As an up-and-coming cannabis entrepreneur, I often wonder: Will the local government support me until cannabis is rescheduled at the federal level? How much money will I actually make? Is this the right industry to get involved with?
Questions like these are commonly discussed among my fellow cannabis entrepreneurs who are people just like me, asking themselves about entering the newly regulated industry. From the outside looking in, my decision for better days seems easy, but as we all know change rarely is. Nevertheless, I’m certain it’s for the better.
Why is it better?
A regulated cannabis market will provide a venue for entrepreneurs to grow their brand as large as they like, L – iterally. The sky’s the limit with a regulated industry. Loans are more easily accessible, credible business investment opportunities exist, and several alternatives will support you to scale your business model and reach the top of the industry.
Learning from innovators of a similar industry, (i.e. alcohol entrepreneurs) business owners can actualize their full potential. The end of alcohol prohibition allowed several companies to emerge as international, billion dollar brands and become household names. With regulation, the cannabis industry can do the same and create lifestyle brands that positively represent the plant and eliminate the stigma that was commonly associated with it.
Learning from cannabis entrepreneurs
One great example of someone who has positively helped the cannabis community is Big Mike, owner of Advanced Nutrients. Big Mike is a 6’7’’ lively personality. He loves to share his story with fellow entrepreneurs and throw some of the industries biggest parties. As he writes on his blog, he had been a member of the unregulated market for years.
After fighting countless legal battles and many headaches, it dawned on him: He saw significantly more opportunity in a legally regulated market and decided to cross over. He learned that challenging the government was an endless battle that restricted him and kept him from achieving his social goals.
When we spoke to Big Mike, he mentioned his transition was at first challenging, but once he saw the light at the end of the tunnel it was extremely rewarding. Over the past decade he has helped become a role model for the thousands of cannabis entrepreneurs going through the same struggles.
One of the most important steps Big Mike advises is to take 100 percent responsibility for your successes and failures from here on out.
Big Mike understands: Nobody’s perfect. Mistakes are made, and everybody grows from experience. What separates the successful entrepreneur’s success stories from their failing peers is that, successful entrepreneurs learn from their failures. No road to success is easy, but reflecting on past mistakes makes this journey easier. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the epitome of entrepreneurship, openly embraced his failures and openly attributed them as reasons for his success.
If you are an entrepreneur making the transition, here are some of the necessary steps to move from an unregulated to the regulated industry. This means abiding by their state government’s industry framework. This framework declares what exactly is required to operate in the newly regulated cannabis market. For those seeking answers on how to navigate this transition, we met with Chris Hoo at Evergreen Law who explained how cannabis entrepreneurs can prepare to cross over:
“Right now, they should be operating as much in compliance with the known (proposed, local) regulations as possible…having demonstrable history of compliance can [significantly] help when applying for an actual license. Sometimes, it can even get your application pushed to the top of the pile for priority review.”
Taking these initial steps can make all the difference, especially when obtaining a local license, where wait times can take up to a whole year. When I asked for more advice and specific actions, Hoo shared:
“Things like identifying water sources and requiring a certain percentage of your power be from renewable energy are new requirements that are expensive and burdensome. From the state’s perspective, they’re also the most important, and they enforce them with hefty fines for non-compliance.”
Preparing for the future is key to achieving your long term goals and making a difference. The recommendations above will allow you to get ahead of your competition and make your life a lot less stressful. Consequences will be paid for those who do not abide by state laws just like in any other industry.
Cannabis professionals must not be tentative about what will happen if they enter the regulated market. My advice: Stop worrying on what can go wrong, and start capitalizing on what will go right.
Professionals need to overcome this needless fear and trust in the system that state representatives have provided, a system which supports them with a solid framework for success. Others are here to help, others have made the switch, and other entrepreneurs are here to stay.
The future is now. Welcome to the regulated market!