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CEO: Companies That Don't Embrace Cannabis Culture Are Going To Have 'A Hard Time Surviving'

Javier Hasse

By Natan Ponieman and Javier Hasse.

CLAB, which stands for Cannabis LAB (Law, Accounting & Business), is a membership-based networking and education organization for cannabis business professionals.

During a recent conversation, Benzinga caught up with CEO and founder Robert Friedman, who told us the company aims to help professionals coming into the industry, while connecting resources within the space.

A Bit About Markets And Legislation

Friedman pointed out that federal legislation would cement the future of the industry and his company.

The main challenges the industry is facing, he added, are primarily the lack of infrastructure and legislation. Cannabis is still federally illegal, which makes banking and merchant processing complex. Besides, cannabis itself is still considered taboo by a large portion of the U.S., said Friedman, who nonetheless expressed optimism about this matter.

"From an educational point of view, these challenges also keep on our toes as things are always changing,” he said.

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From his perspective, the most interesting markets for cannabis industry are: Israel, as they have been the pioneering leaders in research and investigation; Canada, who embraced cannabis in a way that makes it an example to the world; and Latin America and the Caribbean, because of their agricultural background.

When asked about cannabis industry consolidation and M&A, Friedman expressed that industry consolidation is not unique to cannabis and is indicative of a maturing market.

"Industry consolidation is going to happen, but I think large companies that do not embrace the culture which already exists in cannabis are going to have a hard time surviving.”

CLAB does not fundraise, and according to the CEO, the entire growth of its capital so far has been organic.

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