With 2019 just around the corner, the California cannabis regulators have released what they hope will be the new permanent regulations for the State of California. At present, the regulations are awaiting approval from the Office of Administrative Law, which is likely to approve the regulations within the next month. There are some major changes due to a large number of public comments received by the Bureau of Cannabis Control from business owners and consumers alike. The State has lost billions of dollars in potential tax revenue due to poorly managed licensing systems, unclear regulations, and slow bureaucracy. Despite urgent calls for reform, the State still faces a plethora of challenges and hurdles from various entities that will likely further delay the development of the California market. Below are some of the major changes to the State law.
The process of preparing and submitting a cannabis license application is usually quite daunting. It can also be incredibly competitive, to put it mildly. The copious amount of detailed documentation that the licensing body demands within an application, combined with deadlines and dates that always seem to jump around can create a high-stress situation where time becomes your enemy. Being prepared and staying agile is critical to put keep your project on the right path to be awarded a coveted cannabis business license. Applicants must be prepared to hit the ground running when, and sometimes even before their state, city, or country announces the framework and dates for cannabis application submittal. The following information will help guide your pre-application work.
In honor of July 4th, we would like to share a story to celebrate cannabis legalization and freedom in America. On this day 242 years ago, our founding Mothers and Fathers stood up against tyranny and oppression and declared our independence as a sovereign nation. In the days of our forefathers (and foremothers) the plant that we now work so hard to legalize was commonplace. Hemp cultivation began in Jamestown, Virginia in 1616 and its fiber was used to make clothing, sails, and rope. Early American landowners were jailed if they refused to grow hemp as American society knew how important this crop was for their livelihood. Many of our country’s presidents grew the crop as well including George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and the list goes on. Early drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper. Prior to the civil war, cannabis was added to the U.S. Pharmacopeia and was sold over the counter in a variety of medicinal preparations. Cannabis was a common part of American life until prohibition started in 1906 with the introduction of the Pure Food and Drug Act.
To become a successful cannabis business, you will need to hire a team of experts. These experts will provide you with the key ancillary services to help ensure you are prepared and on track for success. It will cost you tens of thousands of dollars, perhaps over $100K, to hire the ancillary experts you will need just to get started.
The cannabis industry is experiencing exponential growth and you’re considering opening up a cannabis dispensary. Before you do anything else, we strongly encourage you to start writing a cannabis dispensary business plan. Having a well written business plan is an essential component for state licensing. It can also help you attract investors and other key members of your management team. Statistics show that entrepreneurs in other industries who have written a business plan are twice as likely to grow their business and secure funding as those with no business plan. Being meticulous about every detail in your business plan will maximize your chances of getting approved for a cannabis business license. You might consider hiring an experienced cannabis consultant to ensure that your business plan is as detailed, concise and well organized as possible. Skipping any steps or presenting potential investors with the first draft of your business plan could potentially be detrimental to the success of your cannabis business.
One of the most important elements to consider in cannabis cultivation is water efficiency. With droughts ravaging California and a host of bureaucratic regulations in just about every state that has legalized marijuana (including California), it is important for cultivators to be well informed on water issues. This includes information about water quality, the quantity being used as well as the source of your water supply.
So you’re considering getting into the cannabis business. To help you with your initial research, we compiled sales data and trends from states reporting the highest recreational cannabis sales in 2017. Note: We included California, as recreational cannabis is now legal (for adult use only) as of January 1, 2018. It’s highly likely that California will become the largest recreational cannabis market in the world in 2018.
Canada began their cannabis legalization journey over 16 years ago when the first medical marijuana laws were passed. Recreational cannabis legalization has been a priority since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took office in 2015. Canadian lawmakers are optimistic that 2018 will mark the beginning of legal recreational cannabis sales in their country. Observing our neighbor to the north as they take this step may influence U.S. lawmakers and citizens to change their perspective on cannabis as well. Recently, a Gallup poll found 64 percent of Americans support legalizing cannabis for medical and recreational use, an increase over just one year ago, when Pew Research found 57 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization. U.S. support of nationwide legalization will continue to grow as it has ever since Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational cannabis. As Canada takes the lead in national legalization U.S. lawmakers, business owners, investors and medical doctors have much to learn from their successes and failures in the years to come.
Advertising cannabis, like advertising other regulated products such as alcohol, comes with its own caveats and rules. As states legalize medical and recreational cannabis, government officials must decide what constitutes safe and accurate advertising. At the top of the list is who cannabis advertising should be marketed to (adults over the age of 21) — and who it shouldn’t be marketed to (children and teens).
The California state legislature accepted the voter initiative Proposition 64 in November of 2016. This initiative, also known as the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, legalized recreational cannabis use for Californians over the age of 21. It also implemented regulations and standards for the state’s commercial cannabis market, and introduced new guidelines for cannabis advertising. Business owners in California must comply with standards set forth by the proposition when advertising and marketing their cannabis business.
Have you ever walked into a dispensary, medical or recreational, only to find that the budtenders are less than educated on their products? Worse, have you ever hired a budtender and found out they were going against company policy or state law in your dispensary? Informed and ethical budtenders are the key to professionalism, repeat customers, and the safety of your cannabis business. Do your best to ensure that your budtenders are doing their jobs and helping to educate your customers on the potential benefits of your cannabis products and the differences between various strains and product types. While you might think that sales and marketing are the keys to running a successful dispensary, your customers will come back time and time again if they feel valued and that your business knowledge is top tier.