StratCann Kelowna 2024 was a premier B2B event in the cannabis industry, held on June 10, 2024, at the Manteo Resort in Kelowna. It featured extensive networking opportunities among microproducers, retailers, and industry professionals. Key highlights included panel discussions on market trends, new product launches, and strategic insights into competitive positioning. If you missed this impactful event, here’s a recap of what transpired.

LP Panel

Among the many activities the StratCann event offered, a panel of representatives from license producers discussed a variety of topics. Several producers gave their unique insights and shared their thoughts regarding recent changes to regulations and how they will affect other players in the indsutry.

StratCann Kelowna LP Panel

Photo taken by Jeff Curtis of Boro and Beyond

Walker Patton from Woody Nelson

Walker Patton, the Chief Commercial Officer at Woody Nelson, emphasized British Columbia as their preferred market due to its agility and SKU innovation. He highlighted flagship strains like Woody Nelson’s Rainbow Driver and Pure Sun Farms Pink Kush as pivotal to establishing brand recognition in any Canadian market. Patton also discussed Woody Nelson’s direct delivery program, noting a 2-week SKU acquisition timeline and its advantage for LPs dealing directly with stores. He clarified that the BCLDB charges a 15% proprietary fee for direct delivery SKUs, contrasting it with the 15% markup they apply to non-direct delivery SKUs. Patton emphasized that direct delivery is about testing SKUs’ popularity rather than immediate profitability.

Aaron Anderson from Tricanna Industries

Aaron Anderson, the Vice President of Sales at Tricanna Industries, highlighted several key industry insights during the panel session. He stressed the importance of planning new product releases six months in advance for optimal success. He also discussed the importance of collaboration with LPs and provincial boards to secure product listings.

Anderson pointed out logistical challenges, such as retailers’ inability to use credit cards for direct delivery payments and the paperwork involved for QA teams handling these orders. He praised JVCC for their effective direct delivery strategies. Another focal point was the critical role of managing the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), noting pressure from provincial boards to lower MRSP by $10 without sufficient deliberation. He emphasized that higher-priced products generally result in slower sales. Anderson concluded by noting the market’s preference for larger format flower products as a sign of trust in LPs and the legal recreational market in Canada.

Jeff Aubin from Smoker Farms

Jeff Aubin, the Founder of Smoker Farms, offered valuable insights during the panel session. He noted that overseas opportunities often don’t materialize as expected, often advertised at $7/g but realistically priced around $3/g. He advised seizing opportunities when prices exceed $5/g.

Aubin also discussed the significant volume disparity between the Ontario and British Columbia markets. In BC, it typically takes a week to sell one case of product, while in Ontario, it can happen in a day due to higher volumes. He also seconded the challenge where LPs bear the brunt of price drops initiated by provincial regulations.

Zachery Chester from Island Genetics

Zachery Chester from Island Genetics spoke about Europe not being able to legally import products back to Canada. If lab results from here don’t match there, they destroy the product. Island Genetics uses Eurofins as a lab with EUGMP certification. High North is also recommended. It mostly exports to Australia and Germany. 

Retailer Panel

The conference’s second panel provided an opportunity for retailers to share their wisdom as key players in the industry. They discussed a range of topics, including customer relations and the retail industry environment in such a competitive market.

StratCann Kelowna Retailer Panel

Photo taken by Jeff Curtis of Boro and Beyond

Feven Berhane from KushKlub

Feven Berhane, Co-Founder of KushKlub, emphasized consumer loyalty during her panel discussion. She noted that loyalty is strong for specific products and brands, particularly certain strains. Berhane highlighted that customers are less concerned about technical details like COAs, terpenes, or growing conditions but are more drawn to brand stories and active social media presence.

She expressed a willingness to collaborate with LPs to bring products to market and promote them effectively, including strategies like participating in community events such as block parties to increase visibility and sales. She emphasized the importance of informing potential customers about product availability and pricing to drive sales effectively.

Raveen Raey from Sky Cannabis Co

During the panel session, Raveen Raey from Skye Cannabis Co. discussed customer trends, revealing that 45% of their sales are pre-rolls. He noted a resurgence in disposable vapes’ popularity among consumers seeking convenient weekend use without needing a battery.

Skye Cannabis has implemented a successful internal inventory strategy, ensuring that its top-selling products are always stocked before placing new orders. Raey also highlighted industry challenges, such as the need for improved transparency on direct delivery sellers and better communication between LPs and retailers. He emphasized the preference for in-store meetings to engage with staff and provide product samples before ordering.

Matt Chernoff from AR Cannabis

Matt Chernoff of AR Cannabis outlined their operational best practices during the panel. He noted that orders are taken on Tuesdays and advised brand representatives to contact him on Mondays so they are top of mind on order day. Chernoff recommended utilizing planograms and data-driven approaches for product ordering.

He expressed frustrations with the $10,000 weekly e-transfer limit, stating its detrimental impact on their direct delivery ordering, which heavily relies on this method due to the absence of credit card payments.

Dennis Park from Craft Greenery

Dennis Park of Craft Greenery provided insightful data-driven insights during the panel discussion. At Craft Greenery, inventory selection is guided by data analysis, revealing unique top-selling products compared to the broader province. He highlighted that 7g has emerged as the most popular flower size among consumers. Additionally, he discussed the influx of new legal consumers showing interest in pre-rolls and vapes as preferred product choices in the market.

Summary of Discussion Topics

During the Regulatory Roundtable at the Growing Relationships event series hosted by StratCann, participants in British Columbia discussed pressing issues facing the local cannabis sector. Key concerns included navigating complex regulatory compliance, securing retail listings and distribution channels, and managing pricing pressures amid competitive dynamics. Attendees also noted improvements in licensing efficiency, community engagement efforts, and enhanced education on regulatory changes. These discussions underscored ongoing efforts to address challenges and foster growth within the BC cannabis industry.

StratCann Kelowna Roundtable Discussion

Photo taken by Jeff Curtis of Boro and Beyond

Federal Level

The 30-gram possession limit was also brought up numerous times as an aspect of the federal regulations that need to be updated. A reasonable increase would allow consumers improved freedom with more efficient purchasing decisions without risking being confused by law enforcement with someone trafficking illicit cannabis. Excise tax and other federal fees remain a significant concern for license holders across the board.

Provincial Level

BC’s 15% markup on sales through Direct Delivery remains a significant concern for producers and retailers in the province who feel this makes the program much less viable. Many producers would like to use this program, but when the fee is the same, plus all the extra costs associated with distributing it themselves, it undermines the program’s viability. Although Direct Delivery was framed as a way to help smaller growers with smaller SKUs, many producers feel the program is underutilized because of the fees. There is also a desire for more streamlined payment plans between producers and retailers. BC has far fewer SKU options than other provinces, which contributes to price compression. The province needs to be open to higher-priced craft SKUs, to give them a chance to find their place in the market.

Last Updated on June 25, 2024 by ADCANN

Camrawn Cox

Camrawn Cox

Camrawn Cox thrives in the realms of cannabis sales, marketing, and communication. With a knack for building meaningful connections, fostering engaging brand experiences and compelling strategies that drive the cannabis industry's growth.