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Q&A with Debra Borchardt: Executive Editor and Co-Founder of Green Market Report
The Cannabis 50 celebrates the organizations, individuals, and companies who are working to build a responsible, sustainable, and equitable future for the cannabis, hemp, and related industries. In addition to the 2021 Cannabis 50 Impact Review, we are also sharing interviews with our honorees to help spread their messages of positivity and growth. The “CNBC of cannabis,” Green Market Report (GMR) is a digital media brand covering the rapidly growing cannabis industry’s financial news. Since its launch in 2017, it has provided open-source insights and data analysis that filters out daily noise to focus on the financial, business, and economic side of the cannabis industry. And in 2021, media giant Crain Communications acquired GMR, further enhancing its reach by the millions of readers. MGO sat down with co-founder Debra Borchardt, a financial journalist and former Wall Street executive, to learn more about what about the cannabis industry first caught her eye, the obstacles GMR faced when event planning slowed to a halt, and how she sees the industry evolving in 2022. MGO: How long have you been involved in the cannabis industry? What inspired you to get involved with cannabis? Debra Borchardt, Executive Editor and Cofounder, the Green Market Report: I have been reporting on cannabis since 2013. As a financial reporter with a “nose for news,” I could see that the legalization of cannabis was going to be the biggest business story of the decade. I also saw a lot of bad behavior in the cannabis penny stocks that I wanted to expose, as well as celebrate the triumphs of the well-run companies. MGO: The cannabis industry saw several trends emerge in 2021. What do you think was the biggest one? Borchardt: To me, the biggest theme was the amount of M&A happening within the industry. The big are getting bigger, and the smaller players are finding it harder to compete. MGO: What were some of the biggest obstacles you faced in the industry in 2021? How did you manage and overcome these issues? Borchardt: As a media company, events are our main way to pay for the unbiased journalism we deliver. Not being able to host in-person events really hurt our revenue. However, we managed to pivot to advertising, and since doing so, our analytics so greatly improved that companies have found value in advertising on our site. MGO: What were the biggest highlights and most positive changes for Green Market Report? Borchardt: The most positive change for me and my company was getting acquired by Crain Communications. This will allow GMR to grow and expand in 2022. I have a wonderful team of seasoned publishers that can help us achieve our goals. MGO: What should the cannabis industry be focused on in 2022—and beyond—to keep it moving forward in a positive way? Borchardt: I think the biggest hurdle the industry will face is addressing the illicit market. By that, I don’t mean legacy players—I mean people who are intentionally thwarting the system and hiding behind the word legacy. It’s a grey area for the cannabis industry since it’s federally illegal. So, how do you really define illegal? If this is addressed, it’ll make it easier for everyone to play by the same rules. MGO: What are your predictions for how the cannabis industry will continue to evolve in 2022? What are you most excited about? Borchardt: I believe we’ll continue to see more states add various forms of legalization. I’m super excited to see if New Jesey will get sales underway in 2022. And I think all eyes will be on the Northeast this year! We’re all waiting to watch legalization unfold there. MGO: Who else in the cannabis industry inspires you by making a positive impact? Borchardt: Honestly, all the female leaders in cannabis. I see so many of them making huge, positive impacts and strides for the industry, as well as other industries, each and every day.