#1. Experience, Experience, & Experience
When choosing a cannabis consultant, it’s important to consider specific knowledge as to the laws in your particular state, the intricacies of processes, application logistics, and knowledge cultivation practices – these are not skills obtained overnight. Having an experienced consultant guiding the pieces of the puzzle is key to peace of mind and achieving the desired results.
For Sara, a majority of her career has been spent intrinsically involved in the medical and recreational marijuana business, giving her heart to the wellness of patients, and those seeking to aid them. During this time, states have continuously made laws harsher, and thus, the process of securing permits a bigger headache. Sara’s number one goal for her clients is to be the go-to resource, already equipped with connections and knowledge to obtain a cannabis permit correctly. Throughout the U.S., Sara has facilitated permits through ten states and given clients her all to set them up for success.
When choosing a medical cannabis consultant, look at your legislation and make sure that your consultant has experience in that unique state’s processes. For example, the cultivation and dispensing in California is radically different than competing in a strict state medical cannabis process. Keep in mind that experience, credibility and a proven track record of success speak volumes in this field.
#2. Make sure your dispensary or cultivation business model vision is similar
A shared vision is key to executing a thriving dispensary or cultivation facility. In the vastly growing marijuana industry, segmentation of industry and consultant business has allowed for a diverse range of representation and thus has put a premium on knowledge. Within this industry, consultants exist marketing themselves as a one-stop-shop, despite lacking fundamental understanding and experience. There are also a plethora of legal consultants with no knowledge as to the distinct local marketing in your area or specific cultivation techniques. The best bet in achieving uniform success is hiring someone with well-rounded experience in both marketing and the cannabis industry.
Passion is the key component to success in this field particularly, and Sara has a vision-driven passion that holistically aligns with wellness. Her distinct vision of developing equally health, wellness, and medically driven practices don’t align with the more common “pot shop” or “get rich schemes.” Her vision comes from her inspired background and has been solidified by the direct experience Sara has procured working day and night with clients. She knows this process is not a simple one, and through that shared passion with her clients, comes shared success.
#3. Ensure your consultant believes in local roots
States are increasingly rewarding those with industry experience setting up medical marijuana programs, due to their knowledge assuring that these cultivations/establishments will effectively proliferate. In order to execute these programs in a manageable time frame, it is essential that you meet with a cannabis consultant. Ask them questions as to their experience in the city you aim to cultivate or secure your permit in. Inquire as to their background, their understanding of competition in the market, their connections and their grasp on the political landscape. These are all essential elements to procuring a permit, and missing any of these crucial elements will undoubtedly shorthand your business.
The ability to obtain permits for clients throughout the U.S. has given Sara specific knowledge to the particular laws of each State. Her career in the cannabis industry began in Arizona, which she has called home for ten years. Knowing the local landscape, and having industry experience has enabled Sara to offer a range of consulting services rarely found and highly sought after. As additional markets come online, Sara continues to tap into those markets by connecting locally with the industries. By obtaining local connections, and tapping directly into local communities, it is easier to align oneself with a State’s goals and community and thus ensures clients are not seen as merely business owners, but rather, as wellness-focused partners.
#4. Make sure your consultant is fair, reasonable and morally sound
It is becoming increasingly more popular for consultants to ask for partial ownership or equity in businesses they help. You must be careful before signing on the dotted line with consultants asking for equity. For starters, having ownership stakes in multiple businesses within a finite market can create a conflict of interest for a consultant. Secondly, the ownership stakes could violate local laws on ownership. Finally, the traditional payment for services model keeps a consultant from tampering with areas of a business that they may not understand.
#5. Ensure you have an exclusive arrangement
In states that have just recently come online, often times the local government restricts the number of business licenses. In these markets, business owners should ask their consultant whether he or she has relationships with other licensed businesses – or with those that are seeking licenses in your city. Again, a consultant with relationships in a finite market can quickly develop conflicts of interest with these businesses. They can also spread themselves too thin.
#6. Make sure they have post permit support
As new states come online with updated cannabis laws, consultants from existing markets look to them for new business. This is not a bad thing; consultants who have navigated laws in California and Colorado can also accomplish this elsewhere. But since the consultant/client relationship can have a tremendous impact on the overall health of the business, it’s often best to side with a client who is able to meet in person.
This should not be a deal-breaker if you’re dealing with veteran consultants who are based in other states; many have opened satellite offices in states that have recently come online, but in general, a consultant should be willing to invest face time with his clients.
Passion and drive are key components in the cannabis industry, without which most will not find success. Having a strategic cannabis consultant that understands first hand that blood, sweat, and tears go into every single step of the process is integral. Sara has the drive, the passion, and has a highly-sought after knowledge of local markets. Her experience as a cannabis consultant and educator, combined with her background in creatively driven marketing campaigns, has helped to spread a vision of wellness throughout the medical marijuana industry.