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Yesterday, Business of Cannabis announced the launch of our groundbreaking #BUYLOCALNY campaign in collaboration with the Cannabis Association of New York (CANY).
In the first in a series of upcoming interviews with CANY’s members, we spoke to the chair of the organisation’s cultivation committee and Founder & CEO Ravens View Genetics, Joann Kudrewicz on why supporting local growers through cannabis growers showcases is so vital for the industry to thrive.
New York’s Cannabis Growers Showcases are the first of their kind in the world, how important are they for your business?
New York’s Cannabis Growers Showcases, CGS, are absolutely pivotal for our businesses. These events provide a unique platform for us, the cannabis cultivators, to showcase our meticulously grown products directly to consumers.
They are an opportunity for us to connect with our community, share our passion, and build brand loyalty. Being a part of these pioneering events has been instrumental in introducing our products to the market and forging lasting relationships with our customers.
How has your business been impacted by the market’s roll out so far?
The slower rollout of the regulated cannabis market in New York has been challenging for growers like us who are eager to sell our products legally. The delay in opening dispensaries has meant that we’ve had to navigate a significant period of uncertainty, unable to access the legal market as quickly as we had hoped. As such, our entire community has not experienced the anticipated revenue from product sales, which has created a backlog of products that may be degrading and over time, as well as cash flow concerns which for some, has become insurmountable.
How have these markets changed your situation?
In this context, the showcases have been a lifeline for many of us. They’ve provided a crucial avenue for us to sell our products and generate revenue while we wait for dispensaries to open their doors. For some growers, these showcases are the only way they’re able to sell their product legally in the current environment.
It’s allowed us to enter the market, build relationships with customers, and continue pursuing our passion despite the regulatory challenges. There is also an incredible opportunity to educate the consumers directly that we would not have otherwise. We can share specifics about our own brands, growing techniques, and ethos, while also educating the NYS market about why it is important to buy legal products, why a focus on THC percentage is not everything, and how they can support our local small businesses while also experiencing top quality artisanal products.
So far, sales at these events have reportedly been lower than in dispensaries, why do you think this is?
Cannabis Growers Showcases are a new concept, and many consumers are still unaware of their existence. Some consumers may feel more comfortable making purchases in established dispensary settings.
What can be done to change this?
To change this, we need to focus on raising awareness about these markets, promoting their unique advantages, and showing the safety and compliance we’re exercising in our sales, to encourage consumers to explore and purchase at these events. With time and education, we believe sales will grow.
Why should consumers buy local?
Buying local is not just about enjoying high-quality unique products; it’s about supporting our communities and local economies. When consumers buy local cannabis, they directly contribute to the success of local cultivators who have invested their time, energy, and resources to provide the best possible product. Additionally, buying local reduces the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation, aligning with sustainable practices. It’s a win-win – consumers get exceptional products while nurturing local businesses and promoting sustainability.
Do you think these events could be replicated in other markets?
Absolutely, these events can and should be replicated in other markets. New York’s Cannabis Growers Showcases are pioneering a model that benefits both growers and consumers. By showcasing the diversity of local cultivators and providing a direct connection between them and consumers, similar events can be established elsewhere to promote local economies and provide consumers with a unique and educational experience. We believe this model has the potential to thrive in other states and countries as cannabis legalization continues to expand.