Merger will help streamline Nevada’s Cannabis Industry

Merger will help streamline Nevada’s Cannabis Industry

A new partnership is seeking to iron out wrinkles in Nevada’s cannabis supply chain.

Blackbird, a cannabis distribution company, was recently acquired by cannabis wholesale platform Nabis, allowing the brands to combine their expertise, technology and other assets to increase industry efficiency statewide.

“We’re on this march toward becoming national, and just basically providing the geographical, unified, infrastructural business that helps brands go from market to market without having to deal with all the little nuances of regulation within each state,” said Vince Ning, co-CEO and co-founder of the California-based Nabis. “And we did not have a presence in Nevada, and so (Blackbird)—that was something that is a perfect puzzle-piece fit for what we were intending to do as a business.”

If you go into any cannabis dispensary in Nevada, there’s a good chance it has products that Blackbird put there, said Drea Ballard, director of operations for Blackbird.

The company has been a resource for manufacturers and cultivators across the state, Ballard said, which can be challenging for a relatively “small operation.” He pointed to the unique challenges of the cannabis industry, including insurance and financing, and how Nabis can help Blackbird support Nevada’s cannabis infrastructure more than ever before.

“With Nabis coming in, they’re going to help us flesh out our infrastructure,” Ballard said. “They’re going to provide us support from a larger level.”

Ning emphasized the relationships that Nabis has with retailers in its respective markets, and how it has data that can give those different brands a better understanding of who to sell to and what to offer.

That data is “critical” in informing manufacturing partners on what to produce and how much to produce, so there’s never an oversupply, he added. So, for instance, if demand is dropping for a certain product, Nabis can tell its brands not to produce that product.

“Similar to how other industries have FedEx and DHL and other third-party logistics companies, cannabis businesses want the same level of commoditized services for shipping products, that allows them to get to market,” Ning said.

Every state has different regulations, which can be a challenge for any given brand to meet when it comes to distributing their product. Nabis, however, can allow individual companies to come to market by accessing a software portal and shipping, tracking and managing their products easily, Ning said.

Blackbird, which Ballard said does a significant amount of business between both Las Vegas and Reno, moves “[all] manner of cannabis” and has seen a wide range of products vary in popularity, each with its own logistical challenges in terms of warehousing and transportation.

“If you’ve set up your operation in Las Vegas, you’re limiting yourself to less than 60% of the market,” he said. “We’ve seen changes in the products that are popular with, just, innovation in the cannabis industry. We’ve moved everything from infused drinks, non-alcoholic beer, THC-infused chocolates, all sorts of edibles, gummies, and now it’s standardizing, but it’s always changing.”

Each product requires different handling and transportation conditions, Ning echoed, which are the kind of problems that Nabis has set out to solve.

The company is always cognizant of shifts in market trends, he said, pointing to the increasing proliferation of cannabis consumption lounges and the quantities or shipment styles that retailers like that require.

“There’s all sorts of different changes that are happening,” he said, “despite Nevada having been a legalized market for the past six years.”

Nabis was drawn to Blackbird because of the “incredible job” it’s done and the reputation it has for high-quality service in Nevada, Ning said.

The company’s corporate culture meshes well with that of Nabis, he said, and going forward they both hope to continue supporting manufacturers and retailers, and offloading some of the work they have to do in terms of packaging, shipping, warehousing and inventory management.

“We have a marketplace that we hope to alleviate some of the sales reps’ work in Nevada, as well—so all sorts of different technology services and tools we’re hoping to continue to add on to what Blackbird’s already built, which is quite robust,” Ning said. “But I think it can help continue to alleviate a lot of the strain, and streamline more of the wholesaling process in the market.”

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Region: Nevada

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