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From the editor: A seat at the table

Behind every great cannabis product is a skillful, dedicated grower

September 4, 2020  By Mari-Len De Guzman

Editor Mari-Len De Guzman hosted a live panel called "The Grow Room: A discussion for growers by growers" during Virtual Grower Day on Aug. 19.

During our Virtual Grower Day on Aug. 19, we polled our online attendees with the question: should growers be involved in the business decision making process at any licensed producer operation. Overwhelmingly, and I believe as expected, the answer was a resounding, Yes.

It is no surprise that this is the sentiment of our Grower Day attendees – most of whom are cannabis growers. For a master grower who “grew up” in the legacy market, mastering the art of cannabis cultivation took a series of steps and missteps, successes and failures, over decades. This invaluable, empirical knowledge cannot be overlooked nor underestimated in the boardroom.

The legalization of the cannabis market has significantly changed the landscape for the legacy producers and growers who have since transitioned to the legal market under the purview of the federal government. Suddenly, business decisions about cannabis production are being made on the executive floor, far from the cultivation rooms.

This bureaucratic process is one of the outcomes of a regulated industry. The stringent policies and the heightened accountability necessitated this to maintain compliance and ensure the success of the organization. With millions of dollars at stake, non-compliance is a risk that most licensed producers simply cannot take. And we’ve seen the consequences of non-compliance play out just in the last year, and the financial and socio-economic impact it can have on a company and its employees.


While this is the reality of the cannabis industry today, the battleground remains in the cultivation rooms. Beyond the corporate agenda of stakeholder meetings, regulatory compliance initiatives, revenue forecasting, mergers and acquisitions – cannabis crops still need to be nurtured, provided the best growing conditions, harvested at optimum times and cured and processed in the most effective and efficient manner. This is why the growers, those who look after the plants, must work in concert with the corporate team – and vice versa. Growers have to have a seat on the table where corporate decisions are made.

In some LP organizations, the master grower also serves at the helm of the organizational structure. Business decisions at these types of organizations are likely influenced by the requirements of the grow room. But the grower should not need to be the chief executive to be heard in the boardroom.

Every well-run LP must ensure that growers’ inputs – especially those with decades of cannabis knowledge under their belt – are given a voice in decisions that can influence how cannabis is grown and how the end-products are produced. They have a wealth of knowledge that can be a powerful tool in your LP toolbox.

On the other hand, growers can also benefit from understanding the corporate structure, and the regulatory requirements that need to be met. These behind-the-scenes aspects may not always be evident in the grow rooms or to someone spending most of the day tending to the plants. It can be a difficult transition when one has spent decades of just growing cannabis to now having to align those growing techniques and processes with a public-safety-oriented regulatory environment, on the one hand, and a revenue-driven corporate agenda on the other hand. But it can work, and it does work – given the right corporate culture.

With the right dynamics, the grow room can be brought into the boardroom.

Thank you to all who attended and participated in our first-ever Virtual Grower Day. For those who missed it, you can still catch the recorded sessions online by registering for free at See you in 2021!

Editor’s Note: Editor Mari-Len De Guzman hosted a live panel called “The Grow Room: A discussion for growers by growers” which can be accessed for free through our Virtual Grower Day page.

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