Sadly, it’s not uncommon for us to get something in the mail like the message, pictured at right, about a business going under. We’re a business magazine, and most of our readers are business owners who get the publication monthly. Unlike some of the other magazines in this industry, we’re pretty careful about who we mail copies to, and our best guess is that it’s about 90% serious business people like owners and managers. We’ve been focused like that from day one and decided early on that we would aim for quality over quantity. That strategy has worked well for us, and our advertisers know that if they want to reach qualified cannabis professionals, Marijuana Venture is a smart way to go.
When you’re as close as we are to the business community, you also get the bad with the good. That bad can include stories of lost family savings, partnerships going south, robberies, cratering prices, bad leases, employee theft, mite infestations, shoddy equipment and any number of other problems from major to minor. I’ve heard it all over the years.
The person who took the time to send us their address label and let us know they wouldn’t need the magazine any more was a business owner in Oregon. They also decided to write us a note (thank you). Although I can only speculate as to why they’re throwing in the towel, my guess — based on what I regularly hear out of Oregon — is that it had something to do with a big oversupply of quality cannabis combined with a shrinking demand once the COVID surge subsided.
Oregon isn’t that different from most of the other states with legal adult-use cannabis in that many — if not most — of the people getting in did so with overly optimistic projections, business plans that were hastily put together, combined with a limited knowledge of commercial farming practices or modern retail operations (or both!). Oregon’s free-market approach to licensing also made for an incredibly competitive landscape, with nearly 3,000 total business licenses granted, including more than 800 for retailers, in a state with a population of roughly 4.2 million.
In Washington, the situation is similar (although initially limiting the number of retailers helped most stay healthy). The early days here saw many thousands of good folks jumping in with great intentions. On the grow side, because there were no limits on licenses, the number of cultivators was well over a thousand. Today, it’s about 500 to 600. The rest folded up shop and quickly found out that the business was not an easy road to the “green rush” riches peddled by quick talkers selling equipment at marijuana business conferences.