South by Southwest [SXSW]. Music. Movies. Interactive Technology. Networking. Late Nights. And, now featuring the Cannabis Industry!
I recently attended the SXSW Cannabusiness track in Austin, TX. The conference based track was lead by industry experts, lifetime Cannabis advocates, doctors, and even featured a guest panel including John Boehner. What was the overall takeaway from the event? I’d say it was discussions around reversing the stigma of Cannabis. Discussions around reversing the messaging developed around the prohibition of Cannabis – a message clearly articulated by Med Men: Cannabis. The New Normal.
So, here we all are on our way to a new normal. A group, that feels to me, to be working closely to navigate the regulation, licensing, and hurdles of this new industry. How do states most efficiently roll out regulation for the cannabis industry? How do investors and business owners more equitably deal with the injustice and inequality in the industry? How do new entrepreneurs in the space continue to build on existing models and international research? These are just some of the questions that were raised and continue to be discussed throughout the community.
As an insurance professional, these questions, this community, can be translated directly to potential insurance exposures. It is imperative that in this fast growing industry, entrepreneurs keep a keen eye on their insurance program. We are often approached with questions regarding crop insurance which, of course, is top of mind to businesses in this space. However, in a new and rapidly growing industry we expect employment growth. With this growth, statistics show an increase in employment related lawsuits. Is preparing for employee lawsuits on your radar screen? On top of this, there are large investments in technology which increase the overall property exposures for these businesses, while at the same time many insurance policies have specific language excluding controlled substances. Oh, and we can continue. Multiple locations. Transportation of goods and cash. A new industry means new workflows and procedure for employees and new injuries.
I know it may be near, or at, the bottom of the list as entrepreneurs explore this industry, but as an insurance professional I can attest to the importance of protecting individual businesses. And, on a grander scale proper coverage can better position the industry moving forward as it evolves. To do this, we need to continue to build community. We need to rely on each other, what we’ve learned, what we continue to learn, and who we continue to speak with.
So, we attend conferences. We reach out on LinkedIn. At FBinsure, we continue to work on a team approach. Tom Rogers, Jared Perkoski and I continue to learn from each other. We continue to learn through education, conferences, and strategic partnerships. Events like the SXSW Cannabusiness track and the Seed to Sale conference allow us to grow together. With the number of licensing growing and states working on opening up or expanding their markets; with the SAFE Bank act and other federal discussions, we will continue to learn and develop our programs.
Our expertise is in Risk Management – and we will continue to evolve in that space. Hearing from clients, prospects, other business owners, and other members of the Cannabis community allows us all to work toward the common goal of the lifting of the federal prohibition. It allows us to reach this goal while still protecting the assets the industry and entrepreneurs are creating, the industry we are all a part of. And, hopefully it allows us to work with entrepreneurs to streamline their process and help them with a critical part of their growing business plan. At the very least, continuing to grow and evolve in this space allows us to work toward the “new normal” we see on the horizon.
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