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The American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp (“ATACH”) held its annual “Captains of Industry” awards Ceremony on December 9, 2020. Honoring three industry titans, ATACH awarded the first ever “Beverage Council Executive of the Year” award to Canopy Growth CEO David Klein, the first ever “Retailer of the Year” award to Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers, and the “Captain of Industry” Award to Green Thumb Industries CEO Ben Kovler.
ATACH President Michael Bronstein began the event with a recap of the association’s progress in 2020. Highlighting its advocacy efforts, Mr. Bronstein commended the work of ATACH’s recently launched CBD Task Force. Lead by Gary S. Kaminsky – the Director of Legal Compliance at Acreage Holdings – the CBD Task Force had a busy second half of 2020, meeting with the White House on FDA’s CBD regulations, drafting responsive comments to both DEA and USDA’s interim final rules on hemp, and consulting with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on the United Nations’ recent cannabis vote. Mr. Bronstein acknowledged the hard work of ATACH’s Legal Liaison – Neil Willner – for his efforts quarterbacking the CBD Task Force’s comment drafting efforts.
Mr. Bronstein also announced the launch of the ATACH Cannabis Beverage Council which will bring marijuana and hemp beverage producers, manufactures, and distributors together with mainstream beverage companies to advocate for marijuana and hemp drinks as a viable and profitable new marketplace.
“Mood Management, the next phase of the evolution of self-care” – David Klein
Founding Member of the Beverage Council, Adolphus Busch V, introduced Canopy Growth’s CEO David Klein, and awarded him the “Beverage Council Executive of the Year” award. Thrilled to be accepting this inaugural award, Mr. Klein enlightened the audience with his praise for ATACH and his thoughts on this unique market segment. Given the various mood-states provided by everything from energy drinks to green-tea extracts, alcohol to melatonin, cannabis itself can play a role in several different consumer need states and smoothly align with consumer trends, Mr. Klein said. While it’s become clear that not all consumers want to consume cannabis through inhalables, the power of cannabis can be unleashed through beverages, which have already been used to manage moods and emotional states for ages. Already, Canopy Growth has sold over 2 million units under Tweed, Houseplant and Deep Space with strong repurchase rates. David Klein is proudly chosen for unleashing the power of cannabis with the purpose of improving lives, ending prohibition, and strengthening communities.
Learning from Canada’s hurdles, Mr. Klein was optimistic about the work of ATACH’s Beverage Council, saying that while Canada is seeing unintended consequences from their regulatory regime and rapid pace of new regulatory rollouts, Canopy Growth is prepared to support crafting and modifying the regulatory environment.
Mood management is taken to an entirely new level, and the industry is just getting started.
“Building a brand not just for today, but with eye towards the future” – Kim Rivers
Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers was the next award recipient, taking home the first ever “Retailer of the Year” award for Trulieve’s outstanding work in Florida and across the country. In her acceptance speech, Rivers highlighted the exact reason why she was chosen for this new prestigious award. Rivers said Truelieve is dedicated to providing the highest level of cannabis products and customer experience through authentic and reciprocal relationship with their communities, employees, and policies. Trulieve is the brand of choice and loyalty in their home state of Florida. With 90% of medical cannabis patients visiting a Trulieve store and a 79% customer retention rate, Trulieve has earned their oversized market share and ability to open 26 new stores in 2020. As an essential business, Trulieve will continue to deliver its core values including social equity, operating as one team, and maximizing consumer experience both in and outside of the store.
In addition to new safety policies and procedures, Trulieve launched new ways to interact and engage with customers, such as “True Talk” on Facebook Live and new technology to help with ordering, delivery and curbside fulfillment. Trulieve also made substantial personnel and financial investments including hiring over 1,000 employees, instituting salary continuation plans, implementing a home delivery service with no-fee for seniors, investing in air filters, and the list continues. Trulieve will continue to invest in underserved communities, source local material and labor, and partner everywhere they operate.
“Where does this fit into history? This is Prohibition 2.0.” – Ben Kovler
Closing out the event, GTI CEO Ben Kovler was awarded with the “Captain of Industry” award for GTI’s commitment to giving back, creating wellbeing, and enabling opportunity in the cannabis industry. Honored by the award, Kovler said that GTI works with others to focus on consumer wellness, bring criminal hypocrisy in the limelight, and create change through the Green Wave to empower peoples’ lives in a happy, healthy, and comfortable way.
On his vision of the future, Kovler said cannabis is undoubtably a massive industry with drastically underestimated demand, and the next step is finding the best way to get the cannabis to the consumer. GTI is working together with the team to create a consumer staple that fits into the “American experience”.
The cannabis industry in Colorado is a prime example of both the monetary success through tax revenue and the deep impact on the quality of life to consumers. We have a spot at the table now and we are defining history in “Prohibition 2.0”. History doesn’t repeat, it rhymes, and we will be seeing more immense consolidations. During this period of time the “regulatory mote” exists, and there is unprecedented investment opportunity into the American mote story.
Profit and purpose are not on opposite ends of the spectrum. GTI is active in the community by providing opportunities through education, bringing positive change and brand-new overall wealth in communities. GTI is on the path to make a change for the good. The game has started.
ATACH looks forward to continuing to expand its constituents and be an industry advocate and thought leader in 2021.