As I write this, I just heard that MJ Biz laid off 30% of its staff. This follows the news that Dope, Culture and (probably) Skunk are also gone. High Times is reported to be barely hanging on under a huge debt load and a business model that is out of touch with today’s cannabis scene. Other lesser-known and short-lived publications have come and gone in this industry the past few years.
Trade shows have also been cancelled or postponed across the United States and that business model is in disarray. Obviously, things are bad for folks on the publishing/media/event sides of this industry, and I feel bad for all the people who’ve lost their jobs. I hope they can land on their feet and bounce back. However, not all the news is bleak.
Most cannabis retailers remain open and many have experienced a jump in sales. As a whole, the business is still growing in most states.
At Marijuana Venture, we’ve also seen a bump in ad sales and interest in our business.
I’ve often wondered why, while others struggle, we seem to engender such loyalty with our advertisers and show partners. Here are some of my thoughts:
1. We have an incredible group on the sales side. Led by our amazing sales manager, Lisa Smith, we have never sold ads that don’t make sense, never accepted ads with questionable content or claims and never made pitches to our ad clients that are based on false promises. Lisa and her team have always treated our clients with respect, honored their word and made sure that we deliver the goods. This, in turn, has led to a group of hugely loyal clients who love working with us and the sales team.
2. Editorially, our operating code is basically the same as it is in sales. We will only publish articles that can be backed up with facts, will not accept blatant propaganda and sales pitches for questionable products and companies and carefully review all written materials. Our team of writers come from real news backgrounds where accuracy matters and facts are checked.
3. Stylistically I’ve worked with our award-winning art director Chloé Mehring to make sure the publication looks fresh and current. It’s worked. When I’m at trade events or around industry people, I invariably hear how much the publication has a contemporary, upscale and professional “look and feel.”
In the end, the COVID-19 pandemic will pass. The cannabis business — like the rest of the industries in the United States — will eventually return to normal, and Marijuana Venture will still be producing valuable business info each month. I also know that our incredible staff — Garrett, Lisa, Patrick, Chloé, Brian, Christa, Raina, Mike and Carlton — will be there doing what they do, making the publication the best in the industry.
And finally, our relationships have been built on long-term trust and respect for our customers and partners. We know that many are struggling, and we just want everyone to understand that we TRULY appreciate their support over the years.
We’re all going to make it through this nightmare if we hang in there, work even harder and stick to good business practices.