Morning Brew - ☕ Weed bump

A major opportunity for the US cannabis market.
November 08, 2022

Retail Brew


Happy Tuesday! In today’s edition, we’re revisiting some of the trends you told us about at our annual summit, where we loved getting to meet so many of you in person. Until our next event, we’d love to get to know you virtually—don’t forget to introduce yourself by filling out our Coworking form, and you may be featured in an upcoming edition of Retail Brew!

In today’s edition:

—Katishi Maake, Erik Wander, Kristen Parisi


Spark up

Cannabis goes retail Pexels

On Tuesday, voters in five states—Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota—will cast ballots to legalize marijuana recreationally (or not).

Newly legalized states present a major opportunity for companies across the industry to grow their business, but on the ground—in states and jurisdictions where cannabis is already legal in some capacity—dispensaries and cultivators are making headway to stand out from the rest of the pack.

Last month, Green Thumb Industries (GTI) struck a deal to open 10 RISE Express dispensaries adjacent to select Circle K locations in Florida. While the Florida department of health has not approved the deal, it still marks a potential milestone in the cannabis industry.

  • Under the deal, if approved, GTI would sell products out of the leased RISE Express locations to Florida patients with a valid medical-marijuana identification card starting next year.
  • GTI founder and CEO Ben Kovler told Retail Brew in an email that more than 88% of cigarettes are sold at convenience stores and gas stations, while 0% of cannabis products are distributed through that channel. It’s a big opportunity for the industry.

Flower to the people: But the e-commerce cannabis space is also making strides. Software company Jane Technologies recently introduced a new app that bridges the gap between brands and retailers and consumers. The app allows users to discover cannabis products “based on local inventory, verified reviews, feelings and effects, and personalized recommendations” according to a company release.

The big picture: The US cannabis market is expected to grow from $25 billion in 2021 to $42 billion in 2026, which will account for 75% of the total global cannabis sales, according to market research firm BDSA. But the aforementioned states that may vote to legalize will be key to that growth.

Keep reading here.—KM



What’s the most popular holiday destination?


If you’re imagining a snowy European enclave or tropical island getaway, think closer. And smaller. The place most people flock to during the holidays is…their phone. All that family togetherness—sometimes we just need an LCD break!

Be sure your biz capitalizes on holiday screen time this year with SMS. And Attentive can help. Credentials? Glad you asked. During BFCM last year, Attentive drove over $830 million for customers via text.

Their 36 Leading Holiday SMS Marketing Campaigns guide is sure to help brands reach those numbers again. Its pages hold the secret sauce, including best-in-class text message examples from brands like CB2, Laneige, WeWoreWhat, and more.

Oh, and did we mention that qualified brands get a free trial? Speak to an Attentive SMS specialist and start lighting up phones before BFCM here.


Vox pop

Crowd of people mingling at an event Retail Brew’s The SKU, photographs by Kristoffer Tripplar

You may have heard or you may have been there, but on October 25, we took our online publication offline for Retail Brew’s first-ever summit, The SKU, in NYC.

Time Machine, Hot Topic—all your favorites—adorned the walls, and we conducted our interviews in front of a live audience. In the same spirit, we decided to take one of our favorite RB features, Coworking, and do it IRL, asking a bunch of attendees a familiar question:

“Which emerging retail trend are you most excited about this year, and why?”

Nikki Powers, founder and director of e-commerce, Nourish and Refine

  • “I feel like omnichannel is a really big behemoth that companies are trying to tackle, but they don’t necessarily know how to do it. Or they’re rushing to do it, but it’s more of an extensive, three- to five-year plan.”

Lisa Zwack, head of sustainability, Kroger

  • “The explosion of private label brands and all the exciting things you can do with them.”

Veronika Harbick, senior director of commercialization and innovation, CreateMe

  • “Adding fun back into retail. I think it’s a great opportunity. We’ve optimized it so much, you know it was kind of dead during Covid-19. Now’s the time to not only bring it back, but to lean into the joy of community and engagement and the theater of it all. Because when we go to shop, we actually want the experience of it. Otherwise, convenience is online.”

Stacy Tan, VP of retail insights, SupplyPike

  • “I’m very intrigued by Web3. I wouldn’t say I’m the world’s biggest believer in it yet, but I think it’s very interesting to see where it’s going to go. But by God, if you can buy a burger in the metaverse, [it] confuses, delights, and excites me.”

Keep reading here.—EW



New recruits

man wearing a light blue Chobani shirt, hard hat and classes smiles smiles as he works at a pice of white machinery in a factory Chobani

“A February study from Cornell found that there are many structural obstacles to finding refugees long-term employment in the US. However, there are ways people pros can thoughtfully integrate refugees into their organizations,” writes HR Brew’s Kristen Parisi:

Despite…perceived barriers to entry, Chobani has been able to intentionally recruit and advance refugees in the workplace. Brandon Dansie, VP of people at Chobani, told HR Brew that Chobani’s efforts have been successful in part because the company has built trust with refugees and the people they trust.
Chobani’s program, and others like it, has been successful because its HR leaders have actively sought out refugee workers. “If [employers] actually set up an intentional program that is designed to address all these barriers, then [that] can be hugely effective,” [Gideon Maltz, executive director at Tent Partnership for Refugees,] said.

Read the whole story here on HR Brew.




Beat e-commerce woes with e-commerce pros. Need some expert advice to elevate and empower your e-commerce infrastructure? Bolt’s Vice President of Customer Experience sat down with PuppySpot’s Chief Information Officer at Retail Brew’s The SKU to talk about challenges, lessons learned, and what should be top of mind for retailers in 2023. Read on here.


Today’s top retail reads.

Industry disruptor: Inside India’s recently-launched Open Network for Digital Commerce, which the government hopes will “loosen the grip” of e-commerce giants like Amazon by decentralizing e-commerce and boosting small sellers. (the Wall Street Journal)

Hot commodity: Senior Nike employees are in high demand, and in recent years have jetted off to the likes of Columbia Sportswear, Allbirds, Lululemon, The North Face, and Arc’teryx. The moves are prompting some analysts to raise concerns of a Nike “brain drain.” (Insider)

Keys to the kingdom: If you’ve been struggling to get your hands on an iPhone 14 for the holidays, Apple’s close ties to China may be to blame. “Apple is discovering that geopolitics drive business models—not the other way around,” said Matthew Turpin, a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. (the New York Times)

Retail recipes: Searching for the secret sauce of retail? Look no further—NewStore’s 2023 Omnichannel Leadership Report has all the goods to understand the current state of retail and its progress toward digital transformation. Download your copy here.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.


Calling All Retail Marketers!

Calling All Retail Marketers!

Hey retail readers, have you heard?

Marketing Brew is hosting a full-day affair of industry exploration and navigation on November 15 in NYC. Complete with brand leaders and industry connections — The Brief: A Summit Presented by Marketing Brew is an event that cannot be missed.

Incredible speakers from HBO, REI, Vans, and more will take to the stage to tackle the dizzying industry topics we love so dearly. Get 15% off your tickets using the code RetailMarketers at checkout!

Register Today


  • Gap said it is selling its business in China and Taiwan to Chinese-owned Baozun Inc. for up to $50 million.
  • Levi’s announced Michelle Gass (current Kohl’s exec) as its next CEO, replacing Chip Bergh.
  • Adidas has tapped former Puma CEO Bjørn Gulden to take over the top Adidas spot from Kasper Rorsted when he steps down at the end of the week.
  • Anheuser-Busch said it’s purchasing a Major League Pickleball team, becoming the first Fortune 500 company to do so.
  • Sweetgreen’s first dessert since 2014—Crispy Rice Treats— are now available at stores nationwide.
  • Zadeh Kicks founder Michael Malekzadeh is facing multiple fraud charges for allegedly selling sneakers he didn’t actually have.


What happened in the world of retail this week in…1805 and beyond? Retail Brew takes you way, way, way back.

  • On November 7, 1965, the Pillsbury Doughboy made his TV debut with his famous first words: “I’m Poppin’ Fresh, the Pillsbury Doughboy!”
  • On November 8, 1789, Elijah Craig is said to have distilled the first bourbon whiskey in Bourbon County, Kentucky.
  • On November 8, 1966, Scottish chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay was born.
  • On November 10, 2020, Microsoft released the Xbox Series X and Series S.
  • On November 13, 1805, legend has it that Viennese butcher Johann George Lehner invented the frankfurter.


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Written by Katishi Maake, Erik Wander, and Kristen Parisi

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