EXCLUSIVE: The Illicit Market Is The Biggest Threat To The Legal Cannabis Industry: What Are Big MSOs Doing About It?

Zinger Key Points
  • “We view our biggest competitor, not as Verano, or Ayr, but as the illicit market," said Curaleaf President Matt Darin.
  • “We can’t just turn on ‘legal’ and expect people to come into our stores," said Verano CIO Aaron Miles.

What strategies can legal cannabis companies use to win the fight against the illicit market?

That’s the question Tim Seymour, portfolio manager of the Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF CNBS asked a panel of cannabis executives at Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference on April 20 at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami.

Matt Darin, president of Curaleaf Holdings Inc CURLF, said the illicit — or traditional — market has been around long before the legal industry came about.

Lack of enforcement in this area is one of the biggest challenges the legal cannabis industry faces, said Darin.

“We view our biggest competitor, not as Verano, or Ayr, but as the illicit market. That’s ultimately what the competition is when it comes to pricing and availability and convenience,” said Darin.

“For those of us that are paying too many taxes and employing a lot of people, it’s really frustrating, but it’s a trend that we as an industry have to deal with,” he added.

In the case of Verano Holdings VRNOF, what Chief Investment Officer Aaron Miles analyzed is “how can we compete” with the illicit market?

“We can’t just turn on ‘legal’ and expect people to come into our stores, we have to look at consistency of product, quality of product, availability of product and make sure we give people an actual incentive to transition over from the illicit market,” Miles said.

Emily Paxhia, co-founder and managing partner at Poseidon Asset Management, said “We have to acknowledge that this industry came from a root of illicit operations, with bold and brave people who really saw something and pushed it forward.”

However, Paxhia stated that for legal actors, it’s time to overcome this state of business, for the sake of the consumer, because legal products get tested and can offer higher quality.

Photo: Dez Smith at Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference

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Posted In: CannabisNewsSmall CapLegalGlobalExclusivesMarketsAaron MilesCanadaCCCCCC22Emily PaxhiaMatt DarinPoseidon Asset ManagementTim Seymour
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The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Florida

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is returning to Florida, in a new venue in Hollywood, on April 16 and 17, 2024. The two-day event at The Diplomat Beach Resort will be a chance for entrepreneurs, both large and small, to network, learn and grow. Renowned for its trendsetting abilities and influence on the future of cannabis, mark your calendars – this conference is the go-to event of the year for the cannabis world.

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