce. To succeed, business leaders must use their available resources to expand their customer base while remaining adaptable and responsive to changing market conditions. – Michael Klein, cannabisMD

Stay Informed and Active

One struggle for cannabis businesses is navigating the complex and evolving regulatory landscape. To overcome this, business leaders can prioritize staying informed about local and federal regulations, investing in compliance measures and actively participating in industry advocacy groups to influence policy changes in their favor. – Sonia Singh, Center of Inner Transformations


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