Narbe Alexandrian, President and CEO of Canopy Rivers, discusses the ins and outs of the cannabis investment space. Alexandrian notes that, when a company goes public, there’s a lot of pressure in terms of growth, and, unfortunately, a lot of companies simply can’t meet those lofty goals. He believes that cannabis companies today should be focused on product market fit; because cannabis is treated as somewhat of a homogeneous product, investors tend to look for who has the right brand and distribution: “The difference between Coke, and Pepsi, and every other soft drink manufacturer out there, isn’t that they have this secret recipe, or this secret can, or it pops when you pop the can, nothing like that. It’s because of distribution.” Alexandrian also discusses the future of hemp, the growing interest in biosynthetic cannabinoids, and the possibility of cannabis entering the pharmaceutical industry.
Seth Adler: Narbe Alexandrian joins us, welcome to Cannabis Economy. I'm your host, Seth Adler. Download episodes on canneconomy.com or wherever you currently get your podcasts. Over at caneconomy.com we've got insight from folks like Narbe, truly business leaders in the space, as well as policy and science. First a word from MedMen, and then Narbe Alexandrian.
Speaker 2: MedMen is the most recognizable cannabis retailer in the US, with operations across the country, and flagship stores in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and New York. Recently MedMen entered Florida for the first time, the third largest medical cannabis market, where the company is licensed for 35 total stores. It's all part of MedMen's impressive footprint, which currently spans 86 licenses, including pending acquisitions. Learn more about how MedMen is creating a safer, happier and healthier world at medmen.com.
Narbe A.: Narbe Alexandrian, president and CEO of Canopy Rivers.
Seth Adler: And what'd you have for breakfast this morning?
Narbe A.: Steel cut oatmeal.
Seth Adler: Okay, and brown sugar, raisins, nuts, or-
Narbe A.: Raisins, nuts, no brown sugar.
Seth Adler: Raisins, nuts, no brown sugar. Okay.
Narbe A.: I try to keep the processed sugar out as much as possible-
Seth Adler: You got to do it
Narbe A.: These days.
Seth Adler: Maybe some acai.
Narbe A.: Yeah, it was a airport, so-
Seth Adler: Okay.
Narbe A.: They just didn't have that type of stuff.
Seth Adler: So you go no sweetness.
Narbe A.: No sweetness.
Seth Adler: And it just it what it is.
Narbe A.: It is what it is, yeah.
Seth Adler: Now, there's plenty of sweetness in the cannabis industry, you guys have been noticing over at Canopy Rivers, is that fair to say?
Narbe A.: Absolutely. There's so much movement taking place all over the world in terms of just the different stuff, from brands, to cultivation, to extraction, you name it. It's a really exciting place to be right now.
Seth Adler: All right, so you are now the CEO, you weren't always the CEO.
Narbe A.: Correct.
Seth Adler: All right, so just give us the evolution so we understand how you got to the position that you're in.
Narbe A.: Yeah. Absolutely, so I've been looking at this space since 2017, which isn't that long ago normally, but in cannabis terms it's two decades ago.
Seth Adler: Yeah, two and a half even, right?
Narbe A.: Yeah, every year feels like 10 years.
Seth Adler: That's it.
Narbe A.: So I was looking at the space, and what really struck me was just the lack of sophistication of investors in the area. There were a lot of investors that were talking a big game about how big this industry was going to be, $500 billion industry come 2025. Some suggestion of market size from some credible report. Yet, when they were investing in companies, they were pushing companies to go public too soon. So they're giving a six month time horizon, looking for liquidity. It just didn't really match up to me, and it just really looked like what the tech industry looked like, where I came from about a decade ago, where the same thing was happening. Everyone was talking about internet was going to be huge, but pushing companies to go public too soon, trying to get liquidity too soon. So it seemed like that perfect storm of opportunity for me to jump into.
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