With so much money in the marijuana game, it may be difficult for the independent supplier to stand out – unless independence is seized upon as a virtue.
She continues: “A lot of people have been growing for 20 years. That’s great. Chances are they are very knowledgeable about growing the plant. But when it comes to regulations, financials and everything to do with exchange, they have no idea how that part works.”
“The main thing that’s important is to make a boutique brand rather than a mainstream one,” Adams says. “As long as that mom and pop store is able to market to its local consumers, it will stay in business. And people in its area may even buy more than they would from, say, Advil because they know them and trust them and like their brand.”
3. Build a client base – and keep them
The course promises to be a rigorous survey of the landscape of marijuana production and sale, educating prospective growers in everything from irrigation to marketing.
“A lot of people are buying marijuana,” Adams says. “There’s no doubt about that.” But does that mean the would-be marijuana seller has a built-in clientele? Not necessarily. “It’s going to be quite competitive,” she warns. “There are conglomerates who have already joined. There’s some big money involved. And I think you’re going to see a lot of it move more in that direction.”
A marijuana field. Photograph: Stephanie Paschal / Rex Features
1. Don’t rely on past experience
But in the end, it comes down to loyalty and marketing: “With beer and wine the marketing and branding is important but the flavours really contrast. Marijuana strains vary, but in terms of actual flavouring there may be less variation. So it has to do with branding.”
If you’ve got a good product, you’ve got to get it into your customer’s hands and have them come back.
Will: We applied for the NuLeaf grant, and we were able to get $10,000, which honestly, for cannabis companies, especially grows, is not that much. It gave us little more time to sell. We started making sales and gaining momentum.
Nancy: That’s probably the most challenging thing about the regulations. There are many of them, and they differ state by state.
Narrator: When Adrian first started delivering, only $100 worth of cannabis was allowed in the car at one time.
Jeannette: Some states do things like, in addition to the fee, require you to have liquid capital of $250,000, for example. And who’s got $250,000 in liquid capital? Few, few people. That begins to immediately lock out whole communities.
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2. Crypto and blockchain
The marijuana business is no longer an underground network. Instead, you now find marijuana-related companies listed on major stock exchanges in the U.S and Canada.