By Garrett Rudolph
Every month we tell the stories of growers and retailers, cannabis entrepreneurs and those that support the industry. We talk ad nauseam about the rules and regulations that guide the industry’s legal and licensed operators, and we spend a lot of time talking to business professionals about how their goods and services can impact those that are directly involved with the production and sale of marijuana.
We rarely have the opportunity to tell our own story in the pages of our magazine.
It’s hard to believe, but this issue marks the one-year anniversary for Marijuana Venture. Many of you probably saw our first issue, and I’m guessing very few readers were impressed. By the time we’d published three or four issues, I got emails from a couple people who said they threw away the first issue, not thinking it would amount to anything. As they witnessed out growth and improvement, they decided after the fact that they wanted to keep a copy of every issue for posterity.
Our mission had been to get the first issue out the door before the Washington State Liquor Control Board granted the first marijuana business license. We missed that mark by a couple days. The funny thing is that looking back on that original newsletter, it took about as much time and energy to get those eight black-and-white pages published and shipped as it does for us to send issues 10 times that size nowadays.
We really didn’t know how much interest there would be in our magazine, or how quickly we’d be able to grow. It turned out that our readers were hungry for a marijuana-related publication that approached the industry from a serious, business-only perspective.
There were (and still are) dozens of cannabis magazines on the market, and seemingly thousands of websites devoted to the plant, but we wanted our content to differentiate Marijuana Venture from other publications. We weren’t necessarily interested in appealing to the average consumer. Instead, we wanted to be must-read material for business owners and investors, whether they’re involved with cultivation, retail or some ancillary business.
And we took somewhat of an old-school approach. We focused 99% of our efforts on the printed product, all but ignoring our website and social media in the process.
I worked in the newspaper business prior to joining publisher Greg James to launch Marijuana Venture, and I was admittedly skeptical about the viability of a print product in the digital age. What we found was that the print magazine got exactly the kind of results we wanted, in a way that most digital media can’t compare. Not only were people reading the magazine, but they were keeping each copy. We would hear from both readers and advertisers alike that people weren’t just reading the most current issue. Often times, subscribers would go back and re-read magazines several months after they were published.
By no means has it been without its fair share of challenges, but we’re thrilled about the progress we’ve been able to make in just one year and even more excited about where we’re headed in the near future.
Each month, we try to incorporate little changes and improvements. We’re constantly trying out new sections and feature stories, trying to gauge the interest of our readers.
I’ve said this before, but ultimately, this magazine will be shaped by its readers. It’s less about what we want it to be, and more about what you want it to be. We encourage readers to be active participants. Let us know when we do a great job or publish a section you want to see more of. Let us know if there’s something we’re missing or not covering well enough, or something we dedicate too much space to.
We’re always keeping our eyes open for letters to the editor, guest columns or contributors to our new “Living the Dream” section. It’s important that we have a relationship with our readers, so we can stay abreast of the important issues affecting this exciting and daunting industry.
Garrett Rudolph is the editor of Marijuana Venture. He can be reached by email at Editor@MarijuanaVenture.com.