When CBE launched its flagship website, www.cannabisbusinessexecutive.com back in November 2014, we had a straight forward mission and goal. We set out to provide weekly commentary and insights to advance the cannabis industry profession and to advance the industry so that it could recognize its full potential. Simply put, we wanted to provide and share information that would help those that had embarked on the risky proposition of building tightly regulated businesses to provide legal access to cannabis for their recreational or medical pursuits.
We also decided from the outset that we would use our pulpit to share best practices and look for those individuals that were committed to building businesses based on these best practices, including those adopted from existing industries of all kinds to contribute to the formation of what we saw, from day one, as a public/private partnership that would bring this plant out of the shadows and into the mainstream to benefit the lives of the consuming public.
We wanted to set benchmarks and rankings of performance by creating lists that demonstrated which companies or groups were performing in the sense of generating revenues and taxes from their cannabis licensee or ancillary business practices as well as to highlight the regulatory parties that were developing these new oversight programs from scratch to share with their peers nationwide or abroad. And, we wanted to highlight the performance of women involved in the cannabis industry to draw attention to the new industries glass ceiling or lack there of.
Unfortunately, the capital requirements and some dubious cannabis licensing activities have also drawn attention to the corruption and influence peddling that have been evident since states begin chasing the tax dollars, in many and most cases too aggressively to establish a fair playing field for all that wanted to be part of the Green Rush. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the difficulties and hurdles that minority applicants have faced in being part of the industry’s development.
We also recognized that there would be a steep learning curve, that we would face more than a few bumps in the road along the way but that it was a journey and adventure worth embarking on that would keep us young, teach us new tricks and, hopefully, make us a living one day serving the needs of our readers, advertisers, partners, sponsors, contributors and all of the new friends that we would make a long the way.
So here we are, three and a half short years later publishing our 200th issue of CBE Week (we just served our 77th issue of CBE Policy & Legal last week as well!), still standing and reinvigorated to stick to our knitting and continue to serve all of you!
On the steep learning curve side, it was clear from day one that this was a marathon, not a sprint, and that we would be afforded the luxury of expanding our knowledge as we grew. We have been able to steadily grow our e-mail lists since launching with a few thousand newsletter subscribers in 2014. CBE now serves almost 35,000 issues of CBE Week and CBE Policy & Legal each week and following media industry best-practices, we did our second subscriber study back in January and December to make sure that we were delivering copy to our primary target audiences, the owners partners, presidents of state licensed operators and ancillary businesses and the very regulators that issue the licenses, write the compliance rules for operators and that are working in their countries federally to figure out the best environment for their citizens. According to our research, 80% of our audience fit that profile.
CBE has hit a few bumps in the road. The publishing side of the industry has seen an enormous amount of competitors in the b to b arena that rival the number of publications that tried to find a niche during the pre-crash internet economy. Few survived that experience but we believed before we started that our mission would stand the test of time and revenues would follow buying eyeballs and we believe that our formula is working, albeit, one day at a time.
We tried, unsuccessfully, to enter the event space last year with a partner that has been twice successful in the b to b event space in the past only to find that our timing and the overwhelming number of conference options available to the business audience was prohibitive to serving the needs of the b to b public, so we pulled the plug and decided to monitor the space for future endeavors.
Ultimately, the move has been fruitful as CBE continues to grow and learn to deliver content that helps cannabis industry professionals sort through the enormous amount of information available to them by continuing to look for expert contributors that know and share their insights across the spectrum of industry news, policy information and curated content from leading sources.
As I approach the end of my 60th year on this earth, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all of those who have helped me and the small CBE team stick to our mission now and for years to come. All of you have been selfless in your efforts to help this industry grow and prosper and CBE is grateful for friendship, guidance and interest in being part of this adventure.
I especially wanted to give a shout out to my partner and sister, Colleen Hobbs. Without her perseverance and professional effort to compete for advertiser and sponsor dollars and her tireless back-end work to deliver for our our paying customers, our lights would have gone out long ago. You are the best sis!
Here’s to the next 200 issues of CBE Week and all that make it possible.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief