2 Leading Cannabis Companies Open Up About Their Successful Partnership

Benzinga, in a campaign to highlight the most innovative and impactful partnerships, is honored to present a conversation with Trulieve CEO, Kim Rivers, and SLANG CEO, Peter Miller. The two spoke with Benzinga’s Javier Hasse ahead of the 2020 Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Miami regarding the importance of partnerships in scaling and increasing operational efficiency.

‘A Win-Win Partnership’

In February of 2019, global cannabis consumer goods company SLANG Worldwide SLNG SLGWF and Florida cannabis company Trulieve TCNNF TRUL announced a strategic partnership over the sale and exclusive licensing of leading cannabis brands.

In a statement on the development, Peter Miller, CEO of SLANG Wolrdwide, said “Great partnerships and collaboration are foundational to SLANG’s culture, scalability, and growth strategy.”

Rivers told Benzinga that the partnership came very naturally; “It’s literally one of the easiest deals that I’ve ever been a part of.”

She added that both parties came into the conversation wanting to get a deal done; “SLANG is very hands on. They have a fantastic team [and] it really has been a win-win partnership.”

Since the announcement, both SLANG and Trulieve have successfully disrupted the Florida marijuana market.

Tip 1: Strategy Diversification

Miller told Benzinga that not all negotiations come as easy as the one that transpired between SLANG and Trulieve.

“We’re seeing -- just in the macro-political environment -- more and more regional differences,” he said.

Miller said that finding common ground, on key issues, leads to long-term partnership sustainability.

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Rivers echoed the statements; “I feel like as a leader, being able to have those trusted relationships that you can really, you know, open up -- brainstorm -- [leads to] a more positive result.”

Tip 2: It’s Not Just About Finances

Partnerships entail not only financial dynamics, but also human dynamics.

“You’re not just combining numbers, balance sheets, and finances. You’re putting humans together with their own kind of -- you know -- ideas and dynamics. So, it really comes down to a people first thing with partnerships,” said Miller.

Miller stated that regardless of how good the spreadsheets are, alignment between the individuals involved is essential; “A relationship is not going to be successful no matter how good the Excel spreadsheet is, unless the people are a good fit.”

“I see that with all of our best partnerships,” he added.

Rivers added, “If you get through a negotiation and end up hating each other, that really doesn’t set you up for success on a go-forward mission.”

Tip 3: Walk Before You Run

“Alignment and expectations management are super key,” Miller added.

“Walk before we run”: Miller advises parties to define what success looks like at different stages, so that once talks are in motion, less resistance arises.

“Having the ability to communicate and enact contingency plans, … so as things change, you are able to change the plan,” is important in getting through the conversation, he said.

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Rivers added: “prior to bringing in lawyers, bankers, or other folks on board, reaching some level of base alignment can be invaluable.”

“I think just getting on the phone and saying, ‘Listen -- we really want to work with you; we think that you do an amazing job; we respect the brand and what you’re trying to do; this is what we have to offer, and I would love to know how we can make this a win for you,’” she suggested.

Tip 4: Transparency

When Benzinga asked about keeping partnerships alive, Rivers said that maintaining communication is key.

Keeping communication open and “having a direct conversation when something good, bad, or ugly [comes up]” is important in maintaining trust in a business relationship, said Rivers.

About Benzinga Events: The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference series is held throughout the year in North American cities. Each event brings investors face-to-face with top cannabis companies to hear about advancements in the rapidly evolving sector. Benzinga's Cannabis Capital Conference returns to Miami on February 24-25, 2020.

Posted In: Kim RiversPeter MillerCannabisNewsMarketsInterview

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