When someone mentions medical cannabis or adult-use marijuana, what is the first thing you think of? Many of us are tempted to imagine open fields of marijuana plants being harvested by laid-back growers looking to sell them to eager distributors and dispensaries. That certainly happens, but there are a lot of players that make the cannabis industry work.
Like any other industry, the cannabis industry is built on a wide variety of tertiary businesses that support growers, processors, and retail dispensaries. Without those tertiary businesses, the cannabis industry would not be nearly as strong as it is. Suffice it to say that retail cannabis is more than just plants and dispensaries. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes.
So what types of businesses make the cannabis industry run? The top three are growers, processors, and retailers. They are also the most visible. But the industry relies on dozens of other businesses to keep it going.
Cannabis Growing Equipment
Growers are considered the first cog in the cannabis wheel. They are the ones that take either seeds or clones and turn them into plants ready for harvest. However, producing a reliable crop season after season requires an investment in cannabis-growing equipment that allows growers to tightly control the process from start to finish. It is not as easy as burying some seeds in the ground and hoping for the best.
It turns out that a lot of your larger growing operations prefer to grow their plants indoors. But that requires a lot of highly specialized equipment. Someone has to design and manufacture that equipment. Producing it is almost an entire industry unto itself.
Cannabis Processing Equipment
CedarStoneIndustry is a Texas company that manufactures, among other things, cannabis processing equipment. They say that processing equipment is even more specialized than growing equipment. Processors need machinery capable of extracting cannabinoids and terpenes. They need equipment that can separate those cannabinoids and terpenes, as well as additional pieces used for testing and retail product manufacturing.
Companies like CedarStoneIndustry rely on years of experience manufacturing equipment for the commercial food, beer making, and wine making industries. Many of the tried-and-true principles they have consistently used in those other industries can be applied to cannabis processing.
Most of the states with legalized medical- and recreational-use cannabis require that products be independently tested for purity and safety. Labs are generally private enterprises employing highly trained and skilled people who look closely at every sample they see. In addition to the actual labor involved, testing labs also have equipment of their own to purchase.
In between cannabis processors and retailers are the marketers whose job is to connect the two. The retail sector has its own marketing arm as well. Marketing may have not been so critical in the days when cannabis was highly limited. But now, friendly state laws have led to a glut of competition. Every grower, processor, and retailer is competing for the largest market share.
Marketing experts are fueling the competition. Some of them specialize exclusively in cannabis marketing. It is their job to get the word out. It is their job to make sure customers know what to buy and from whom to buy it.
Space will not allow for discussing all the tertiary businesses that support the cannabis industry. Suffice it to say that cannabis may be a plant, but the industry that gets the plant from field to retail shelves is quite complex. There are a lot of players working hard to make sure the industry succeeds.