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TORONTO, Dec. 19, 2014--(PR Newswire)--

The plot thickens: Medical marijuana's Achilles heel

Canada NewsWire

APEXers regularly publish opinion and thought leadership pieces on their blog. Read more posts.

TORONTO, Dec. 19, 2014 /CNW/ - Since the federal government announced the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) in the summer of 2013, the industry extensively moved from local "mom and pop" establishments to a larger scale production model.  The regulations were later repealed, but they led to a court injunction permitting those who were previously authorized to grow medical marijuana to keep doing so.

A lot of entrepreneurs, investors and even speculators jumped into the fray back in 2013, but only a dozen companies have been deemed worthy of a license to grow medical grade marijuana. 

Perhaps unbeknownst to a large portion of players trying to break into this newly minted industry, it comes with a monumental layer of oversight, governance, security, supply chain management and bureaucratic reporting. This is in addition to the intellectual and technical capital required to produce unprecedented volumes of medical marijuana. It's not an industry for the faint of heart and, as such, many players currently vying for a chance to participate will eventually fold or never see the light of day. 

But therein lies the first challenges for credible and licenced producers — the errors, inexperience and/or lack of professionalism of a few could taint the fine work and reputations of the legitimate brands. There already exists a lot of questionable marketing and promotion among non-licensed companies that are trying to compel investor attention and government licensing, and it's critical that licensed companies start to actively define what separates the legitimate players from the rest.

As a highly regulated sector where licenses are constantly on the line, brands will need to be proactive in establishing strong issues/crisis management protocols and skills. Most of this work would be pre-emptive in approach, but would also include key worst case scenarios to ensure that the organization could react with the speed and grace necessary to limit reputational and shareholder fallout.

Finally, competition among the licensed producers is and will continue to be intensely competitive in the short and medium terms. Having the right content across medical influencer, media, web and social channels, while also starting to carve out CSR-oriented programming to enhance and inoculate brand reputation, will be key ingredients to long-term competitive success.

Kenneth Evans is a managing partner at APEX Public Relations. Follow him on Twitter. Also read Merissa King's piece on #MedicalMarijuana from our series about hashtags you should know.

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With a 16-year track record as a fearlessly independent-minded agency that has counselled large global brands across industries, APEX (apexpr.com) wields its intellectual and creative chops to consolidate enduring brand narratives. The agency's proprietary network of media, bloggers, NGOs, and influencers is an invaluable asset that helps clients propel their stories and companies to new heights time and again. Our senior team also has the vast experience to navigate through the challenges and issues that inevitably hit budding industries. APEX has won numerous national and international awards, been voted Agency of the Year by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) two years in a row and made the PROFIT Magazine list of Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs for the past ten years. Actively involved in the community, APEX founded On Your Bike (onyourbike.com), a foundation that distributes bikes to underprivileged children.

SOURCE Apex Public Relations

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