James Daly

40 Under 40

For the past five years, the Marijuana Venture staff has compiled an annual list of some of the brightest young leaders and influencers in the cannabis industry. As in past years, we have narrowed the list from hundreds of worthy candidates to present 40 individuals from the vast and ever-changing business in the United States and Canada.

It is our honor to share their stories.

James Daly

Age: 35

Company: Arbors Wellness

Title: President

James Daly of Arbors Wellness grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan — the “cannabis capital of the Midwest” — which decriminalized marijuana possession in the 1970s. This past December, Daly notched a new milestone in the city’s history when his shop, Arbors Wellness, recorded the first legal, recreational sale in the state.

Daly is a lifelong entrepreneur who started his first business at 20 and was in real estate and contracting when the opportunity arose in 2017 to buy Arbors Wellness, one of the oldest dispensaries in the state.

“I will not likely have another opportunity like this,” he says of the ability to get involved in an industry at the ground level.

Today, it’s part of the larger Arbor Holdings, a vertically integrated company that includes Arbor Farm and Arbor Kitchen. This year, the company plans to open six more facilities, including five retail locations. Daly says he retained most of the original employees when he bought the company, moving many into management. The move has helped ensure that customers know what to expect when they visit the dispensary (or “provisioning center,” in the language of the Michigan law): a customer-centric experience, whether they have been coming in for a decade or are new to cannabis.

“We’re here to take as much time as needed with every patient or customer,” he says, adding that his staff’s experience and understanding of the products help differentiate Arbors from other shops.

Daly considers himself a problem-solver. He enjoys building the right team to address any issue that might come up and says part of Arbors’ success comes from focusing on one thing at a time, adding that “the risk is in execution” of any given plan.

“We know what we do well and what we don’t do well,” Daly says. “We absolutely do what we’re best at.”

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