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Interview with Gregg Steinberg (Growcentia)

On February 21st, Gregg Steinberg of Growcentia, will speak at Kahner Global's Cannabis Private Investment Summit in Fort Lauderdale, FL. This event gathers industry leaders and investors for a day of collaboration and networking

We spoke to the Growcentia CEO about the year ahead, within our borders and beyond. Here, he talks about evolving markets and consumers, and how business in a Post-Cole Memo landscape looks as green as ever.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


January 2018 saw both the opening up of the largest legal market in the U.S., as well as the reversal of the Cole Memo by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Where is the industry focus in this moment framed by both opportunity and instability?

There wasn’t as much talk as I thought there might be relative to the ability for the Department of Justice to actually implement anything because the funding is not there. I definitely don’t hear the consideration or the concern post that conversation than there was early on in this administration’s tenure.

People are focused on the business at hand. The California opportunity is probably much more of a conversation than the worry about what’s coming out of Washington.

In terms of the California piece, from the artisanal and craft side of the business, and the concern of the large cultivators, that market evolution is going to be an interesting evolution to watch. The craft beer industries vs. the big beer companies is a good analogy to that and we’ll see something similar in our industry. California is where we’ll probably see that play out more than anywhere else in the near future.

With all of the energy surrounding California, is there anything that we’re missing in Massachusetts where legalized recreational cannabis use will roll out this summer?

What’s going on in Massachusetts, you’ll also see it in a number of other New England states in terms of the regulatory environment changing dramatically. New York, New Jersey and New England combined are awfully compelling in terms of what that opportunity is going to look like.

You can’t go across state borders and can’t go across country lines, but for ancillary businesses, the opportunities and impact for companies like ours, these are compelling opportunities that continue to create interesting business models and the ability to really be part of the growing industry.

Consumers have an underlying confidence in products with a USDA organic certification. As that market grows, what are your thoughts on establishing industry standards for a crop that is not recognized by the federal government?

There are a number of organizations that are trying to get those guidelines put in place with leading cultivators. The more that those organizations are able to be an attraction, one or two organizations are going to end up being the cream of the crop and holding those guidelines. Those who are adhering to those guidelines and methodologies are going to be able to demand a higher price.

As soon as the federal regulations change, one or two of these organizations will become a certifying body, or be absorbed by one of the federal agencies. Those that are already adopting to it will have a fast path to entry. It’s definitely going to be a competitive advantage.

Consumers are becoming more sophisticated at all levels. A more sophisticated consumer is a better consumer and a better consumer is going to look for quality products.

How is Growcentia positioning itself for when that change in regulation does come?