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ISSUE 6Is the Market REALLY Ready?Cian McClellandWe’ve spoken at length about Market Readiness within the cannabis industry. From seed to CBD oil, stocked and ready to sell and all the politics in between, but have we done all we can as an Industry to ensure our own protection and sustainability? No! Due to the glaring lack of proper leadership and organisation within the industry, we are faced with a situation whereby individual entities are forced to take on the roles of consumer education, consumer exposure and creating the need or desire within the target market. Not only that, but South Africans are being preyed on by foreign interests to use their land and resources for a fraction of its’ value, as per every colonial model that has gone before.
Traditionally this weighty task is handled by a voice for the industry, a governing body that oversees product quality and fair trade, as well as spearheads campaigns on behalf of the industry as a whole in order to first establish, then uplift it.
Without a unified voice, the industry is vulnerable to be picked at like carrion by the corporate vultures that are happy to let free enterprise and small business die.
Cannabis South Africa has no such united voice and as a result we are failing.
The majority of our current consumer base consists of people who have been utilising cannabis for recreation and those curious about its effects. Even the most incredible industry will fail without proper consumer education and exposure, as well as protection from those that would abuse our vulnerable position to their own benefit. Until the sector is properly organised and speaks with ONE VOICE, we cannot reasonably expect government to take us seriously. They are also, reasonably, not willing to put funding into sectors that have no unified governing body to take responsibility and regulate the spending. At the moment there are a few small entities working at loggerheads and not achieving much. Their subscriptions and membership are fast diminishing because there is no visibility or public discourse to speak of. I would go so far as to say that the industry associations currently in South Africa are not worth paying subscriptions for because they do not provide any real and tangible presence and effect no change on the industry’s behalf or give any return for that membership fee. Until such a time as these organisations actually provide tangible services, as well as inform and continually update their members about their activities and actions taken on behalf of the industry, they do not deserve our support.
This is why we give freely of our knowledge and experience and form partnerships with entities like Evolved Magazine, because it is of benefit to the industry, and if the industry benefits then so do we as well as the consumer, the economy and the Nation as a whole. We need to demand unity and active participation from those organisations that aim to lead the Cannabis industry and work together to drive it into a prosperous and sound future for all.