Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers: Cannabis Demand 'Not Going Anywhere,' But Industry Needs Financial Discipline

Trulieve Cannabis Corp TCNNF opened its 45th location in Stuart, Florida Feb. 15 and has 1.7 million square feet of cultivation space.

It’s a long way from Trulieve’s beginnings five years ago with a staff of 10. But co-founder and CEO Kim Rivers has a message for the cannabis industry: it’s early.

“This is not dot-com. This is not where we have no barriers to entry, we can mass-market [and] anyone can access our products and services without any regulatory framework,” Rivers said Monday in a keynote address at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference at Fontainebleau Miami Beach. “This is the opposite of dot-com.”

Trulieve’s CEO On Focus, Financial Discipline

Marijuana is a “tremendous opportunity,” and successful companies in the space know who they are, have defined their business and communicated it to their customers, Rivers said, comparing them to restaurants with simple menus that are done well.

“There are so many folks who are trying to do it all.”

The CEO gave the example of Cookies, which she said first defined itself as a flower-based premium brand in California and then brought that business model to other markets.

At a time when major cannabis companies such as Tilray Inc TLRY and Aurora Cannabis Inc ACB have undertaken substantial layoffs, Rivers emphasized financial discipline.

“Find your business. Define your core. Get your team. Rally around that. Don’t be afraid to say no,” she said.

Tickets to the next Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Detroit, Michigan April 1 are available now.

Rivers: ‘The Demand For Cannabis Is Immense’

When Trulieve opened its first store in Tallahassee in 2016, the company medically transported the first patient from three hours away to make its first sale, Rivers said.

On day two, “we realized we didn’t have anybody to sell to.”

At Trulieve’s store openings earlier this month, she said customers waited in lines that stretched around the corner.

“The demand for cannabis is immense and it’s not going anywhere.”

Cannabis executives should get out into their market and interact with people, the CEO said: “if you have retail locations, work the counter.”

It’s a time of living within one’s means in the cannabis industry, Rivers said, adding that there are plenty of examples of great companies that got in over their heads.

“You can be the king or queen of your core business, grow it over time and do it the right way, and you’re going to be sitting so pretty compared to some of these folks who got over their skis.”

Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers speaks Monday at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Miami Beach, Florida. Photo by Shelby Jones.

Posted In: Benzinga Cannabis Capital ConferenceCannabis Capital ConferenceKim RiversCannabisNewsManagementEventsMarkets

Ad Disclosure: The rate information is obtained by Bankrate from the listed institutions. Bankrate cannot guaranty the accuracy or availability of any rates shown above. Institutions may have different rates on their own websites than those posted on Bankrate.com. The listings that appear on this page are from companies from which this website receives compensation, which may impact how, where, and in what order products appear. This table does not include all companies or all available products.

All rates are subject to change without notice and may vary depending on location. These quotes are from banks, thrifts, and credit unions, some of whom have paid for a link to their own Web site where you can find additional information. Those with a paid link are our Advertisers. Those without a paid link are listings we obtain to improve the consumer shopping experience and are not Advertisers. To receive the Bankrate.com rate from an Advertiser, please identify yourself as a Bankrate customer. Bank and thrift deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Credit union deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

Consumer Satisfaction: Bankrate attempts to verify the accuracy and availability of its Advertisers' terms through its quality assurance process and requires Advertisers to agree to our Terms and Conditions and to adhere to our Quality Control Program. If you believe that you have received an inaccurate quote or are otherwise not satisfied with the services provided to you by the institution you choose, please click here.

Rate collection and criteria: Click here for more information on rate collection and criteria.