The Belly of the Beast

The best way to describe the cannabis business is we are in the belly of the beast. It is one thing to build a business, one that includes brick and mortar, yet it a whole other level with a highly regulated product that should be treated like alcohol if anything, with new government enforcement who seem to be changing the rules as they figure it out too.

The New York Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) is undergoing a massive seat shuffle. How and when this will be locked and loaded is anybody’s guess. Then there is a question: where does this go?

Gotham will have three more stores by the end of the year. 260 Warren Street in Hudson, NY, should open for the community in mid-Julyish, Domino Sugar Refinery should be up and running mid-September, and 10th Avenue and 19th Street will be up and running around early November. The work behind getting these stores open is unalike anything any of us have ever experienced. The cost of the vault and security alone is a killer. Working with CAURD licensees that have been beneficiaries of our growth. The lawyers are having the time of their lives.

Unions are now harassing the entire industry. You can’t start to build a hotel in NYC without union contract. Think about that. I was led to believe, silly me, that unions were for companies that do not treat their employees well. If you treat your employees right, unions will ignore you. I can see that for huge organizations that need someone to help manage contracts at all levels. It is not easy if you employ thousands of people. That does not end up being the case as unions just want to be in every business, taking money from the employees leaving them to no longer be individual contributors with the opportunity to grow regardless of how they are treated at their companies.

I am looking at the landscape of the cannabis business where we are trying to build something unique and different, and can not help but think every single day, that I am in the belly of the beast. Seeing how government and unions operate is mind-blowing, depressing, frustrating, and absurd all at the same time. Perhaps it is my optimistic rose colored glasses but going through this I have tossed my glasses into the trash.

Building Gotham is quite an exhilarating, fun ride, and certainly educational, but as each day passes, I am a little gobsmacked with how politics and unions operate.