Direct Cannabis Network with Sara

Being an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry is difficult but extremely rewarding. Whether you have been in the industry for years or just breaking in, having the general knowledge of the advantages of medical marijuana can be very beneficial.

Gullickson is the Executive Director of as well as a national leader in the medical marijuana consulting industry. Gullickson has been in the industry for seven years. Her talents and insight on cannabis is the reason why Gullickson will be blogging once a month for Direct Cannabis Network.

Direct Cannabis Network is the leading digital news network highlighting the latest tech, startups and innovative companies in the cannabis industry.

Direct Cannabis Network’s mission is to build an ecosystem for the entrepreneurial community that provides a voice for the startups, a platform for the professionals and a community for the entrepreneurs.

If you are interested in learning more about cannabis and Sara, go to To learn more about Direct Cannabis Network and  Sara Gullickson, click the links below.


Chart: U.S. marijuana industry’s economic impact to approach $70B by 2021

The U.S. cannabis industry is poised to inject nearly $70 billion on an annual basis into the American economy by 2021, an eye-popping figure that underscores the broader economic impact for towns and municipalities that accept legal marijuana businesses into their communities.

Estimates published in the newly released Marijuana Business Factbook 2017 show the total economic impact of legal marijuana sales rising from $16 billion-$18 billion in 2016 to $48 billion-$68 billion by 2021 – a 241% increase.

By comparison, the $68 billion figure is similar to the 2016 gross domestic products of the Dominican Republic ($72 billion) and Kenya ($67 billion), according to International Monetary Fund data.

The projections are another example of marijuana’s rapid transformation from an industry dominated by black-market players into a legitimate and considerable economic force, quickly becoming a major job generator and bringing new business opportunities that produce significant ripple effects across the country.

Based on sales of medical and recreational marijuana at the retail level – including flower, infused products and concentrates – the estimates use an economic multiplier of four to quantify the industry’s overall contribution to the economy, showing how revenue generated by cannabis businesses percolates through communities, cities, states and the nation.

In other words, for each dollar spent by marijuana patients/customers at the retail level, an additional $3 in economic benefit is realized – much of it at the local level.

Following are examples of how marijuana businesses affect the economy:

  • Wages paid to employees of cannabis companies benefit many other local businesses, given that workers spend a portion of their earnings to buy food from a grocery store or dine at a restaurant.
  • Marijuana businesses collectively pay hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local taxes, which fund projects including roads and rural hospitals as well as government programs such as education.
  • The launch of a new cannabis business – cultivation facilities, in particular – generate real estate and construction activity, often in economically disadvantaged areas of a town or municipality.

With recreational or medical legalization measures passed in 11 markets last year and several more states that have previously legalized marijuana – including Hawaii and Maryland – set to launch in the coming months, the cannabis industry is poised for strong, continual growth well into the future.

Furthermore, sales in existing medical and recreational markets have shown no signs of slowing. In Washington state and Colorado, for example, adult-use sales in the first two months of 2017 broke records.

Consequently, the cannabis industry’s impact on the broader economy will be even greater as time goes on. That may spur public officials to revisit their stance toward marijuana legalization, given the economic upsides that cannabis businesses can bring to the table.



BHANG caribbean cruise


Who – Bhang Caribbean Cruise

What – 7 Nights of the Caribbean & Cannabis!

When – October 21-28 2017

Where – Miami, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, & Bahamas

Why – Network, Travel, and Educate yourself in the cannabis industry with experts!

How – Purchase your tickets here:


4th Annual Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition

Join us In New York June 14 – 16!

The Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo (CWCBExpo) is the definitive business event for the cannabis industry. Exhibitors and sponsors bring cutting-edge solutions to owners and managers of businesses in this fast-growing industry, and a wealth of opportunity and knowledge to those looking to enter the market with potential partners and investors.

The Annual Cannabis World Congress & Business Expositions feature the latest technologies, solutions and resources for your cannabis-related company.

Sara Gullickson knows the tips and tricks to produce your winning application! With the high demand of Medical Marijuana Businesses, entrepreneurs have a 1 in 12 chance of winning a license in a merit based application process which can cost up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. creates business solutions for those interested in operating a dispensary, cultivation or manufacturing facility and has successfully secured licenses in ten different states within the U.S. The company has a plethora of tools available for education, application and operation, visit

Learn what you can do as a medical marijuana entrepreneur to mitigate investors risk, build a strong team, secure real estate, and ensure your application has both style and grace in New York this June. For more information on the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition, click here:

Medical Marijuana Roll Out In Pennsylvania

Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania

In 2016, multiple states legalized medical cannabis, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. By 2020, all three states are projected to be in the top tier of medical cannabis markets, with annual sales topping $1.6 billion in Florida alone.

Over the past year, in multiple state programs, legislation has been drafted, rules and regulations have developed, and MM timelines have developed, making patient access for thousands possible. However, Pennsylvania has outpaced its competition, moving quickly and precisely to implement a patient-focused program, even though inking the final legislation was a cumbersome process.

On January 17, the Pennsylvania Department of Health released cultivation and dispensary applications, with a one-month submission window from February 20-March 20.

The condensed timeline was extra motivation for my Dispensary Permits team. Throughout the early months of 2017, we worked tirelessly on multiple applications.

Some of our client meetings began 8 months in advance, while others required a crash course strategy. We even accepted a final client only 6 weeks before the deadline.

By closing day of the submission process, we had successfully carried all of our Pennsylvania clients through the finish line, though at times that finish line didn’t seem tangible or possible.

I put over 1,000 miles on my rental car, criss-crossed the state from east to west, and went three weeks without sleeping in my own bed. Though the days were long during the submission process, in the end, I had an amazingly grateful group of clients.

Pennsylvania differed in many ways from other state application processes. A melting pot of American geography, Pennsylvania isn’t the midwest or the northeast, the mid-atlantic or the south, making its entrance into the industry even more startling and special. A state unto its own, its medical cannabis program has thus far followed suit.

Key Application Components:

  • Dispensary Licenses: 50 in total. Up to 27 licenses to be awarded during Phase 1 (dispensary licensees are permitted up to 3 locations per dispensary license)
  • Grower/Processor Licenses: 25 in total. Up to12 licenses to be awarded during Phase 1
  • No in-state residency requirements for applicants.
  • Many Application questions had a 5,000 word count maximum.
  • Applications were scored on a 1,000-point merit-based scale, with community and diversity sections weighted one of the highest worth 100 points each.
  • Grower/Processor Fees: $210,000 total and proof of $2 million in capital. Refundable fees of $200,000 if not granted permit.
  • Dispensary Fees: Up to $95,000 total ($30,000 per dispensary location) and proof of $150,000 in capital. Refundable fees of up to $90,000 if permit not granted.

Each application will be reviewed under a merit-based, 1000-point scale, and the 5,000 word count maximum per question, ensured quality applications with well-crafted strategies. The 100-point value given to community involvement and diversity is something that we are seeing in other state processes.

The fact that there was no in-state residency requirements, opened the doors to many entrepreneurs throughout the country including current cannabis business owners interested in expansion.

The limited amount of licenses and future market expectations have made Pennsylvania one of the most competitive states in the industry. Estimates are already projecting that Pennsylvania will represent 9.2% of the nation’s $22 billion market. In total, the Pennsylvania Department of Health received 258 applications (as of April 25th, 2017 and still counting) and more than 500 packages.

Right now, we are only in Phase 1 of Pennsylvania’s program, which will disperse 27 dispensary permits (50 in total) and 12 growers/processors permits (25 in total). The state still has not announced plans for Phase 2, but many expect that this will result in further expansion of the state program.

Overall, I have been very impressed with Pennsylvania’s roll out. When the first dispensaries open their doors (spring 2018), a state Medical Marijuana Advisory Board will release a report to the Department of Health with additional recommendations and possibilities of expansion. Already there is a push for a more inclusive list of qualifying conditions, and criticism regarding the restriction on the sale of dry leaf/flower. These are just some of the program components that might see changes in Phase 2.

Perhaps the most inspiring element to Pennsylvania’s approach has been its decision to release temporary regulations with the safe-harbor provision. Unlike other programs that have made young patients wait for access, the Department allowed parents and guardians to obtain recommendations from their children’s doctors for the use of medical marijuana so that they would not be in violation of criminal laws. Already, over 200 applications have been approved for safe-harbor.

Though the program has drawn some criticism, the state has been very pro-active for its patient community. I am thrilled to have been a part of the process, and know that an application win means a whole new phase of business. The future of the industry is bright, and with hard work, due diligence, dedication and passion, the possibilities are endless.

We look forward to announcing our winning clients on or around June 2017, and as a teaser, one in particular is positioned to make history. Details will be released shortly.


Sara Gullickson: Happy Mothers Day – CBD changed my life

In an interview this week the host asked, “Who benefits from Marijana?” I candidly replied, “Well, everyone”, I quickly realized that I did not give this drug the clout it deserves so I started to explain the “New Face of Cannabis”. I told him mothers, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, co-workers, and children are all benefiting from this plan. He still didn’t react so I took a step back and offered to tell him a story.

I told him about Sassy. My SASSY.

Sassy is my 8-year-old black pug. I actually sold one of my mom’s coats on e-Bay to pay for her since I was a broke college student. (I guess I’ve always been an entrepreneur). When I picked her up she was 12 weeks old and just 3 pounds. When I put her in the car, she was shaky and unsure of her new momma. I decided to sing to her. She looked at me, cocked her head side to side like she was listening and tried to get closer to my mouth; it was love at first sight.

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” ― Ann Wigmore

As a baby, Sassy was skinny, awkward, rambunctious, loving, sometimes spiteful, and attached to my hip. About 6 weeks ago Sassy’s health took a turn for the worse. She was hanging her head low, rarely getting out of bed, and her legs gave out every time she tried to go potty. I was devastated. She has been by my side every day for the last 8 years. So, I did what any doggie mother would do and I took her to the vet. I also called a good friend in the cannabis industry. My choices came down to trying a CBD product or giving her Rimadyl, which would harm her liver and kidneys, I chose the non-harmful drug with zero side effects, CBD.

Within a week Sassy became that awkward little puppy I got. She is social again, has some major pep in her step (I mean her name is Sassy), her neck is mobile again, her skin and fur are healthier, and her back legs are strong. For mothers day this year, I got Sassy back.

Happy Mothers Day! I just wanted to share with you how CBD changed our quality of life. Sassy is now a happy camper except when Brutus photobombs her.

Mother’s one wish: Janea Cox

MariMed Advisors/Dispensary Permits are raising awareness for the benefits of legalizing medical cannabis through their Mother’s One Wish Campaign. Here is their latest work:

Did you know that over $20.7 billion was spent on Mothers Day? While billions of dollars are being thrown into the floral, card and novelty gift industries, there are some Mothers Day gifts that are priceless and would only cost you your support.

MariMed Advisors/Dispensary Permits dedicate this whole month of May to raising awareness for the benefits of legalizing medical cannabis in hopes to gain local support for mothers with sick children fighting for legalization in their respective states. In correlation to Mother’s Day with our Mother’s One Wish Campaign, we decided to celebrate and show appreciation to the mothers of the medical cannabis world by paying weekly tributes to selected mothers who have significantly contributed to the cause.

So today, we honor Janea Cox, mother of Haleigh Cox- the little girl largely responsible for the passing of a medical cannabis bill in Georgia named Haleigh’s Hope Act. Haleigh Cox suffers from a rare form of epilepsy causing severe seizures daily. Prior to the passing of HB 1, Janea Cox and her daughter had to move to Colorado- breaking up their family as her husband had to remain in GA for work- in order to obtain the necessary medical cannabis which has been proven to help those suffering from disorders like Haleigh’s. According to a report on ‘medical marijuana refugees’ by CNN, over 100 families moved to Colorado for medical cannabis.

A year after moving to Colorado, Janea Cox’s fight for medical cannabis legalization in her home state of Georgia was a success on April 16th 2015 when Gov. Nathan Deal signed HB 1 (Haleigh’s Hope Act) immediately allowing for the possession and use of low-THC cannabis oils for qualifying patients; that meant Janea Cox could finally return home with her daughter to be reunited with her husband along with many other long awaited Georgian family reunions.

We hope success stories such as Janea Cox’s will encourage other mothers in similar situations to begin or continue to push for legalizing medical cannabis nationwide. Don’t forget to support your local mothers in your respective states- there are many ways to get involved and make a difference.

Happy International Women’s Day

I’ll be landing in Minneapolis in 30 minutes to catch a connecting flight to Boston where Ill be meeting with the team for a few days. Just before taking off, as I was scrolling though my social media feeds, I realized today is International Women’s Day. While searching for the perfect quote or photo to inspire other women I realized the most fitting quote for today in this very moment is:

“ She needed a hero, so that’s what she became.” -Unknown

A common question when growing up is “ What do you want to be when you grow up?”. As a little girl, I was a dreamer, I was passionate, very creative and “out-of-the box”. I don’t remember the exact professions I was drawn to but I do remember that question was hard for me to answer. I thought, do I want to be a teacher, and if I’m a teacher does that mean I can’t be a doctor and if I’m a doctor can I still be a mother? When I matured a bit and entered into high school, then on to college and finished up grad school I still didn’t know what I wanted to be or if I’d ever “grow up”. Today, just as the wheels are about to land on the tarmac in my hometown as I look back at all those years, I decided

I want to be me when I grow up. That’s all. I want to be me because I am a teacher, a mommy,  a professional, a woman, a child, I am a friend, sister, daughter, yogi, I am beautiful, strong, tenacious, and driven. The list could go on and on but the most important thing is that I am comfortable with what I’ve become. As women let’s teach little girls that they can be anything they want to be. Give them the message that they are strong and smart. Let’s tell them that greatness can be achieved by hard work and dedication. A few years ago I wanted to be a part of a movement I wanted to change the way people perceived marijuana. I wanted to help others and challenge the norm, so I did. Now it’s time to teach others that if you find your passion, come up with a plan, work hard, stay dedicated, be honest, fair and humble you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. Create your own destiny and fulfill all your wildest dreams. Happy International Women’s Day to all the women that have inspired, mentored, and taught me, especially my mother, my biggest fan.

Sara Gullickson’s Cannabis Conference wrap-up

Over the last 10 days I’ve been in dozens of Uber cars, spent hours on 5 airplanes, cruised on a boat, rode on 5 trains, and sat shotgun on a tour bus over the course of my travels through 6 different cities.
During my journey I have acquired hundreds of new cannabis contacts, seen dozens of marijuana industry professionals I now call friends, tested 7 new cannabis related products, chatted with 13 reporters, listened to a handful of inspirational stories from leading women in the cannabis industry, meet 7 teammates in Chicago for our MJBIZCON booth and educated thousands of attendees on this crazy industry at 2 cannabis conferences.

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