By Garrett Rudolph
Things are moving and changing rapidly here at Marijuana Venture.
For those of you that read our first issue, you probably noticed some of the changes right away, but allow me to talk a little about the Marijuana Venture project and where we stand.
So far, the response to the first issue has been fantastic and I only see interest continuing to grow steadily. Within days of mailing the first issue, I received more than a dozen random emails and phone calls, all of which confirmed in my mind that this industry needs a source of reliable information, a voice for responsible and profitable business practices and a forum for people to exchange ideas.
There are other publications that have been operating a lot longer than we have that tilt their attention toward medical marijuana, cannabis advocacy, pot culture or act purely as a news source. But I believe what we are doing — focusing on legal marijuana from a purely business aspect — is unique.
We started out as an eight-page black-and-white newsletter with less than two pages of advertising. In a period of just one month, we have nearly tripled in size.
We’ve gone to a full-color format, giving our readers a more exciting product and our advertisers more bang for their buck.
We had 17 advertisers sponsor the project, equating to about 10 full pages of advertising, and I imagine there will be new companies joining with us as our name gains more recognition.
If you’re interested in advertising in Marijuana Venture, get on board quickly. The passage of I-502 could be a massive economic boon for Washington, not just specifically from the growing and selling of cannabis, but also for the businesses that serve the marijuana industry, such as attorneys, accountants, insurance agencies, electrical supply companies, security firms, etc.
One thing that’s been made clear in the six weeks or so that we’ve been in operation is that this project will continue to evolve. We’re still in the midst of a major learning curve about what the emerging legal marijuana industry will look like and how companies will operate. Some days it feels like it’s anybody’s guess what the state and federal government will choose to do, which throws a wrench of uncertainty into the prospect.
It’s also become clear that there is an endless supply of stories out there, and no shortage of people that are willing to contribute their expertise. We’re already in the process of thinking about stories, features and added sections for our May issue.
Here are a couple things that are on the table:
In the future, we’re considering a business directory that will serve as the “green pages” (for lack of a better name) for 502-friendly businesses, so people won’t have to call every insurance company in town to find an agent who will insure their retail store.
We’re also looking at a connections section or a “grower’s corner” where people seeking investors — or investors seeking a business opportunity — can post a classified ad to spread the word.
Contact us if you have any questions about either the “green page” or the “grower’s corner.”
One of the best aspects of getting this newsletter out to more than 4,000 people has been connecting with prospective business owners to get their take on the process and what kind of plans they have for their business.
It might not be surprising, but there are a lot of people that are frustrated with the Washington State Liquor Control Board’s progress — or lack thereof.
As of March 25, six businesses had been issued licenses — an average of about one every three days since the first license was granted. More than 6,600 business license applications are still listed as “pending.”
Each of the six businesses that have successfully run the Liquor Control Board gauntlet have received producer/processor licenses. Four are for Tier 2 grow operations, with one each of the Tier 1 and Tier 3 sizes. The six different businesses are fairly well spread out across the state, from Seattle to Vancouver to Spokane.
State officials have been consistently saying retail shops would be able to open in June, but many in the industry — myself included — are skeptical.
One retail applicant who emailed me said “if they (the Liquor Control Board) don’t start issuing grow licenses pretty soon, we won’t have product to sell.”
Even if retail stores are licensed and allowed to open in June, could it be July or August before they have product on the shelves?
“We have zero communication with LCB,” the applicant said.
Several of the people I’ve spoken with said they have yet to be contacted for an initial interview by the Liquor control board, while others have been working their way through the process — albeit slowly.
To those few who have received licenses: Congratulations and good luck.
To those waiting anxiously for a license: Hang in there, and don’t let delays in the process make you jump into a bad business decision.
As always, feel free to email me at Editor@MarijuanaVenture.com. We may publish letters to the editor in future issues of Marijuana Venture, so include “letter” in the subject line if you’d like it to be considered for publication.