Telum Talks To... Martin Lane, Co-Founder / Chief Growth Officer at Cannabiz
Cannabiz launched this month, how has the publication been received at this early stage?
Very well so far. While there are websites aimed at the cannabis investment and medical communities, there is nothing covering all aspects of the industry in Australia - growing, manufacturing, clinical trials, distribution, prescription, marketing and advocacy. There is a whole ecosystem which we want to support and help grow.
Can you tell us what the site is all about?
Cannabiz informs, educates and connects Australia’s legal cannabis sector through its website, weekly newsletter, podcast, market intelligence, industry reports, networking events and business consulting services. As well as its media properties, Cannabiz offers PR and marketing advice to the industry, which still operates in a highly regulated advertising environment.
Why do you think now is the time for a media outlet like Cannabiz?
The launch comes as a wave of regulatory reforms sweep Australia, major Government-backed medicinal cannabis projects get the green light, and new commercial players enter the market. In the first quarter of 2020, the number of medicinal cannabis products available for doctors to prescribe in Australia topped 100, with sales of AU$150 million expected by the end of the year. Globally, the market is predicted to be worth US$50 billion by 2025. This is a big sector that is not well served from a media point of view in Australia.
Content on the site will be freely accessible until September. After this, a four-tiered paywall will come into effect. Can you explain what this looks like in practice, and why you decided it was an effective model for Cannabiz?
The platform will be available to member subscribers in four tiers.
Essential membership includes the weekly newsletter, the Cannabiz podcast and a round-up of cannabis news from Australia and around the world.
Advantage members will get that, plus access to exclusive news stories, long-form analysis, opinion pieces by industry thought leaders, interviews with leading cannabis entrepreneurs and the ability to comment on our biggest stories.
Premium users get all the above plus free access to monthly webinars, quarterly industry forecasts and reports, a 45-minute Cannabiz business consult and virtual events with international and local cannabis industry professionals.
Then there is The Green List, which is our bespoke service including branded content, private events, business strategy, and PR and marketing consultancy.
We chose a membership model because we believe we can build a community which values our content enough to pay for it.
Cannabiz is also launching a podcast soon. Can you tell us about what you hope the podcast will add to the Cannabiz brand?
It is important to have a voice in the industry and be part of the campaign to make cannabis legally available to patients who need it. We also want to give a platform to our audience to share their stories and inspire their peers.
What are some key misconceptions about the legal cannabis industry?
The obvious ones are that it makes you high or can cause mental health problems. But that misunderstands the whole-plant benefits of cannabis, in particular its non-hallucinogenic properties. It has proven benefits in treating a range of chronic conditions from multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, to the side effects of chemotherapy. It is also assumed that because medicinal cannabis is legal, anyone can get it. This is not the case. The barriers to entry - from cost, to a reluctance by a lot of doctors to prescribe it - means most people are still forced to source it illegally, with all the negative consequences that entails.