A Guide to Successfully Launching a Legal Cannabis Business

The legal cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing in the U.S. Entrepreneurs have flocked to cannabis as the next big thing. Whether you’re interested in cultivating and selling cannabis, financing operations or anything in between, this guide will introduce you to this fledgling industry.

As cannabis shifts from the black market into the world of legal, regulated business, the industry has experienced unprecedented growth in a short time. Entrepreneurs of all stripes – from cultivators to distributors to tech experts – have jumped into the fledgling industry to get a piece of the multi-billion-dollar pie. The rapid growth of the cannabis industry, in both medical and recreational markets, shows signs of continuing; in other words, cannabis is still on the ground floor.

If you’re considering starting a cannabis business, whether it touches the plant directly or provides support and ancillary services, now is the time to get informed and involved. This guide will serve as a primer to help you get the ball rolling on your own entrepreneurial cannabis endeavor so that you’ll be seeing plenty of green in no time!

The birth of an industry

Medical and recreational cannabis use is legal in a total of 26 states, plus Washington D.C. An additional three have decriminalized cannabis, reducing possession under certain amounts to a civil charge rather than a criminal one. The rash of legalizations began with California’s passage of medicinal cannabis measure Proposition 215 in 1996 and culminated in Colorado and Washington’s legalization of recreational cannabis in 2012. Since then, the dominoes have continued to fall, and now eight states, plus D.C., boast recreational cannabis use laws. In just 20 years, what was previously a black-market product has become the cash crop of a new industry.

However, as the cannabis industry rises to prominence – multiple estimates place anticipated growth eclipsing the $20 billion mark by the early 2020s – the federal government maintains cannabis as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. That means cannabis is considered an illegal substance with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Despite the federal prohibition, the governing document of the day is the Department of Justice’s 2013 missive known as the Cole Memorandum, which states the feds won’t interfere with cannabis operations that are abiding by their state’s legal framework. Unfortunately, the prohibition still causes problems for the fledgling cannabis industry, especially when it comes to financial housekeeping.

Still, even with this albatross around its neck, the legal cannabis industry is a burgeoning one. The Arcview Group, a cannabis investment and research organization, found that 2016 revenues from the young industry had eclipsed $6.7 billion, which represented a 30 percent increase over 2015 sales.

Furthermore, Arcview projects that by 2021, the industry will bring in $21 billion. That’s a whopping compound annual growth rate of 20.97 percent if the projection holds. No wonder investors and entrepreneurs alike are clamoring to get some skin in the game.

A variety of business

With big numbers like $6.7 billion in sales in 2016, you might be thinking the window of opportunity has mostly closed, but industry insiders told Business.com that it’s still early in the game. Stuart Titus, Ph.D., president and CEO of industrial hemp company Medical Marijuana Inc., said startups of all stripes still have ample opportunity to launch, grow and succeed in the cannabis space.

“The whole industry itself is at the very ground-floor level,” Titus said in an interview at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition. “We’re certainly nowhere near maximizing what we could do. Look at alcohol prohibition. All of a sudden, legalization spurred industries and businesses … We think the same is true for this industry.”

Cannabis businesses come in all shapes and sizes. Most people think of massive cultivation operations or dispensaries with jars full of shimmering, green buds. Those are certainly key elements of the industry; however, many cannabis entrepreneurs never even touch the plant itself. These include logistical support businesses, like distribution and transportation companies, or technology companies, such as dispensary software development or high-tech infrastructure for grow houses, for example.

Science is also a huge driver of the cannabis industry, much like other agricultural endeavors. Labs are needed for testing the potency and genetics of cannabis flowers, extractors are required for harvesting oils, and ongoing research provides insights into the specifics of cannabis for medical treatment. Glass blowers, vape purveyors and edibles creators are also in high demand. [Want to find out more about where the opportunities lay? Check out the tips from these industry insiders.]

“I believe there is plenty of opportunity. It’s the very, very early stage [for] everything from medicinal to recreational, support industries and infused products,” Titus said. “Creative minds, unique products and delivery methods will just continue to move along as time goes, and I think there’s ample opportunity for people to make a significant business opportunity in this incredible industry.”

Regulatory landscape

The state of the industry remains very much in flux. Beyond the federal prohibition, or perhaps because of it, varying state frameworks have led to a fragmented industry that looks very different based on geography. Everything from licensing to reporting can be vastly different between states, making it difficult for a company to expand simply. Experience gained in Colorado, for example, does not necessarily translate to the New York market.

“Since we’re not a federally recognized industry, there are many things that are affected,” said Sara Gullickson, CEO of DispensaryPermits.com, a consulting service for marijuana entrepreneurs. “In terms of regulations, every single state program varies. They’re crafting programs specifically for their environment. So, things that are important in Arkansas might not be as important in Ohio and so we’re seeing that kind of flesh out.”

As knowledge of the industry improves, newer markets are including mandates that don’t exist in older markets. For example, Gullickson said, Arizona’s legal cannabis program includes no mention of testing, while newer markets mandate testing to ensure that cannabis is a safe, quality medical product for patients to use before it hits the market.

The lack of federal policy has created a sort of experimental period, where states are borrowing what works from one another and trying to scrap what doesn’t, Gullickson said. While the federal prohibition creates a lot of confusion and many problems, this trial and error period has been a good thing for the industry’s evolution in her estimation.

“I’m a little bit more optimistic than most. I almost think if the feds stepped in and pushed something down everybody’s throat there’d be a lot of resistance; how could the feds come up with something that’s uniform, implemented across U.S. that works in every state?” Gullickson said. “It’s something that’s necessary but also scary, because we do know what we’re doing in different states and there are some really good programs. We don’t want something to come into play that diminishes what good we’re already doing.”


For businesses that touch the plant, licensing and permitting is essential. The process varies state by state and can be rather arduous. In addition to outlining policies and procedures, applicants are required to provide an overview of who comprises their organization and to prove that what they say is true. According to Gullickson, balancing a level of detail in applications of limited length has become a skill set of its own in the consulting industry.

“About three or four years ago, when you were sending applications, everyone threw in the kitchen sink – thousands and thousands of pages to confuse people and hope they wouldn’t read it,” she said. “Now, the application process is often to describe in five pages what your operation looks like. You need someone to communicate to an uneducated audience what your policies and procedures look like. We had to sharpen our skillset to be as granular as possible in limited characters.”

Ultimately, cultivators and dispensaries looking to score a license should be prepared to spend between $150,000 and $200,000 navigating the process, Gullickson said. For larger companies aiming for a sort of “super license,” costs balloon from $500,000 to $750,000.


Another problem caused by the federal prohibition centers on banking. Many banks are hesitant to do business with cannabis-related companies, while others refuse outright. Working with cannabis industry businesses is a risk for banks – on one hand, it opens the bank up to additional oversight and liability; on the other, there is a palpable fear that a federal crackdown could result in seized assets and a business catastrophe.

The lack of conventional banking options has led cannabis entrepreneurs, especially those that touch the plant, to work primarily in cash. Not only is that dangerous – cannabis entrepreneurs are regularly targeted for robberies – but tracking cash payments for tax and regulatory purposes is incredibly difficult.

“It’s crippling right now. You don’t realize how important banking is until you don’t have it – just giving employees a paycheck is just brutal,” said Keegan Peterson, CEO of payroll and HR company Wurk. “In a cash environment, it’s difficult to even prove you paid [your employees], or your vendors, or your tax liability.”

Moreover, cannabis businesses are often unable to open a traditional line of credit, limiting a common, early-stage option for additional growth financing. That means bootstrapping or raising money from friends, families and angel investors is often the most common way young companies gain a foothold.

Luckily, the industry has developed some workarounds in the meantime. Angel investors willing to take the risk provide a lot of startup and growth capital, and several startup accelerators and incubators have burst onto the scene to help their cohorts get to the next level.

Venture capital firms tend to play it closer to the vest but are also intently watching the industry and making some preliminary investments. Still, the industry is holding its collective breath in hopes that the federal prohibition will soon be lifted, opening access to traditional banking and improving cannabis’s already immense growth prospects.

David Goldstein, CEO and co-founder of medical cannabis software company PotBotics, told Business.com it’s important for a startup to allocate resources effectively, regardless of whether conventional banking becomes available soon or not. He also advised newcomers to bring in people with professional expertise elsewhere that can apply their knowledge to the cannabis industry.

“What we see is that it’s been tough to get institutional investment. Wealthy individuals that are passionate either because they went through chemo and cannabis helped or because they see the growth potential; those are the two types of investors we see,” Goldstein said. “I think institutional money is coming … but it’s important for a startup to run lean but at same time bring in people who maybe worked in other industries … so they can add their expertise to bring this out of [the] black market into white collar.”

Resources for aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs

Are you ready to get your career in cannabis off the ground? Here are some additional resources you should consider consulting as you plan your next move.

Adjacent Capital – A venture capital firm working exclusively in the cannabis space, across several sectors within the industry, Adjacent Capital is a potential source of financing for cannabis entrepreneurs looking for growth capital. http://www.adjacentcapital.com/

Arcview Group – Serving as both a network of angel investors and a research organization, The Arcview Group has established itself as a mainstay in the cannabis industry. Whether you’re looking for funding opportunities or quality market research, The Arcview Group is a reliable source. https://arcviewgroup.com/

Canna Advisors – Canna Advisors is run by Diane and Jay Czarkowski, former owners of a vertically integrated medical cannabis dispensary. Canna Advisors specializes in consulting and licensing across several states. http://thinkcanna.com/

DispensaryPermits.com – Run by Gullickson, a seven-year veteran in the industry, DispensaryPermits.com offers experienced guidance through the licensing process for cannabis dispensaries. DispensaryPermits.com also maintains business planning tools, pro forma tools and other resources to guide your planning. http://dispensarypermits.com/

iAnthus Capital Management – An investment firm that raises money as a publicly traded entity on the Canadian markets and directs funding toward U.S.-based cannabis companies, iAnthus Capital represents a creative solution to the dearth in conventional financing available to the legal American cannabis industry. http://www.ianthuscapital.com/


Source: https://www.business.com/articles/legal-cannabis-industry-startup-business-guide/

Trump Can’t Reverse Marijuana Legislation

Jesse Ventura is a jack of all trades. 

He started his career as a U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Expert. He eventually became a professional wrestler, actor, author, television host and political commentator. He debuted his political career by running for governor.

As the 38th Governor of Minnesota (from 1999 – 2003) he accomplished several achievements including overseeing Minnesota’s property tax reforms. After his stint as governor, Jesse decided to fight for the legalization of cannabis.

Ventura recently gave a keynote speech at the Cannabis World Congress Business Expo in New York City (CWCBExpo). It is the preeminent trade show for the cannabis industry. Cannabis connoisseurs of all fields joined the party; from marijuana and hemp farmers, to cannabis activists and thousands of like-minded individuals. He said the experience was truly refreshing.

Individuals in the legal cannabis industry form a united front. 

Jesse Ventura learned how the united front was working to get the federal government to accept the marijuana industry. “When it comes to economics, let me put the state of marijuana to you in this way: If Trump reverses state law, he’ll be crippling if not bankrupting the states that have legalized marijuana,” Jesse said. According to Jesse, over half of the states have now legalized marijuana (medical, recreational, or both).

As a result, the states are receiving millions of dollars in tax revenue. If Trump reverses state law regarding cannabis, then there will be a country-wide budget crisis. When all the revenue sources are outlawed, where will the money come from?

Jesse explained why reversing marijuana legislation will change the nation.

Jesse gave a great analogy using the auto industry bail-out. He said that about $80 billion of tax payer money was used to bail-out the auto industry. The auto industry gets to pay back their debt over time.

There is not going to be a bail-out when marijuana legislation becomes reversed. It’s like saying that a multi-billion dollar industry will vanish over-night. The domino-like fallout would cause hundreds of thousands of Americans to become unemployed. The resulting economic chaos includes millions of dollars in unpaid mortgages, bankruptcies and tax shortfalls in every state in the Union .

According to a report by New Frontier Data, the marijuana industry is on-track to create a quarter of a million jobs by 2020. The marijuana industry was worth $7.2 billion in 2016 and is compounding at a rate of 17 percent annually. Medical marijuana sales will grow from $4.7 billion to $13.3 billion by 2020. Recreation sales are also booming from $2.6 billion in 2016 to $11.2 billion by 2020.

There is real danger for the financial health of the country.

Jesse reiterates again, “If Trump reverses state law, he’ll be crippling if not bankrupting the states that have legalized marijuana. This action go against the will of the people who voted for legalized marijuana. The action will cause yet another economic collapse.” It’s hard to argue with Jesse’s facts and reasoning.

Colorado currently has a $1.3 billion thriving cannabis industry. And that industry is paying for their student’s scholarships, police stations, libraries, new streets and bridge repair. When the money stops flowing with no replacement, how is Colorado supposed to recover from the loss.

California will earn $1 billion in cannabis tax revenue by 2018. In California, they expect to bring back American farms by growing hemp fields in rural areas that are struggling for a chance to thrive. But reversing marijuana legislation would crush the hopes of reviving American agriculture.

The cannabis industry is an American workforce comprised of American entrepreneurs, employees, and customers. And it’s not practical to expect business owners to outsource labor, production or processing to other countries. So businesses have to find a work-around.

Cannabis business owners will always find a way to thrive.

Due to federal law, American cannabis owners are expected to stay up-to-date on all cannabis related laws and regulations. And cannabis business owners struggle to keep up with the new marijuana legislation while trying to run a business. And they can’t even get a bank loan or find a safe space to store their money.

The community will find a way to succeed, even though marijuana legislation seem to be working against them. If the worst-case scenario happens, Jesse says that American cannabis business owners will go Canada and set up shop there.

Many marijuana refugees could go to Puerto Rico because the IRS Tax Code 280E does not apply. Mexico just legalized medical marijuana, so we can expect many owners to set up shop there too. Cannabis isn’t going to disappear, it’ll just get relocated along with its billions.

Jesse says, “The president doesn’t have the power to overturn votes”.

At the CWCBExpo, Jesse pled with cannabis business owners to not maximize profits to secure a golden parachute when things go south. Jesse said, “That’s not the united front the American cannabis industry is after.” The united front he talks about at the CWCBExpo are thoughtful business owners who’ve seen cannabis legislation change over time. They are also doing all that they can to work with lawmakers and educate citizens to continue that trend.

Jesse says that the cannabis industry is about innovation as much as it is about fighting against oppression. When the American people vote to legalize something, it should become legalized. The government doesn’t have the right to overturn that vote. American industry is about creating a better place for everyone and for future generations to come.

Ventura tried to add an air of calm to the storm that surrounds American government today. Tax money makes a great difference in the communities that generate it. Taxes should go toward schools, roads and libraries and cannabis taxes actually do.

American business owners should not be worried that Trump or any president will revert business regulations. It takes more than sitting at a tiny desk and signing a piece of paper. And it takes effort to erase the best thing going for America right now. But that doesn’t mean he won’t try. Unfortunately, Jesse Ventura doesn’t believe he can succeed.


Source: http://weedreader.com/trump-cant-reverse-marijuana-legislation/

Woman-Owned Consulting Agency Outpaces Medical Marijuana Competition With Pennsylvania Dispensary License Wins

Dispensary Permits extended its successful track record to eleven states with two Pennsylvania license wins out of 27 permits issued.

PHILADELPHIAJune 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Dispensary Permits, a national marijuana consulting agency, announced two dispensary license wins in Pennsylvania extending its license acquisition success to eleven states.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health received more than 500 application packages for 27 dispensary permits and 12 grower permits.

“Though the Pennsylvania program has drawn some criticism it has moved quickly and has been pro-active for its patient community. I am thrilled to have been a part of the process. These application wins start a whole new phase of business,” stated Founder and CEO Sara Gullickson.

Established in 2010, Dispensary Permits is one of the longest standing firms in the industry offering seed to sale services with hands on support to medical marijuana entrepreneurs.

At the forefront of one of the fastest growing industries in the nation, Gullickson’s extensive licensing experience has given other entrepreneurs a competitive edge. She helps clients identify their unique core competencies and package them in a manner that resonates with their community.

“Everyone has their own personal roadmap to success and I am here to assist the next generation of cannabis entrepreneurs execute their plans and achieve their goals with style and grace,” explained Gullickson.

Market research group ArcView is already estimating that Pennsylvania will represent 9.2% of the nation’s $22 billion cannabis market.

For more information or to set up an appointment with Dispensary Permits please visit DispensaryPermits.com or call 602-621-0648.

About DispensaryPermits.com
DispensaryPermits.com offers seed to sale consulting services with hands on support to medical marijuana entrepreneurs. For those looking to break into the industry or those who have previous experience with owning or operating a dispensary, cultivation, manufacturing or testing facility, DispensaryPermits.com can create custom crafted solutions to provide support and guidance for both novice and expert medical marijuana entrepreneurs.

As one of the longest standing medical marijuana consulting firms, DispensaryPermits.com has developed strategies to guide clients through state regulated medical marijuana application processes.

For more information or to set up an appointment with Dispensary Permits please visit DispensaryPermits.com, email info@dispensarypermits.com, or call 602-621-0648.

Media Contact: Sara Gullickson, Dispensary Permits, 612-965-4980, sara@dispensarypermits.com

News distributed by PR Newswire iReach: https://ireach.prnewswire.com


Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/prnewswire/press_releases/2017/06/30/MN30659

Arkansas Offers Broad Medical Program and Healthy Window for Applicants

Over the past few months, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission (AMMC) has held weekly meetings to finalize application processes, inviting community members and industry leaders to share their opinions.

What has unfolded is a broad, patient-focused program thoughtfully designed with the state economy in mind.

I may be one of the few people in the industry excited about Arkansas, but I believe the state is going to be an important addition to the legal cannabis market.

Here are the highlights:


  • Arkansas will provide reciprocity allowing access to patients from other states. This is a huge boost to the current state population.
  • Arkansas will allow for flower (Pennsylvania, New York, and Minnesota medical programs does not).

Application Details

    • The application will be graded on a merit-based system.
    • Applications will be “de-identified”. Commissioners will not know the city in which the dispensary/cultivation facility is located, though they may or may not see the zip code/county.
    • The commissioners have agreed to a 20-page limit, and have agreed to read all 20 pages, but may not commit to reading the addenda (supporting documentation).
    • Bonus points will be awarded as a check mark – applicants awarded all points or none.
    • Ability to operate a Dispensary or Cultivation Facility is weighted at 50% of the application.
  • Pharmacist Consultant required by law for dispensaries. 
    • Dispensaries that plan on cultivating will have a more in-depth application process to cover both Dispensary and Cultivation Facilities.

Program Timeline

  • July 1: Arkansas application published and the first day that applications will be accepted (this date is subject to change).
  • September 18: The 90-day application window closes, last day applications will be accepted.

Next Steps for Applicants

The Arkansas application process will be vigorous and competitive, especially for dispensary applicants who plan on cultivating. Stakeholders should hire a cannabis consultant with the expertise to strategize and navigate license complexities.

When meeting new clients, I always start with a few questions to get a better understanding of their industry interest and budget. For current licensees, DispensaryPermits.com is offering special packages to help businesses strategize and scale nationally.

As a consultant, I know licensing can be overwhelming, but we are here to help and make the process less stressful while setting individuals up for success.

To learn more, read Sara’s previous article on Arkansas:  Here


Source: https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/arkansas-offers-broad-medical-program-healthy-window-applicants/

Program Encourages Women to Get Involved in Marijuana Production

It’s one of the fastest growing industries in the nation, legal and medical marijuana. According to one report sales of weed are on track to top $3 billion nationwide this year. Now there is a seminar teaching women how to break into the industry.

It’s an industry that is dominated by men and continues to expand. Four states and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana so far, and half the country allows medical marijuana.

Many budding entrepreneurs think now is the time to nab a piece of the pot pie, they’ve started a program to get more women started in the business.

“I’ve met people that are basically doing every kind of business, it’s just gearing that business toward marijuana,” said Lisa Francine Carter.

Lisa Francine is one of about 100 attendees at the Women Grow Networking event. She’s at the event to learn more about the cannabis industry, in which men account for 85% of the power players.

“Women account for 80% of household purchases, and 85% of healthcare decisions, so Women Grow felt like the feminine touch was left out of the industry a bit,” said Sara Gullickson.

The events provide both men and women with connections in the industry.

“It’s a safe place for people involved in the industry to go and share ideas about the cannabis industry,” said Gullickson.

Right now there are only 126 facilities in Arizona that cultivate and sell medical marijuana.

“Here there’s like a huge opportunity for growth because it’s a small amount of dispensaries covering a large population,” said Carter.

The trajectory for the cannabis industry is on the upswing, and many are seeing green, hoping to capitalize on the industry which is in its infancy in Arizona.

“There’s no doubt this business is going to keep booming and why not get in while it’s a small group of people,” she said.


Source: http://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/us-world-news/2673530-story

CWCB Expo In New York Was A Huge Success

The Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo took place this last week in New York, and by every measure it was a smashing success. The first Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo (CWCB Expo) took place four years ago, and so much has changed since that time. With so many different cannabis events popping up seemingly every week, the CWCB Expo stands out over the cannabis event white noise.

Keynoting the event was New York Senator Diane Savino, who has been an advocate for cannabis reform in New York for awhile now, and sponsored the legislation that legalized medical cannabis in New York. Senator Savino spent time preaching the merits of medical cannabis at the event alongside retired NFL player Marvin Washington, who also spoke at the event. The duo made headlines and did a lot to help educate event participants.

Reverend Al Sharpton also delivered a keynote address at the CWCB Expo, and had the soundbite of the event. “”We will not allow our people to be locked UP from the drug war AND locked OUT of the industry.” said Al Sharpton. Al Sharpton has made comments about opposing cannabis in the past, citing his upbringing in the church, but he has recognized that cannabis prohibition has a disproportionate impact on the African American community, and that it is time for a change. Al Sharpton’s message at the event was that there needs to be more diversity in the cannabis industry, which is something that I absolutely agree with.

Arguably the biggest news to come out of the event was the announcement of a new organization by another keynote speaker, political strategist Roger Stone. The organization is called the United States Cannabis Coalition. The main goal of the organization appears to be to convince United States President Donald Trump to end federal cannabis prohibition. More details were not revealed at the event, but at least one other keynote speaker at the event, former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, felt that the organization was on the right track enough that he expressed his support for the organization and planned to join it. With Roger Stone being a close ally of Donald Trump, it will be extremely interesting to see where things go.

I had several friends attend the event, and every single one of them said that it was awesome and that they plan on attending the CWCB Expo’s upcoming events in Los Angeles (September 13-15) and Boston (October 4-6). As the events draw closer expect me to blog more about who the keynote speakers will be, and other info about the event. The CWCB Expo has a proven track record of bringing out quality speakers and providing amazing education to the crowd in attendance, so I am eager to see who will be speaking at the next two events.


Source: https://www.weednews.co/cwcb-expo-in-new-york-was-a-huge-success-onward-to-l-a-and-boston/

Women Grow live at MJBizCon with Dispensary Permits

Watch Leah Heise, the CEO of  Women Grow Interview Sara Gullickson with Dispensary Permits on How to Start a Medical Marijuana Business, Apply for a Permit, and How to Get Involved in the Industry.

Watch here:

Women Grow live at MJBizCon with Dispensary Permits.

Posted by Women Grow on Thursday, November 17, 2016

Scottsdale Medical Marijuana Certification Setting Up Alternative Medicine Fair

 – A Scottsdale Medical Marijuana Certification Center is setting up for a fair this weekend to spread the word about alternative medicine.

“Green Star Doctors” is opening its doors for a free event called “Indica-Life” on Saturday. It is an effort to share alternative healing methods with patients.

The center will have Chiropractors and holistic medicine practitioners, along with artwork, speakers, and livemusic from the Phoenix Afro-Beat Orchestra. No marijuana or alcohol will be at the event.

“I have a lot of different patients that are in pain, and I notice they could use healing methods that maybe they’re not aware of,” said Liz Valentine with Green Star Doctors. “I know how much they need just more options. Something that less invasive. No pills, no surgery, no shots.”

The event happens at Green Star Doctors, south of Scottsdale and Thomas, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and it is open to all ages.


Source: http://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/arizona-news/251579427-story

Marijuana public hearing brings out-of-state concerns

Sara Gullickson is a marijuana regulatory and industry consultant in Arizona.



Sara Gullickson flew in from Arizona to voice her concerns at the Medical Marijuana Commission’s first public hearing today in Little Rock.

“I really, really strongly urge Arkansas to consider for the dispensaries running a merit based program instead of a lottery based program. Lottery based programs definitely breed litigation, program delays, and really don’t set the state up for success.”

This public hearing, more than the commission meetings to date inside the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division conference room on the 5th floor of 1515 W. 7th St., revealed the diversity of business interests in the nascent enterprise. Nic Easley, a partner at Comprehensive Cannabis Consulting, flew in from Denver to urge the commission to consider pesticide regulation — and a range of other matters that may have seemedfar afield to many in the audience.

Nic Easley of 3C consulting in Denver warns the commission to consider pesticide use thresholds.


The five medical marijuana commissioners sat inside the lecture hall at the Bowen School of Law in Little Rock and said nothing. This was strictly an opportunity for the public to voice its concerns and suggestions, and about 200 showed up. Many were lawyers. Some, like Arkansans Melissa Fults, Gene Remley and Storm Nolan, have had their eyes on the prize for a while.

Dozens of emails have already come into the commission and the Department of Finance and Administration that largely coordinates its efforts. Many, like Gullickson, abjure the commission’s decision to pick the 32 dispensary licenses by lottery (an application process that includes background checks, a four-figure fee and appropriate paperwork precede entry into the lottery).

“I’ve been in the industry for seven years,” Gullickson said after, “and I’ve seen a lot of programs that weren’t set up for success, so the entrepreneurs sitting in that room deserve the fair chance of putting their best foot forward, and for the state to pick the best candidates. In any other business venture you can pick, it would never go to a lottery.”

Other concerns from the public hearing ranged from how far marijuana farms must be set back from schools or other public buildings, to how tall before considering plants “mature” to how to even obtain the seeds legally. In light of these concerns, Alisha Whitmore’s query seemed far ranging, even sociological.

“Will the commission consider awarding merit points for minority owned cultivation centers with the goal of trying to increase job availability in the minority areas?” she asked.

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration lawyer Joel DiPippa (foreground) and marijuana amendment author David Couch (background, blue-checked shirt).


African Americans suffer a higher percentage of the qualifying conditions than do other races, she pointed out.

And, “this will help with the economic stimulus.”

According to the commission’s own timeline, a finalized version of the commission’s rules and regulations for medical marijuana licensing is expected in May.

This story is produced by Arkansas Public Media. What’s that? APM is a nonprofit journalism project for all of Arkansas and a collaboration among public media in the state. We’re funded in part through a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with the support of partner stations KUAR, KUAF, KASU and KTXK. And, we hope, from you! You can learn more and support Arkansas Public Media’s reporting at arkansaspublicmedia.org. Arkansas Public Media is Natural State news with context.


Source: http://arkansaspublicmedia.org/post/marijuana-public-hearing-brings-out-state-concerns

The Future of the Marijuana Industry

Ask The Thought Leaders: Where Will the Marijuana Industry be in 2030?

The future of marijuana is a heated topic.

Those who are pro-marijuana, highlight things like the medical benefits and potential government tax revenue while those who are against it highlight the potential  risks for children and the potential to lead them into more serious drugs.

While the debates go on, we wanted to find out where the industry was headed. So we asked the question:

Where will the weed industry be in 2030?

Take a look at what we learned…

Jake Browne, Cannabis Critic for The Denver Post & Founder of The Grow-Off

“By 2030, smokeable marijuana will be a novelty as scientists will have created special blends of cannabinoids like THC and CBD, along with the associated terpenes that give cannabis its flavor, that precisely mimic the flower. You want Sour Diesel? There’s a vape pen for that. Not only will these synthetic strains be custom made to treat individual disorders, but they’ll also continue to create certain moods in users, not unlike Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Instead of a glass of wine after work, someone might take a couple puffs of Relax before making dinner. The social aspect of gathering with friends to share a joint will be gone, with a more individual experience becoming the norm.”

Sara Gullickson,Founder & CEO of Dispensary Permits

“If the industry continues to grow like weeds, we will see marijuana removed as a schedule 1 drug which will ignite a major shift in Marijuana’s social and cultural narrative. The reference to WEED will be forgotten and it will instead be referred to as cannabis and given the clout (not street cred) it deserves. Once the Federal Government accepts marijuana, we will see opiate deaths reduce substantially. Marijuana will evolve into an Exit Drug, not a Gateway drug, and will be wildly accepted for its medicinal and wellness properties. It will become a standard household item, and not just another highly profitable tax generator. Most importantly, we, collectively, as industry activists, business professionals, politicians, patients, responsible humans, will take the stigma out of a plant that has been used for hundreds of years and has helped millions of people with dozens of medical conditions and/or ailments.”

Craig McLane, Owner of Vaped.com

“The most significant change in the weed industry in 2030 is that it will be legal in all of North America and Europe. The greater public acceptance of cannabis will heighten the current trend of consuming concentrates in preference to flower. As the legal landscape changes big business will become far more involved and inevitably dominate most growing, processing, distribution channels for the weed industry. This will have the benefit of lowering consumer prices and improving the quality of the final product through increased regulation. The big business dominance will drastically alter the community aspects of the current cannabis culture and as a result the anti establishment segment of the community will deepen. This will result in a small but strong home grower segment which will continue to push for personal freedoms related to cannabis.”

Alex Milligan, Co-founder and CMO at Nugg & NuggMD

“The cannabis industry in 2030 is going to look dramatically different than today. At Nugg, we predict: 

  1. Cannabis will be commoditized — mass production will have caused prices to decrease, large brands will be in perfect competition; a dedicated niche for specialty, artisan brands will flourish.
  2. National legalization and an acute distinction between recreational and medical marijuana; scientific research will have proven widespread medical benefits of cannabis. 
  3. Cannabis mega-brands will exist on a global scale, as U.S. legalization will encourage other countries to follow suit. 
  4. Hyper-personalized administration — AI, machine learning, and bio-sensors will come together to customize one’s medical cannabis regimen for maximum physiological benefit.
  5. Robotics and ag-tech will revolutionize how cannabis is grown & distributed, achieving economies of scale at rapid pace.
  6. Robotics (drones, automated delivery fleets) will cause home-delivery to be the primary method by which consumers acquire cannabis.”

Niki Romo, Creative Director for KronicSites

“As we continue to see the legalization of Marijuana grow in each state, there is no doubt that entrepreneurs, investors and venture capitalists are eager to break into the Cannabis industry and start new businesses. However, traditional marketing and advertising will still remain one of the biggest challenges for start-ups. So, I predict B2C companies like dispensaries and delivery services, are going to attract customers and increase revenue through mobile apps. 

Approximately, 90% of push notifications and SMS messages are read within the first 3 mins which is significantly higher than emails which could take up to 7 hours to be read. Not to mention, businesses who want to offer loyalty programs can also do so through an app. Plus, since mobile users tend to never lose their phone it’s a more reliable way to retain customers, build new relationships and directly communicate with consumers.”

Jake Heimark, CEO at Plus

“Over the next 15 years, the cannabis industry will split between medical and recreational. There will be a small number of cannabis derived medicines that have passed FDA drug trials by large pharmaceutical companies. There will also be a large number of recreational companies selling cannabis and cannabis derivatives in a highly regulated environment (similar to alcohol distribution). Major pharmaceutical companies will have interests in the medical offerings. Major food, tobacco and alcohol producers will have interests in the recreational market. Most of the market by volume will be recreational, but there will be very high margins on the medical side of the market. Hopefully, there will be quality, large, institution led research backing the current medical claims of cannabis (it appears to help with seizures and some forms of cancer). Hopefully, there will be clear federal regulations prohibiting the recreational from making pseudomedical and nutraceutical claims without drug trials.”

Jay Currie, Author of Start & Run a Marijuana Dispensary or Pot Shop

“By 2030 the legal marijuana industry will have gone from a novelty to a mature agricultural and retail business. I expect the production side will be dominated by a few very large, multi-jurisdictional, factory growers producing marijuana on an industrial scale – think Budwiser or Coors. There will be room for more artisanal growers but the bulk of the industry will be on a very large scale. 

On the retail side traditional retail outlets – Walmart, Costco, 7-11 – will likely sell pre-packaged marijuana in smokable and edible forms. Again, this is where the bulk of retail sales will occur. Boutique retailers and local chains of pot stores will compete for specific sectors of the business. 

The price of ordinary marijuana will fall steadily as greater efficiencies are achieved in growing and distribution. Tax and banking law will be changed to reflect the reality of legal marijuana.” 

Source: http://www.futureofeverything.io/2017/03/03/ask-thought-leaders-will-marijuana-industry-2030/