If you are an advocate for legalizing marijuana, you’re aware of and support its countless benefits. What once was a questionable practice is now becoming commonplace. Not only does legal marijuana mean advancements in the medical field, but it also expands the job market exponentially. Are you looking to break into the marijuana industry but are not sure how or where to start? You can read more tips on that subject there. But for now, check out 10 things you should know about the industry as a whole.
- The Perception of Marijuana Has Changed for the Better
Although there’s still some negative stigma surrounding the sale of cannabis, positive perception about it is on the rise. This means that marijuana is becoming more widely accepted as a legal, beneficial drug. In fact, some people don’t even view it as a “drug” anymore but instead, a natural resource that offers benefits for conditions like anxiety and depression, cancer, and insomnia, just to name a few. Recreational use is also more widely accepted as cannabis is viewed similarly to alcohol. Marijuana is now more socially acceptable than ever when used in moderation by responsible adults. So if you’re looking to make a name for yourself in the cannabis industry, now is the time.
- Legal or Not: Doing Business Can Get Complicated
Just because more and more people have access to legal marijuana (with 30 of the 50 states legalizing its use for medical reasons and another 12 okay-ing recreational marijuana use), it does not mean that running a cannabis business is not without pitfalls. One of the biggest difficulties many marijuana sellers face is properly handling their money and business accounts. That’s because, under federal law, marijuana is still considered an illegal substance and most legal cannabis businesses are cash only. Credit card companies, like banks, rarely want to get involved with this type of business. With cash-only transactions, your business may be subject to robbery and complications come tax time. But it is not all bad news. Because of these caveats, cannabis entrepreneurs are forced to get creative with their finances and consider alternative banking options. Which means an opportunity for advanced thinking.
- Understand the Different Types of Cannabis
Before you can consider selling cannabis, you must first understand exactly what it is and what it is not. Cannabis is a term that’s used loosely to describe a broad range of different products, more specifically, hemp and marijuana. Both of these products are often under the category “cannabis” when in fact, they simply stem from the cannabis plant. So, what’s the major difference? Hemp’s active ingredients are known as cannabinoids and include CBD and CBN. Hemp contains very low levels of THC. Marijuana, on the other hand, contains a high concentration of THC, which is the ingredient that provides the “high” that most people associate with marijuana. This means that in order for a product to be labeled as hemp, it must contain a low, predetermined level of THC. Because of these regulations, hemp is somewhat easier to grow and more widely accepted.
- Financial Possibilities
The cannabis industry is no different than any other business opportunity to a savvy entrepreneur. It is a market where there’s money to be made. But for those naysayers, it is important to understand the many financial benefits and possibilities that accompany legal marijuana distribution. The marijuana industry is predicted to reach multi-billion dollar status in the next decade. If and when marijuana is legalized across the country, it will open up opportunities for international trade. Job creation has always been one of the country’s greatest economic struggles but the legal cannabis industry has reportedly created hundreds of thousands of jobs. And these numbers are only predicted to rise, positively impacting the world’s economy.
- Tax Revenue
Another added bonus of the economic spike surrounding the cannabis industry is the increase in tax revenue that states can collect. The proceeds from the sale of legal marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington have created substantial tax revenues ranging from $800,000 to nearly $60 million. This is money that is used to directly benefit those states and their local school systems, roads, and other community organizations and needs. One might say that the cannabis industry is a gift that just keeps giving.
- There are Multiple Job Possibilities
In terms of becoming employed in the marijuana industry, the job possibilities don’t end with “grower” or “seller”. Like any other market, there are many cogs in the machine that keep a cannabis business running smoothly. These include content creators and web designers of cannabis websites. The cannabis industry also has cultivators, marketers, lab technicians, and distribution clerks. Do not be fooled into thinking that cannabis companies are run by a group of millennial “potheads”. The marijuana business is run much like any other business. There are accountants, receptionists, software developers, IT directors, and sales reps, just to name a few.
- Understand That You are a Professional
With that being said, if you want respect and want to be taken seriously in the cannabis industry, you must carry yourself as such. There are already plenty of skepticism and negativity surrounding the legalization and distribution of marijuana for both medical and recreational use. There is no need to give the cynics even more ammunition. Don’t fall into that “stoner” stereotype. Disprove these beliefs and carry yourself in a professional manner. One of the best tools against critics is knowledge. Become an informed and efficient business person. This will help you gain the respect you need to succeed.
- Competition is Fierce
Because the marijuana industry is on the rise and virtually has nowhere to go but up, the competition is fierce. This means that like any other industry, you need to stand out from the rest. What are you doing differently that no one else is? What makes your product better? How are you going to make your mark on the industry? But not all competition should be viewed as a threat. With competition comes innovation. You may even see a dip in product cost, overhead, and a rise in the quality of cannabis as it is cultivated around the world. Another reason for improved quality is that states now regulate legal marijuana, including its purity and safety. This means fewer overdoses (technically, no one can overdose with marijuana) and adverse reactions to unknown substances found in illegal marijuana.
- Learn How to Network
The cannabis industry, while fierce and competitive, is all about networking. Because many cannabis businesses are up and coming, longevity is not common. This means that you must learn as much as you possibly can, then use that knowledge and experience wherever it will take you. Form working relationships and make connections whenever possible. You can also take advantage of countless resources available that help you meet and collaborate with other professionals in the field. For example, the Association of Cannabis Professionals (ACP) offers workshops, updated law information, expert panels, and sneak peeks into up and coming technology. This is invaluable information and the perfect place to network with fellow cannabis entrepreneurs. Other helpful organizations to take part in include The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and Ganjapreneur.
- Stay Up to Date on Changing Trends and Laws
Not only will you gain invaluable connections through networking but it also provides access to the most up to date information in your field, which is vital for success. With any new and evolving business, the cannabis industry is constantly changing and progressing. You need to stay on top of the changing trends, technology, and methods. More importantly, understanding the laws associated with legalized marijuana sale and distribution is imperative. There’s no room for error when it comes to dealing with potentially illegal substances. This means staying compliant at all times.
Just because you’re interested in the cannabis industry does not mean that you have to be a cannabis user yourself. While hands-on experience and knowledge may be helpful, the industry lends itself to countless job opportunities and possibilities. But like any new business venture, you need to educate yourself about how the industry works, the laws associated with it, and who your competition is. These elements are the foundation of a potentially lucrative and successful marijuana business.
About the Author
Kim Taylor is a wife, mother, freelance writer, and lover of all things holistic and natural. When she’s not writing she’s enjoying yoga, meditation, spending time with family, and experiencing nature.