New signs appearing in local store windows every week, ads from startups popping up on Instagram feeds, presidential candidates voicing their support: the cannabis industry seems to be booming. In fact, it’s surging so much that reporters have drawn equivalencies to the famous interest in California gold, dubbing it “The Green Rush.”
Cornell Johnson School of Business students were seeing green too. Last August, Moses Oh ’20, Diana Ciechorska ’20 and Mike Wagner ’20 formed the CannaBusiness Club.
None of the founders had a background in agriculture or cannabis; they came from the military and financial backgrounds. And yet, they were all drawn by the market potential and dearth of information about this new and rapidly growing industry.
“There’s a club for all these other industries — marketing, finance, etc. Why not for the cannabis industry? We thought there was a need for it and that it would be valuable to students and to us; we didn’t know enough about the industry ourselves,” said Ciechorska.
In contrast to other schools like UCLA, which have not been supportive of similar cannabis industry clubs, Cornell Johnson was particularly open to the prospect of them founding the club, Ciechorska said.
“It’s so new; people are afraid of it for no good reason. There’s nothing inherently risky about the industry,” Ciechorska told The Sun. “There’s a tremendous benefit from it medicinally; it’s less dangerous than consuming alcohol.”
Upon completing his service in the U.S. Army, Oh discovered CBD as an effective treatment for his pain. However, after seeing cannabis products’ legal successes in Colorado, Oh’s interest grew beyond mere curiosity.
“For me, personally, our mission has always been the destigmatization,” said Wagner. “People see cannabis and think Bob Marley and reggae music. I think the cannabis consumer twenty years from now will be the typical alcohol consumer today.”
Last semester, Cornell’s group visited Hexo and Cronos Group, two of the largest companies in the Canadian cannabis industry. This year, the club will continue to educate their members on the industry through networking, exposing them to guest speakers and trips to farms and other industry sites.
Ciechorska said that the club’s work was validated when they realized how many Cornellian investors were already involved in cannabis-related businesses.