How Deepak Anand Became A Global Cannabis Industry Leader

"We are all pupils of this amazing plant and will remain so for the foreseeable future."

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Friends,

Rewinding the clock back to 2018, I was driven by a desire to learn who exactly were the leaders of the emerging legal cannabis industry in North America.

As part of this pursuit, I came across Depak Anand — who at the time was the Vice President of Cannabis Compliance Inc, a very successful consulting firm focused on helping cannabis companies succeed within the legal market.

What impressed me the most as I listened to interviews with Deepak was his forward-looking perspective on how cannabis would inevitably become a global industry, something which greatly influenced my own perspective on cannabis.

In the time since, Cannabis Compliance Inc was acquired by Deloitte, and in turn, Deepak founded his own company — Materia Ventures which focuses on the global medical cannabis market, with a strong focus on the European market.

For today’s edition of Four PM, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Deepak to learn more about his journey into the cannabis industry and to understand the thought process behind the markets his team is currently choosing to focus on.

Deepak Anand is the former Vice President of Business Development & Government Relations for Cannabis Compliance & is currently the Co-founder & CEO Materia Ventures.

What was your motivation to join the cannabis industry?

I joined the cannabis industry cautiously - I came from Pharma where there was always a high degree of apprehension towards cannabis.

Only a few months into launching a big tend industry association, I came into contact with patients, physicians as well as regulators and policy makers and saw first hand the benefits that patients were seeing from medical cannabis and at the same time, the struggles that they were facing with respect to affordability and access was too much for me to ignore.

The fact that I am able to influence and impact meaningful policy change and do something to further better or benefit medical cannabis patients and those that choose to consume cannabis on a global basis gives me a reason to wake up and do this each and every day.

Which markets outside of North America are currently on your radar, and what makes these specific markets stand out?

Outside of North America, we are heavily focused on the European markets.

Of these, Germany is currently of most interest which is why we have a presence there and are amongst only a handful of companies to have EU-GMP certification for cannabis manufacturing. At Materia, we have keen sights on developing medical cannabis markets outside of Germany within Europe (France, UK, etc.) as well as non-European markets such as Brazil, Australia, Israel, etc.

Unique product requirements combined with slow but steady patient growth are going to make these markets stand out as time evolves. Certain countries such as Germany with a high degree of reimbursement for medical cannabis make that market different and also particularly interesting. 

Is there a valuable mistake you've made during your career in the cannabis industry, and what was the lesson taken from this experience?

Underestimating both how quickly and slowly the industry evolves has been phenomenal to watch and learn from.

In many ways so much has been accomplished in cannabis within just a few short years but yet there is so much more still come.

Lesson? — Never stop learning in Cannabis. We are all pupils of this amazing plant and will remain so for the foreseeable future. The minute you think there is nothing further for you to learn in cannabis - you are done.

What was the insight that led you to focus on the European cannabis market as opposed to North America? 

For me having a background in sales and distribution in Europe allows me to have a unique lens into the complexities and differences into the way Europe functions.

The potential for cannabis in Europe is still in its infancy and for me and us to have an opportunity to be a foundational player in that market for years to come was the greatest insight that has led us to focus on this market.

What has you most excited about the future of the cannabis industry, and your role within it? 

To wake up each day knowing that there is the ability to make meaningful change and be an enabler of cannabis access excites me.

Cannabis is only going to be significantly larger in market size, acceptability, prevalence, and presence on a global basis than it is today — I am humbled and excited to continue to play a role within it.

I take very seriously both my roles on the for-profit side of the industry equally with those on the not-for-profit side (Medical Cannabis Canada, NORML, etc.).

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