Por que tantas startups focadas em Maconha legal vão quebrar

Economia, Opinião

hempadao 20 julho, 2019

Artigo do blog CannabiZ fala sobre “as dificuldades de um mercado que guarda alguns paralelos com o das cervejas artesanais”

“Noventa por cento desses caras vão quebrar nos próximos anos.” Ouvi essa frase de um tarimbado executivo em Las Vegas, quando participei pela primeira vez da MJBizCon em novembro de 2017. Se o cálculo estiver correto, estamos falando de 610 negócios falidos. Para quem fez a conta, é isso mesmo: havia 678 empresas com estandes na conferência, além de outras tantas circulando pelos mais de 9 mil metros quadrados da exposição, de todos os setores e tamanhos possíveis, 100% dedicados ao mercado da Cannabis legal.

por Ricardo Amorim
na VEJA

A quebradeira a que se referia o executivo não se dá por escassez de oportunidades, mas pelo excesso de regulações e impostos. Exatamente como acontece com bebidas alcoólicas, tabaco e remédios. E é bom que seja assim. O mercado da Cannabis legal precisa de uma regulamentação inteligente, que não o inviabilize, mas que proteja e informe consumidores e pacientes, como nos casos das categorias supramencionadas. Ou seja, não é uma “brincadeira” para qualquer um. É jogo de gente grande.

O cenário faz lembrar o boom das cervejas artesanais, movimento que acompanho desde 2007, quando comecei um blog sobre o tema. Falo, claro, em termos de negócios — guardadas as diferenças óbvias entre bebidas legais e uma erva proibida na maior parte do mundo. As semelhanças são muitas, a começar pelo já citado ambiente fiscal e regulatório, passando pelo perfil dos empreendedores, pelas barreiras de entrada e pelas expectativas de receitas exorbitantes que quase nunca se confirmam. O prognóstico do meu interlocutor em Vegas me ajudou a enxergar essas semelhanças, que agrupo em três temas nos quais acredito que a cerveja artesanal oferece bons subsídios ao debate sobre a Cannabis legal.

1. Os empreendedores

Grande parte dos cervejeiros que se aventuraram a abrir pequenas indústrias, importadoras ou comércios dedicados à bebida entrou no negócio movida, em primeiro lugar, pela paixão. “Pô, eu adoro cerveja, tá chegando essa onda artesanal, vou juntar trabalho com prazer e ser feliz para sempre”, pensava o neoempreendedor, imaginando uma vida regada a boa cerveja e dinheiro sobrando no fim do mês. Os apreciadores mais entusiasmados da Cannabispensam e agem da mesma forma. Tanto é assim que o movimento para abrir startups canábicas chegou a ser comparado à corrida do ouro, trocando apenas o termo gold rush por green rush. Em ambos os casos, trata-se de uma aventura que, na maioria das vezes, é cara demais para ser paga somente com paixão. Entram nessa turma os tais 90% de falidos com que abri este post.

Investir ou empreender com Cannabis é caro, trabalhoso e arriscado, o que nos leva ao segundo ponto em comum com a cerveja artesanal: os custos, diretos e indiretos.

2. As barreiras de entrada

O mercado da Cannabis legal se desenvolve dentro de um ambiente de negócios no qual ética, compliance, sustentabilidade e compromissos sociais já fazem parte do dia a dia das empresas. Como agravante, estamos falando aqui de uma substância psicoativa, proibida por mais de oitenta anos e que agora volta à cena com promessas tão diversas quanto eliminar o tráfico e curar crianças com autismo e epilepsia. Mesmo em realidades mais liberais, as autoridades não podem errar, sob pena de ocorrerem retrocessos indesejáveis, tanto para as empresas do setor quanto para os governos cujos eleitores decidiram pelo caminho da regulamentação.

Por isso as barreiras de entrada – os custos para o estabelecimento e a aprovação de negócios legítimos – são altíssimas. Na Califórnia, o maior mercado de Cannabis legal do mundo, as taxas e exigências são tão rigorosas que têm mantido parte considerável dos negócios longe da legalidade, ou seja, continuam operando no mercado negro (este assunto merece um post exclusivo, que publicarei em breve). Mesmo para quem já possuía know-how, equipamentos, pessoal e imóvel, a conta está longe de fechar.

Assim como nas cervejarias, é preciso investir não apenas no negócio em si, mas também gastar com advogados, contadores e engenheiros para deixar tudo dentro do que exige a lei, que ainda varia brutalmente entre as diversas jurisdições locais, estaduais e federais. Uma barafunda burocrática e financeira difícil de ser transposta por amadores.

3. Caseiros, artesanais e a indústria

A rixa entre grandes e pequenos é um dos assuntos mais recorrentes no mundo cervejeiro. Acusações de favorecimento às corporações e falta de apoio aos microempreendedores são as principais queixas de quem luta para vender seus poucos litros em gôndolas e balcões abastecidos com o marketing e os incentivos multimilionários das megacervejarias. Essa discussão já chegou à Cannabis e impõe um dilema importante que vai definir a própria natureza do mercado nos próximos anos.

O que fazer com os pequenos cultivadores que desejam se legalizar? E quem produz em casa, para consumo próprio, como fazem os cervejeiros caseiros? A maior parte dos estados e países que já enfrentaram a questão permite o cultivo individual, em geral com limitação ao número de plantas. Vale lembrar que o homebrewing também já foi proibido nos Estados Unidos, tendo sido legalizado nacionalmente apenas em 2013, quando os últimos estados, Alabama e Mississipi, derrubaram o veto à produção doméstica de cerveja. Detalhe importante: nem plantadores individuais nem cervejeiros caseiros estão autorizados a vender suas produções.

Aqui no Brasil, esse embate deve se acirrar nos próximos meses, diante das iniciativas da Anvisa – que abriu consulta pública até 20 de agosto para regulamentar o cultivo e a produção de medicamentos à base de Cannabis no país – e do Senado, que discute tanto a regulamentação do mercado medicinal (SUG 6/2016) quanto o cultivo para uso pessoal terapêutico (PLS 514/2017). Na semana passada, o presidente da Anvisa, William Dib, sugeriu que somente pessoas jurídicas seriam autorizadas a cultivar Cannabis e produzir remédios com os princípios ativos da planta. As condições mencionadas por Dib são extremamente rigorosas, exigindo que as áreas de cultivo se assemelhem a verdadeiros bunkers com o objetivo de afastar traficantes e ladrões. O governo Bolsonaro, por meio do ministro Osmar Terra (Cidadania), já informou ser contra, mesmo com todas as ressalvas feitas pela agência reguladora. Para Terra, a autorização para o cultivo vai abrir as portas para o “consumo generalizado”.

As divergências não se limitam às diferentes instâncias do poder público. Médicos, pacientes, pais e ativistas se juntaram na rejeição à sugestão da Anvisa, temendo ser prejudicados com as regras ora apresentadas. Atualmente 35 famílias e uma associação de pacientes têm autorização, por meio de habeas corpus concedidos pela Justiça, para plantar Cannabis com fins medicinais, segundo dados compilados pela Rede Jurídica pela Reforma da Política de Drogas (Reforma). O número pode ser maior, já que a Reforma recebe as informações de forma voluntária por parte de quem conquista o direito nos tribunais. Caso a legislação seja alterada nos moldes propostos pela Anvisa, há risco para esses e outros pacientes, que podem perder o acesso aos produtos caseiros, sendo obrigados a comprá-los das grandes indústrias. Estas, por sua vez, já se movimentam para garantir prerrogativas exclusivas de produção e distribuição. Sigo acompanhando o tema de perto e pretendo ouvir todos os lados a fim de iluminar o debate. Certamente será objeto de muitos outros posts aqui no CannabiZ.



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