Publishing Marijuana Venture and SunGrower & Greenhouse has been a ton of work and a lot of fun. For three years, our small crew of less than 10 has toiled away to create two fast-growing magazines that are enjoyed throughout the professional cannabis industry.
From the onset, we decided to leave the culture/lifestyle stuff to High Times, Weed World, Skunk, Dope, MG and a host of other publications that address the interests of consumers and the public. Our unwavering mission has always been to address the needs of the business community, and in three short years we’ve become one of the fastest growing magazines in the U.S. (We also won a prestigious MIN Award from the New York-based Media Industry Newsletter in December 2015). My gut also told me that print, while not currently in fashion, was still the way most advertisers like to see their products presented. Sure, you can go digital, but with such a low barrier to entry, the e-zine field is super crowded and often resembles “white noise” to me. (I probably get 20-plus digital cannabis e-zines a day and while I occasionally look at some of them, the truth is that I usually don’t have time and find it hard to distinguish one from another.)
Our focus on business and cultivation methods that are backed by science instead of anecdotal information has sometimes resulted in less-than-loving emails from growers who are sure they know more than a university graduate with a degree in plant sciences. However, more often than not, our science-based approach has been vindicated when a cultivator says he learned more at a three-day university short course on greenhouse management that we recommended than he did in decades of reading stoner magazines.
The bottom line is simple: When you graduate from a tax-free, high-margin, black-market, basement operation that requires no real business skills to a super-competitive, highly taxed and regulated industry, you’d better be prepared. You’d also better have an open mind.
We’ve seen a lot of “We grow the best weed” types fail miserably. On the other hand, the cultivators who read research papers from university websites and listen to folks with proven farming experience and expertise in accounting/taxes appear to be doing just fine.
Let me finish with a few quick updates:
– I’m pleased to announce that our Canadian distribution partner received approval for the magazine to be sold in several large chains in our northern neighbor. Expect to see Marijuana Venture and SunGrower in stores like 7-Eleven and Chapters (Canada’s version of Barnes & Noble) later this spring. This is a big development as we will be the first American cannabis magazine widely distributed in Canada.
– We have partnered with Wes Abney and the team at Northwest Leaf to create ad buys that combine all six of the publications produced by the two companies. I’ve always admired the ethical and straightforward way Wes runs his business and combining his strength on the consumer side with our business focus makes great sense. With this partnership, an advertiser can reach the biggest audience in the cannabis space with one contact point.
– Marijuana Venture will also be restarting our “Living the Dream” feature about the trials and tribulations of being a licensed producer, processor or retailer. If you’re interested in writing a small piece each month on your progress in the marijuana industry, we’d love to hear from you. The idea is for growers and retailers to share their experiences navigating state and local regulations and other potential roadblocks on the path to success.
As we begin our fourth year of publishing Marijuana Venture, we look forward to expanding the magazine’s reach and continuing to provide the industry with the best business information available.