This issue has a special section on the cannabis industry in the Northwest. It’s one of my favorite features we publish because I’ve come to know so many of the folks in the industry in Washington and Oregon over the past eight years.
When we launched Marijuana Venture in 2014, it was started as somewhat of an experiment. We had no idea if a magazine focused specifically on the business side of marijuana would be able to attract enough readers and advertisers to survive more than a few months. It did!
Marijuana Venture quickly blossomed into the nation’s largest and most widely read cannabis business magazine. And a lot of the credit goes to business people here in Oregon and Washington who readily embraced our new publication, which was so much different than the culture and lifestyle magazines that were prevalent at the time. Our magazine grew right alongside our relationships with Northwest growers and retailers (we mostly stopped using the term “dispensary” up here when Washington transitioned from a medical-only market to adult-use).
As we’ve grown and increased our reach, we’ve stayed profitable and expanded into trade events and other related businesses. However, for me personally, the most rewarding part of this business remains the relationships I’ve developed from one end of the Northwest to the other. Everywhere I travel, I stop in the cannabis shops along the way, and I’ve never failed to be greeted by friendly staff when I pop in for a visit.
During spring break, I spent several days skiing in fresh, deep powder with my son at Mount Bachelor in Oregon. Along the trek from Seattle down to the Bend area, I stopped at numerous pot shops and said hi. I made some new friends, admired the variety of products and snapped a few photos of stores that amazed me for their ingenuity and sense of style.
The 300-plus mile drive to Mount Bachelor is fascinating because it passes by some of the oldest and most established cannabis retail operations in the United States.
Make no mistake, the cannabis business is not that much different than other, so-called “traditional” businesses. And perhaps more than anything else, it’s a relationship business. Visiting stores, interviewing entrepreneurs and meeting face-to-face with business owners and employees is still my favorite part of this job. Over the years, I’ve developed many good friends in this industry, and for me, it’s just the beginning.
Of course, we cover the whole country, and I’m proud of the magazine’s integrity and great coverage of what is now a national business. However, proximity being what it is, the Northwest will always be our home and a place where I can stop into a store or grow operation and meet many fine people and interesting businesses.
Next month, we’ll continue our regional features series with a look at the Rocky Mountain states: Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. We’ll follow that up with the Southwest (August), Midwest (September), Northeast (October), South (November) and Mid-Atlantic (December).