The Power of Networking in a Global Cannabis Industry

In conversation with Jill Reddish

by Redaktion

25 tonnes of cannabis have been imported to Germany 2023. Supply is coming from all around the globe – from South and Northamerican, African and European countries or from New Zealand. At the same time Germany decriminalized restricted adult-use consumption. A conversation with Jillian Reddish, co-founder of Global Cannabis Network Collective (GCNC), about global cannabis trade, creative business models in decriminalized adult-use countries and the power of networking. Jill, you co-founded the Global Cannabis Network Collective, among others with Lisa Haag. A few illustrious names have joined your exclusive circle. Members of your advisory board are Claudia Della Mora, Co-Founder of Black Legend Capital, Fleta Solomon, CEO of Little Green Pharma,Julian Wilches, COO of Clever Leaves, just to name a few. How can you become a member of the Global Cannabis Network Collective?

Jill Reddish: As a global connector, I’ve seen that the businesses who get the most value out of membership are those operating in two or more countries, or are actively planning to expand internationally. We go well beyond plant-touching operations with members all across the global supply chain, including shipping & logistics providers, packing & labeling, creative marketing agencies, insurance providers, decontamination specialists, the list goes on. 

For the GCNC, we also look for leaders who know they’ll get out an exponential return on what they are willing to put in. But, they do have to engage. Our monthly Member Meet-Ups are closed to the public because it’s a safe space for executives to share challenges, ask questions, and swap intel on what’s happening in markets all around the world. Our annual membership fees are relatively low, starting at USD1500, because we don’t want currency conversion to be a barrier to growth. The application can be found at, and co-founder Chris Day and I are always happy to take a meeting to explore opportunities to collaborate! 

This post is part of a media partnership. Our readers get a discount via this link! Members of your network come from regions all around the globe – how do you help them to connect, interact and discuss?

Jill Reddish: We get to know the goals of each member business in a one-on-one conversation to understand the kinds of partners you need to succeed, then we make curated introductions and look for opportunities to spotlight our members as the innovative industry leaders they are. We host the GCNC Worldview podcast, curate informative webinars, and we also have an extensive network of event partners who offer discounted tickets, booth rates, and sponsorship opportunities which help our members reach new audiences. 

Chris Day and I launched GCNC in 2020 when the pandemic had everyone relying on technology to conduct business and expand their network – something you can’t afford to take a break from in cannabis. Four years later, we still host monthly calls for our members on Zoom, and the breakout rooms where people can get to know each other – whether they’re sitting in Switzerland or Argentina or Colorado– remain a favorite part of the agenda. A lot of business comes out of those meetings, like when one of the first movers in Peru connected with an artisanal grower in Oregon about their award-winning pre-rolls, and kicked off a deal. That helped spur the launch of a trade mission in Lima, Peru, called the Andean Hemp & Cannabis Trade Forum, which the GCNC is organizing with our partner, Futura Farms, in October 2024. 

“With cannabis, it’s much more exciting than trading a traditional commodity.” Pharmaceutical cannabis trade is a global business nowadays. How do you explain that even flowers from New Zealand are sold in Germany?

Jill Reddish: Why wouldn’t you participate in the global market? The world is increasingly a global economy, but with cannabis, it’s much more exciting than trading a traditional commodity. Cannabis is a sensitive, responsive plant that responds to its individual growing environment, and New Zealand is one of the places in the world with a microclimate that lends itself so well to robust and unique strains – just like Colombia, Israel, Morocco, or the Emerald Triangle in California. While some parts of the industry will become fairly commoditized, I feel pretty confident that we will never breed cannabis down into a monocropped cultivar like bananas because we value it so highly because of its diversity. That’s where the actual value is.

Obviously, pharmaceutical cannabis producers need to supply patients who have serious ailments with a medicine that is replicable and reliable; however, we are slowly seeing shifts in how cannabis broadens our understanding and expectation of medicines to be as unique as our individual genomes. THC in isolation does not have the same beneficial effects as full spectrum extracts that preserve all the rich terpenes and cannabinoids from the flower, and we are seeing more research that helps explain why this is so. We have a unique opportunity to embrace and learn from the diversity and specialization of cannabis, and eventually our marketplaces will hopefully mirror that by finding a balance between locally produced products and importing unique international strains. 

“The real question is, when can global suppliers see a return on their investment?” Looking at Germany, everyone is expecting a significant growth of patient numbers due to the reclassification of medical cannabis as non-narcotic. At the same time German cultivators will be allowed to cultivate the amounts they are capable of producing. Will Germany attract the interest of global supply in the upcoming months?

Jill Reddish: As Germany is one of the world’s largest economies and holds a very influential position within the European Union, it is naturally already attracting interest. Getting involved now, even just by becoming familiar with the market and players at an event like The Cannabis Summit or ICBC, will pay off in the long run. 

The real question is, when can global suppliers see a return on their investment? Considering some lessons learned from Canada, Colombia, Australia, and other regions, that’s going to take a while. It won’t be three years – it will be more like 10 years before there is reliable, robust money being made and Germany’s laws are quite likely to change further between now and then. That being said, those operators who are innovative, patient, and look for legal and compliant workarounds with smart partners, can begin laying the groundwork for flourishing brands and operations that will pay off for many years to come. Another question is how to participate in countries such as Malta or Germany which decriminalize adult-use cannabis. Any chance for global entities to support in an entrepreneurial way?

Jill Reddish: One lesson I have observed from managing the community of GCNC businesses is that there is so much more opportunity for entrepreneurs beyond plant-touching operations. Cannabis opens up entire ecosystems of business opportunities, from greenhouse equipment and extraction machines, to tech platforms and marketing agencies and beyond. I am expecting to see a lot of activity around social clubs or consumption lounges that establish a brand identity and strategic partnerships. The bigger the global market gets, the more innovation and creativity we see to meet the growing consumer demand, regardless of the status of a market today. Switching the topic: Many female leaders are part of your advisory board. What else do you do to support female leadership in the cannabis industry?

Jill Reddish: This is a great question about a complex issue that doesn’t have one straightforward answer. I can certainly point out the number of female founders and executives we’ve hosted on the GCNC Worldview podcast, or who we’ve helped get speaking engagements. But the issue is much deeper than the numbers alone can tell. 

When pointing out gender disparities and associated issues, many women point out the lack of mentorship or access to networks are significant hurdles in advancement and particularly when raising capital. For female entrepreneurs and executives, it can be challenging to find trusted peers to turn to with challenges or when facing a pivot, or when needing a warm introduction to a potential strategic partner. That kind of gatekeeping doesn’t exist within the GCNC. On our application, we ask each member if they are willing to share their knowledge and experiences in the spirit of “your success is my success.” It’s important to us that member businesses share those kinds of values, that business can be a vehicle to create prosperity and improve lives, rather than being a game of “winner takes all.” And of course, access to capital is the single largest barrier to growth that female CEOs face, and that’s something we are working on behind the scenes as well. 

We strive to create an environment that is safe and welcoming, especially when we host networking events. I am also a very early member of the EmpowHer Cannabis Society, founded by Heidi Whitman and Rebecca Allen-Tapp. There is so much value-alignment between GCNC and EmpowHer that it was a natural fit to co-host an executive networking event alongside ICBC Berlin. The energy is very different when events are more 50-50, and it’s always a major win for me when a woman tells me how comfortable she felt walking into an event I threw, and how much business she got done!

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