by Catherine Brinkman

Like others, Marv Washington is watching the cannabis market explode. Active in the industry for a few years, Washington is thinking long game. “I am bringing business strengths from main street to green street. You have to keep your head down and work hard,” Washington said. For those people that are looking to get into the industry to get rich quick, think again. To be successful, you need a sound business plan, good work ethic and liquid capital.

The projected growth within the marijuana industry is astounding. The Cannabis Industry Annual Report projects marijuana profits to double in the next 8 years. Projected US sales, combining recreational and medical marijuana sales, are to reach $10.8 billion in 2018. By 2025 combined US sales are projected to reach $24 billion. The Green Rush is here, and people are dying to get into the business.

A New Hope for the Cannabis Industry

As of November 2017, 21 states legally allow patients access to medical marijuana. Another 9 states legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use. Yesterday, Vermont, through their state legislature, voted to legalize recreational marijuana. New Hampshire and New Jersey are slated to follow suit in coming months.

There are some, especially with the African American community that are hesitating to get involved due to the history between the plant, the community and law enforcement. As Washington points out, “You don’t have to touch the plant to be in the business.” He is right. Like any business you need to have lawyers, accountants, business advisors, branding managers and IT support agents.

There are tight regulations placed on businesses that have a grow, processing or storefront facility. Architects, contractors, construction teams and security services are all needed to make sure that the building is compliant to local ordinance codes. Packaging of plant material is also critical. Having containers that keep product fresh while making it child proof is a standard need.

There are a lot of pluses to consulting in the cannabis space, not touching the plant. You are not required to have extra business licenses and banking is relatively easy when compared to that in the cannabis industry.

Washington recalls “There are a lot of people that are not business people in this industry and they need help. The African American business community can really use this to help infuse money back into our communities.” Less than 2% of people involved in the cannabis space are people of color. Washington is trying to change that. “We need to come in and show our community the business impacts of the plant. And the health benefits that the plant has. It is still viewed as a social vice, like alcohol or gambling.”

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The cannabis industry will continue to grow and as it does, so will the demand for support services. For those that are willing to think outside the box and take their main street business skills to green street, success will be imminent.

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About the writer: Catherine Brinkman has a sales career spanning 2 decades. She has won numerous awards including Rookie of the Year and Silver Sales Associate for Dale Carnegie, a global training company. In early 2016, Catherine started her own consulting business, partnering with sales and marketing teams to increase revenue. She works with everyone from Silicon Valley giants to small startups. She has a fun, comic approach to her consulting, having studied satirical writing at The Second City. She can be found at and on Twitter @catbrinkman




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