Q&A with Troy Datcher: CEO of The Parent Company
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 Parent Company is California’s largest vertically integrated omnichannel cannabis platform. Within it are multiple owned and licensed brands offering more than 250 SKUs in diverse forms. The company is passionate about social equity, and in 2021 even started a Social Equity Ventures fund to discover the industry’s future entrepreneurs of color and provide them with the capital and mentorship to succeed in the industry. Troy Datcher came onboard as CEO in August 2021 as the first Black CEO to run a major publicly traded cannabis company. We sat down to talk to Troy about his new foray into the cannabis industry, what the industry needs to focus on in the new year, and who’s making a notable difference for cannabis.
MGO: How long have you been involved in the cannabis industry? What inspired you to get involved with cannabis?
Troy Datcher, CEO of The Parent Company: Officially, I started in the industry in September of 2021—so just a few months ago. There were several things that inspired me to jump in. First, the opportunity to join The Parent Company was a unique one. It’s an organization where I felt I had the right “ingredients” to make a great company. In addition to great brands, great employees, and a solid strategy, I was attracted to its commitment to creating opportunities for a more equitable and inclusive industry. Plus, I finally got the opportunity to work with Roc Nation and Jay Z, which was incredibly interesting!
MGO: The cannabis industry saw several trends emerge in 2021. What do you think was the biggest one?
Datcher: Just like previous years, 2021 saw more Americans voicing their support for legalization. Despite stalling efforts at the federal level to improve business conditions for companies, people continued to gravitate towards plant-based options for their health, happiness, and healing. And I think that’s very powerful, and telling, about where the industry’s headed.
MGO: What were some of the biggest obstacles you faced in the industry in 2021? How did you manage and overcome these issues?
Datcher: Last year, we faced the major undertaking of merging three companies into one to form The Parent Company as it became publicly traded. The challenging work to build internal systems and processes paid off because we set ourselves up for a successful integration. That foundation allowed us to make acquisitions to add to our direct-to-consumer platform with the additions of our Calma and Coastal dispensaries.
MGO: What were the biggest highlights and most positive changes for The Parent Company in 2021?
Datcher: The most notable change that gives me hope is the continued legalization across the country. The changed attitudes towards cannabis reflected in legislation is a positive sign for the cannabis industry at large, and it has improved The Parent Company’s outlook moving forward too.
MGO: What should the cannabis industry be focused on in 2022—and beyond—to keep it moving forward in a positive way?
Datcher: There is still a lot of work to do collectively to improve regulations, taxation policies, quality, and safety. It’s almost as though we must work to ensure that the industry remains committed to inviting a diverse community to participate as the landscape takes shape. It’s important that we continue this work in 2022 and beyond to keep the momentum going.
MGO: How do you think the cannabis industry will continue to evolve in 2022? What are you personally most excited about?
Datcher: I predict there will be new alliances formed through consolidation and partnerships as the highly fragmented California landscape continues to remain competitive. I’m excited about the plans we have to introduce our brands to more consumers through out-of-state expansion. We’ll announce those plans—and launch—in 2022, so stay tuned.
MGO: Who else in the cannabis industry inspires you by making a positive impact?
Datcher: In my short time being a part of the industry, I’ve met so many people who are making a difference. But Al Harrington stands out to me. The former NBA player is the founder of the Viola brand, and he has said he wants to create 100 Black millionaires by funding new business ventures in cannabis. That’s incredibly exciting and inspirational, and I hope to see it happen.