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So, You Want to Succeed in the Cannabis Industry?

Surveying the industry landscape and finding your niche are key.

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© Kaleena Lindsay / StockPot Images

Legal cannabis is creating a multi-billion-dollar a year industry that’s just getting off its feet, nurturing a brief time of innovation and opportunities for entrepreneurs. One might even go as far as to say that it’s this generation’s last hope to achieve the American Dream.

If you want the opportunities, it’s all about networking, listening, and learning. Due diligence to these pillars of business is key to seeing the big picture. Next, concentrate on learning your specific skillset, and identify areas of opportunities.

First thing to know is, in well-established legal cannabis states, it’s going to be more difficult for small operators to succeed. So if you’re a budding entrepreneur, you may want to look outside of the Rockies, including states like Colorado and Washington State. In Colorado, larger cannabis companies like Dixie Elixirs and Wana Brand edibles companies already have name recognition and are at the point where they are already expanding their operations. Dixie is investing in automated processes, and Wana Brand is licensing their recipes in Nevada and Oregon.

RELATED ARTICLE: As Pesticide Regulations Loom Over Colorado, Wana Cannabis Infused Edibles Company Expands Manufacturing to Nevada and Oregon

Instead, it may behoove all of you cannabis cooks and the like to check out a newer cannabis market.

While Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, and Washington State businesses gain momentum, there are states – and districts – that are waiting for the taxation and sale of adult-use marijuana. The District of Columbia, for instance, has great potential for cannabis entrepreneurs.

Check out these women in cannabis, Sabria Still and Poncho, who just launched their cannabis industry advising business in the District.

Anyone who spends some time in D.C. can see the scores of talented cannabis connoisseurs and chefs, waiting in the shadows to launch their adult-use cannabis delivery businesses and edible companies. They are waiting on the sidelines because D.C. has medical marijuana and legalized cannabis under Initiative 71, but selling and buying adult-use product remains illegal. This gray area of D.C.’s laws are emboldening some ganjapreneurs, like Kush Gods, Pink Fox, and HighSpeed to push the envelope while the city council battles Congress for control of their own purse strings.

RELATED ARTICLE: Women in Weed Bring Together Wellness and Cannabis in Washington, D.C.

Also on the East Coast are the medical marijuana states, Maryland and Pennsylvania. These states hold the promise of cannabis industry work in medical marijuana after the initial infrastructure takes shape.

The cannabis tech niche has some big players, but remains an open playing field. Just take a look at what the software company, BioTrackTHC, has already accomplished. What began as a small software company that started with a mission of tracking pharmaceuticals to prevent ‘doctor shopping’ for drugs, like oxycodone — pivoted to marijuana early in the emerging industry. The seed-to-sale tracking and inventory juggernauts of the cannabis industry are now one of the top software companies in cannabis tech. BioTrackTHC has more than 50 employees and it’s tracking software is used at more than 1,700 grows and dispensaries in 23 states. They have won so many of the bids already, they are looking beyond U.S. borders for clients. The technology powerhouse is also positioning themselves well for federal contracts, which has implications of what the cannabis industry may look like in a few years. You can read more about that in my article, where I spoke with the CEO of the company. Basically, as federal contracts become more feasible, you can expect the cannabis tracking systems to come together for standardization. Perhaps, even federal oversight for guidance at the national level.

RELATED ARTICLE: One Size Doesn’t Fit All: BioTrackTHC on the Future of Cannabis Tracking

Cannabis apps are really popular right now. It’s a great opportunity for developers to make their mark on the marijuana movement. Oho Herer is the founder and developer of LeafedIn.org. A true ganjapreneur at heart, he admits that he would rather take a chance in a budding industry, than live in mediocracy.

In an exclusive interview for The Marijuana Times, he gave advice to others looking to get in the cannabis industry. “There aren’t a lot of technology and business experts in the industry”, he said, “Same goes for marketing and communications. I see a lack of legitimate people with knowledge of business, technology and infrastructure working with the people that have cannabis knowledge.” LeafedIn.org is a cannabis networking app for the niche market of connecting people to people within the cannabis industry. It’s a map-based weed app (accessible on any mobile or desktop device by going to www.leafedin.org) that connects everyone from trimmers and growers, to accountants and other members of the cannabis community in real-time through a messaging service. 

RELATED ARTICLE: A Networking Solution for a Budding Industry: An Interview with the Entrepreneur Behind the Cannabis App, LeafedIn

If you’re not ready to dive in full-time, advocacy is always a great place to begin your canna-journey. Organizations like NORML, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the Drug Policy Alliance, and Women Grow can help you find your local chapter and ways to get involved. It’s great for networking and seeing where you fit in the wide world of cannabis.

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