There isn’t a single industry in America that can thrive on its own. Companies in every industry rely on support from tertiary businesses capable of supplying the raw materials, supplies, and services they need to run their operations. It is almost a symbiotic relationship of sorts. It’s a relationship that exists in the medical cannabis industry.
We typically think of medical cannabis businesses in terms of growers, processors, and retailers. All three obviously contribute significantly to the equation. But they also rely on tertiary businesses. Without them, the three would not thrive.
To illustrate the point, here are three tertiary businesses medical cannabis needs to thrive:
1. 1. Cannabis Testing
Medical and recreational cannabis differ in many ways, among them being testing requirements. Most state medical cannabis programs require growers and processors to submit samples of their products for testing prior to sale. Testing is designed to reveal the constituents of a given product to make sure it meets legal guidelines.
In addition, growers and processors often submit additional samples for voluntary testing. Processors are especially appreciative of independent testing because it results in a certificate of analysis (CoA) they can use for marketing purposes.
Test labs are generally licensed by the states and operated independently. But every now and again, you run across an operator that is licensed to grow, process, and test. Everything is handled in-house.
As a side note, product testing will be pushed to a whole new level should Washington ever decriminalize cannabis. Why? Because decriminalization will open the door to developing very specific cannabis-based medicines requiring even more scrutiny. Testing for safety and efficacy will be required along with product purity.
2. 2. Cannabis Delivery
Cannabis home delivery hasn’t been around all that long, relative to when the states began pushing for legal medical cannabis, but it is an emerging industry with a lot of potential. Dispensaries and pharmacies are having to rely on it more and more to keep patients happy.
Utah offers a perfect illustration of why home delivery is so necessary. There are only fifteen medical cannabis pharmacies serving the entire state. All but one is in urban areas. That leaves rural residents having to travel an hour or more to get their medicines.
3. 3. Electronic Payments
The third tertiary service on our list, electronic payments, is also just emerging. Its emergence has come none too soon. As a mostly cash business, cannabis has struggled to deal with a lack of traditional banking services. Any cannabis business owner can tell you what a nightmare it is to have to do everything with cash.
While Washington politicians have promised a fix for years, no such fix has come to fruition. Meanwhile, a number of privately owned enterprises have stepped forward to offer electronic payment systems. Such systems are still not the norm in medical cannabis. However, they are catching on.
The ability to offer electronic payments opens the door for retailers like Beehive Farmacy to expand their reach. Combined with home delivery, electronic payments could significantly increase access to medical cannabis among people who most need it.
No industry can survive without the tertiary businesses that support it. Medical cannabis is no exception. For medical cannabis growers, processors, and retailers to continue thriving in the current environment, they need the support of a number of tertiary businesses. Thinking about it makes you realize just how intertwined everything is in a modern economy.