How to Find the Right Cannabis License Holders to Strengthen Your Supply Chain

Building a strong, reliable, and streamlined seed-to-sale supply chain in the cannabis industry presents a very unique set of challenges for license holders. One of the biggest challenges is finding other cannabis license holders to consider for growing, manufacturing, testing, distribution, sales, delivery, and more.

The reality in this industry is finding the right supply chain partners can take a lot of time that cannabis business owners simply don’t have. However, finding the right partners has to be a top priority. 

Cannabis businesses need to find the best license holders to fill crucial gaps across their supply chains so they’re positioned to be as successful and profitable as possible.

Factors to Consider When Building Your Supply Chain

There is a lot to consider when you choose supply chain partners, and you’ll need to do some homework before you start building a list of potential partners. Here are some things to consider:

  • State regulations
  • State licenses and local permits
  • Compliance systems
  • Seed-to-sale tracking software
  • Experience
  • Pricing
  • Financial stability

Depending on the state where you’ll be operating, the factors to prioritize when choosing supply chain partners could change, and of course, every state is different. The first step is to determine what you need and want from partners, and the next step is finding them.

How to Find the Right Cannabis Supply Chain Partners

Here are four ways you can find the right cannabis license holders to strengthen your supply chain and gain confidence that you’re operating efficiently, legally, ethically, and profitably:

1. Network with Cannabis Industry Professionals in Person and Virtually

Participating in both in-person and virtual events is an important part of setting your business up for success in the cannabis industry. Many cannabis industry professionals representing a wide variety of license holders attend events across the United States and around the world to network, build relationships, learn about new businesses, and scout for supply chain partners. 

With that said, you should attend industry trade shows and conferences to learn about opportunities, gain new ideas, and build relationships that can improve your supply chain now and in the future.

Of course, with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many events have moved to virtual gatherings. Regardless of the online format, they’re still just as important to your success.

2. Use Technology to Your Advantage

Technology is essential to effective supply chain management in the cannabis industry. In addition to providing seed-to-sale tracking, technology can help you find and vet supply chain partners.

For example, Cannabiz Media offers complimentary license holder subscriptions, which provide access to license holder information from the Cannabiz Media License Database, so cannabis businesses can build relationships with other license holders, verify licenses, and stay up-to-date on local cannabis market news and conditions.

In addition, the Cannabiz Media License Database offers a Compliance Verification API that makes it quick and easy to access the most accurate license information and confirm the operating status and details of state-licensed cannabis and hemp businesses. There is no faster or more reliable way to get the information you need to meet legal requirements and make important business decisions, including decisions related to your supply chain partners.

You can also use websites like Leafwire (a social networking site for cannabis industry professionals) and LeafLink (a digital marketplace for cannabis brands, distributors, and retailers) to connect with different license holders, build relationships, and vet supply chain partners.

3. Conduct Research and Communicate

In addition to using the Cannabiz Media License Database to verify license information and identify license holders and their employees, you should conduct online research to learn as much as you can about companies you’re considering for your supply chain.

Reading online company reviews can help, but keep in mind, many online reviews are fake. Therefore, you need to go a step further to confirm the authenticity of reviews and testimonials. Look for documented credentials and experience – both for companies and individuals leading those companies. For example, you can use LinkedIn to confirm individuals’ credentials.

Importantly, reach out directly to license holders by phone and email and get to know each company’s leaders. Look for partners who will improve your company’s efficiencies while helping you stay flexible enough to evolve with the industry.

4. Hire Strategically Now and Develop Internal Talent for the Future

Cannabis businesses can benefit significantly by hiring well and developing internal supply chain management talent. That means you need to hire skilled and experienced supply chain professionals. A great supply chain pro can set up your supply chain network, negotiate with suppliers, manage contracts, monitor costs, leverage technology, improve efficiencies, and more.

According to supply chain recruitment company Argentus, rapidly-scaling cannabis businesses need people who can:

  • Scale the business and ramp up supply chain operations quickly while keeping costs under control
  • Set up logistics networks
  • Build supplier bases
  • Negotiate with suppliers
  • Manage supplier contracts
  • Drive warehouse and distribution efficiency
  • Navigate the regulatory environment
  • Negotiate commodity prices in the industry

Bottom-line, supply chain managers who know what they’re doing can improve efficiencies, reduce risks, and lower costs. 

Consider Acreage Holdings’ senior vice president of manufacturing and supply chain, Laurence Wolfe. Prior to joining the cannabis industry, he held positions leading supply chains at Heineken and Gartner. As the industry continues to grow, more and more companies are learning how important supply chain management talent is to running a successful company, and their hiring practices prove it.

Key Takeaways to Find the Right Cannabis License Holders to Strengthen Your Supply Chain

In every industry, a business is only as strong as its supply chain, and the cannabis industry is no different. If one piece of the value chain is weak or broken, the entire chain can collapse. 

Therefore, it’s critical that businesses find the right cannabis license holders to build their supply chains – partners who can help them mitigate risk, ensure continuity, streamline costs, and deliver on expectations consistently.

To see how the Cannabiz Media License Database can help you improve your supply chain, schedule a free demo today!

Originally published 6/12/19. Updated 6/4/21.

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