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Legal Cannabis Industry

How to Successfully Launch a Legal Cannabis Business

May 31, 2019


Building an industry from the ground up takes a lot of hands; the cannabis industry has attracted entrepreneurs of all stripes, from cultivators to distributors to tech experts, all of whom want a piece of the multibillion-dollar pie. While the industry has already experienced rapid growth, projections suggest it is still in its early stages. With seemingly nowhere to go but up, you might be considering launching a marijuana business of your own.

The cannabis industry is a complicated space, due to both its youth and the legal circumstances surrounding it. This cannabis industry startup guide will provide a bird’s-eye view of some things you should know about the marijuana business before launching a company of your own. Whether you’re planning on opening a dispensary, obtaining a cultivation license or running an ancillary business, knowing the basics of the industry is essential to building a successful legal marijuana business. 

The birth of an industry

Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states plus Washington, D.C., while adult-use cannabis (sometimes called “recreational marijuana”) is legal in 10 states plus D.C. An additional 15 states have decriminalized cannabis, reducing possession under certain amounts to a civil charge rather than a criminal one. The rash of legalizations began with California’s passage of medicinal cannabis measure Proposition 215 in 1996 and culminated in Colorado and Washington’s legalization of recreational cannabis in 2012. Since then, more states have followed suit. In just 20 years, what was previously a black-market product has become the cash crop of a new industry.

However, as the cannabis industry rises to prominence – multiple estimates place anticipated growth eclipsing the $20 billion mark by the early 2020s – the federal government maintains cannabis as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. That means cannabis is considered an illegal substance with …

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