As President Donald Trump escalates his trade war, many industries are finding out, rather painfully, how it affects their bottom line. Element TV Company, Coca-Cola, and soybean farmers are among those already impacted by the new tariffs. Other companies and industries are now starting to feel the crunch, with cannabis possibly being next.
Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods are particularly worrisome for the cannabis industry. Many of the components in vaporizers and other technology used in the industry are imported from China.
“Unfortunately, the entire industry will quickly be affected by these tariffs, from the manufacturers down to the end user,” said Dustin Koffler, CEO of Green Tank Technologies, a cannabis vaporizer producer.
Koffler is trying to find a way to keep the costs down for his company’s products.
“We have been working diligently with the top US freight forward consultants to figure out viable solutions focused on significantly reducing shipping costs to offset these tariffs for our customers,” he said. “In the meantime, we’ve been able to stay well ahead by having an adequate supply of state-side hardware to service our clients while this trade war plays itself out.”
Trade associations too are concerned about the possibility of rising costs.
“The new tariffs have the potential to disrupt many portions of the cannabis industry,” Morgan Fox, Media Relations Director at the National Cannabis Industry Association, said. “By increasing costs for a variety of products and materials used in the construction of technology and equipment used by cannabis producers, as well as specifically taxing vaporizer cartridges and similar products, the tariffs stand to hurt many businesses directly and stifle innovation.”
While some in the industry may not feel the heat yet, they could soon start to feel the burden of the President’s trade policy.
“These costs will eventually filter down to cannabis producers, retailers, and customers,” Fox said.
Succeeding in the cannabis industry is already challenging of course, as companies do not have access to banking, business loans, or traditional lines of credit. Many in the cannabis industry, including vape makers, only see a 10-15 percent profit margin on sales. The tariffs could cut into that and force them to raise prices. This would be an inconvenience for recreational consumers and even worse news for patients on a fixed budget.