In every major economic shift, productivity growth and wealth creation are spurred by a new asset class. That asset class was land in the agrarian economy, physical capital in the industrial economy, intangible assets (software, patents, etc.) in the service economy and perhaps human capital in today’s world. With a pace of growth second only to broadband adoption in the early part of the century, the cannabis industry is the fastest growing sector in our economy and perhaps the first to be born in the information age.On a global basis, talent and human capital are far more equally distributed than opportunity and financial capital. A growth model based on investment in the former can help spur an accelerated move towards a more inclusive and dynamic purpose-driven society. The collision of technology, globalization and the emerging wellness trend is having a profound impact on our employer relationships, politics, values and community. Accelerating global interdependence and contact with strangers requires us to build longer bridges of understanding across deeper chasms, making basic human values such as empathy and creativity paramount to unlocking our true growth potential.
Major economic recessions are precursors to ‘craft’ adoption, and while we saw this phenomenon after the great depression, its effects have been even more pronounced in the aftermath of the great recession. One can look at Etsy, the craft beer movement, or the resurgence in craft cocktails and small batch botanicals to see this play out in our daily lives. Consumers are increasingly attracted to local, sustainable and organic; industry gains when knowledge and instruction become a shared collective. This is prevalent in the world of agriculture, alcohol, and now cannabis.The importance of sharing the most sustainable and efficient practices and products with our global community is beginning to be understood. The industrial revolution drove mass production practices into our food supply and spurred the wide-spread use of antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides into our farming practices. Our industrial mindset has driven us to look at chickens less as animals and more as assets on a balance sheet, a critical part of the egg-production supply chain. Their distanced relationship with consumers means that we rarely think about the hormones and antibiotics that infiltrate their lives or their confined living conditions as we enjoy a benedict or a quiche. Similarly, crops contaminated with pesticides, fertilizers and genetic modification continue to have far-reaching negative consequences for the health of our people and our planet.With a connected device for every acre of inhabitable land, there is little doubt that technology disrupts our views on production and purchasing. Entrepreneurs and investors alike are well served to focus on making choices for reasons beyond pure profit. As we track every step between farm and flame, we also bring consumer awareness to cultivation practices. This reduced detachment continues to drive choices that have deep consequences for companies that share our transparency mindset.Demand for transparency across the entire supply chain drives focus on new-economy principles of collaboration, community-driven innovation, shared profits, and social need. A collective move from mass customization also implies consumer desire for practices that are authentic, crafted, and personal. Profit is best served as a by-product of these business decision drivers, and its relentless pursuit at their cost may well prove myopic.Our world is changing faster than ever before and may never change this slowly again. Rapid evolution impacts the very essence of value creation, a factor that remains crucial to success in the cannabis industry. As we continue to make history with a superfood that punches well above its weight and build our industry on the back of the organic, sustainable and local movements, we have the obligation to pioneer practices to help drive our people and our planet towards collective homeostasis.Thank you, Mason Levy, for your contribution.