By André van Regenmortel, CMO düber
Brought to you by dübercoin
Now that everyone has hopefully recovered from their Thanksgiving turkey binge, let’s digest all of our thoughts from MJ Biz 2017. Over the course of three days we spoke with hundreds of visitors at our düber booth, and from those interactions three key themes emerged: buoyancy of new entrants, profitability and integration concerns plaguing existing operators, and emerging payment solutions.
Optimism fuels new entrants
It was surprising to see so many people not yet active in the cannabis space visiting a cannabis trade show. All had a keen interest in joining the “green rush”, but many had not yet made up their minds on exactly how. Some were contemplating becoming a grower, processor and/or a retailer, or all in one! The interest of so much talent in a young industry is certainly positive, as it brings the potential to incorporate best practices of other industries into the cannabis sector. It will be a special challenge to maintain this positive spirit in the cannabis space as compared to traditional commerce, which is so often dominated by a few large players.
Profitability and integration worry existing operators
On a more sobering note, many existing operators were less exuberant. Many expressed concerns about their bottom-lines: growers have seen prices fall, while retailers struggled with heavy state and federal taxation, making it hard to compete with the black market. 280E, which prohibits the deduction of regular business expenses like rent, salaries, and utilities was especially maligned. In such an environment, solutions which allow one to classify costs as costs of goods sold, e.g. inventory management software, are especially welcome, as these are still tax-deductible.
A second concern centered around integration. In recreational use states, the (lack of) integration of point of sale software with a state’s seed-to-sale system caused many administrative headaches, as well as increasing the fear of being non-compliant. A related complaint was the lack of integration of other applications, e.g. web store, digital menus, loyalty programs and mass messaging systems, with one another. This created the need for duplicated data entry and increased the risk of mistakes through manual errors. A holistic suite of integrated software solutions seems to be the answer here. Sounds interesting? Check out http://duberpartners.com/.
A payment solution for cannabis?
The düber booth seemed to get visited on an hourly basis by parties claiming to have solved the cannabis payment challenge. Many had devised ways to make it possible for cannabis businesses to accept credit cards by “putting up a smoke screen” between the cannabis trade and credit card processors. Even if successful, the question begs how much better off the industry will be with credit cards compared to cash. Without negating the costs and security risks of cash, one will be hard-pressed to find non-cannabis retailers loving credit cards because of high transaction fees, risk of fraud, and chargebacks to name but a few. We at düber believe that using a cryptocurrency is a far more promising solution for the payment challenge in the cannabis industry. Curious? Check out https://dubercoin.com/ and our whitepaperhttps://gdbr.co/whitepaper-en.