The cannabis industry’s online home for the latest news, opinion, and business resources
Rob Meagher is the founder, editor-in-chief, and president of CBE Press. Headquartered in Virginia, CBE Press is a business media company that serves members of the cannabis industry throughout the United States with the latest news, opinion, information, and resources. The company’s website, cannabisbusinessexecutive.com, as well as its CBE Week and CBE Policy & Legal weekly e-newsletters, are read by numerous executives, business owners, and partners at cannabis production facilities, processors, and retailers.
OFFIT KURMAN: How have you been able to successfully grow and make money on a publication that covers such a legally complex industry?
ROB MEAGHER: I’m pretty down-to-earth, and when I say I’m pretty down-to-earth, that by itself hasn’t provided us with this opportunity. The only thing that’s provided us with the opportunity is the right place at the right time—the perfect storm. I’m 58 years old. I have a track record of doing things, historically, and I have a clear mission in terms of what CBE wants to do to basically help the people in the industry do their jobs better, and that means executing strategies and business plans and best practices to drive profitability. That comes from my background in the financial press, and assets in the financial world. I also do work with Forbes and Fortune in special sections.
CBE is a business-to-business publication. It’s different than a B2C like a Forbes in the sense that I’m an advocate. I mentioned that in the very beginning of the interview. The reality is I don’t see any problems with marijuana, and for the life of me, it bugs the hell out of me that there are prohibitionists out there today that are trying to impose their will on a public that’s clearly come past that demarcation point—50 plus percent of the population backing the legalization of medical marijuana. Those things coming together, I think, provided me with credibility in approaching these guys; the business background provided me with that background and ability.
But there was also one other thing to it. I didn’t come encumbered into the scene with your journalistic background. I was never a journalist, but there were things that were sort of commonsensical me that I wanted to apply in our business model. When CBE interviews these folks, we basically take time to get to know them. I still take old-fashioned notes, and most of the interviews last an hour and a half—sometimes as much as two hours—but the thing that makes folks trust and share their stories with us is that I’m just trying to get it right. And so I provide everybody that I interview with the opportunity to review the copy for accuracy. Everything’s off the record until they do that. I don’t publish it until they’ve given it back with their comments.
Interestingly enough, [there are] very few modifications to the stories because of that approach, and I think your typical journalist is looking more along the lines of writing a story that you’re trying to prove a thesis or you’re competing in a debate and you’re taking one line of approach and you’re going to prove it. That’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to help players in the industry build businesses that are going to build a great industry going forward, and it’s going to require sharing information, transparency, really digging into understanding the issues that are important, and reporting it and getting it out through our distribution channel, which currently is electronic.
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