The legal marijuana industry has come a long way in a very short time. And savvy entrepreneurs, even venture capital companies, see this emerging market as their next big money maker. Why? In a report published by ArcView Market Research, the industry is projected to generate a massive $21.8 billion in total annual sales by 2020.

The Current State of the Industry

According to Gallup polls, backing for full legalization has climbed from 12 per cent in 1969 to 25 per cent in 1995, and now it’s at 60 per cent, firmly crossing into the majority. As for sales, ArcView reported an increase of 17 per cent in 2015 over 2014, to $5.4 billion. And by the end of 2016, sales will likely grow another 25 per cent to $6.7 billion. Calling it a “green rush” is an understatement, and there’s a lot of money to be made if a company can navigate an industry fraught with regulations and pitfalls. So, how do you capitalize on this unprecedented market opportunity? Many find that partnering with a cannabis consultant is the sure-fire way to succeed.

How Important Is a Cannabis Consultant?

Many entrepreneurs have gotten their commercial cannabis enterprise off the ground on their own. If you were to decide to go this route, you’ll face licensing and legal hurdles, ongoing scrutiny by state regulators and the IRS, and delays caused by a trial-and-error method of setting up operations.

To streamline the start-up process, another option is to partner with a cannabis consultant. Their experience can help you plan, launch, and operate a highly successful medical or adult-use cultivation, processing, or dispensary operation—all without the headaches. While raising enough capital and securing licenses are well-known obstacles, that’s just the start. Here are just a few other issues that commercial cannabis enterprises face today:

  • The industry is highly regulated by local laws and all aspects of the business are scrutinized.
  • Due diligence is required when cultivating cannabis, hiring employees, and bringing on investors.

Because it’s illegal at the federal level, dispensaries are cash-only, requiring security logistics.

The Role of a Cannabis Consultant

An experienced and knowledgeable cannabis consultant will be able to help you at every step, from planning and licensing, to hiring and training the right staff, ensuring consistent cultivation, and complying with state rules and regulations.

The right cannabis consultant will bring a proven, turn-key business model to the table, enabling you to produce a quality product via cost-efficient production methods. The model should be risk-averse and reduce your overall exposure. It should also allow you to recoup your investment while continuing to be competitive in a quickly evolving marketplace.

For current owners of a commercial cannabis enterprise, a consultant can play a key role in improving overall profitability. They should be able to customize a plan that aligns with your goals and meets your unique needs, helping you improve yields, consistency, quality, and efficiency. Below is a quick checklist of what it takes to open a fully compliant, medical and recreational cultivation and dispensary operation.

Planning Your Operations

  • Business plan and financial guidance
  • Standard operating procedures
  • State application support
  • Facility layout and design
  • Cannabis cultivation information
  • Operations planning
  • Hands-on cultivation training

Launching Your Business

  • Facility design and build-out
  • Daily procedures from open to close
  • Guidance in hiring
  • Hands-on staff training
  • Employee documentation and handbooks
  • Inventory control
  • Daily operations best practices
  • Tips for managing a cash-only business
  • Security logistics

Ensuring Your Success

  • Hands-on staff training
  • Ongoing guidance and support
  • Patient and customer record-keeping

Choosing the Right Marijuana Consultant

Let’s recap. You’re looking to grab your share of a lucrative emerging market. You now understand the need for a cannabis consultant, as well as what role you can expect them to play in your business. Now, here’s the most important part: finding a consultant you can trust.

A consultant you can trust will be helping you make decisions that could have a dramatic effect on your business. Your first rule of thumb is to be wary of anyone that promises you the sun, moon, and stars. Just like any other business, a commercial cannabis enterprise takes work and focus. If their claims of easy money sound too good to be true, they probably are. Don’t fall for it. Along with being able to provide a solid plan and guidance through all the areas listed above, your cannabis consultant should possess the following:

  • A deep understanding of this emerging industry, including state-specific laws and regulations.
  • A belief in open communication and a hands-on approach to partnering with you.
  • A proven track record and positive reputation, both in and outside of the industry.
  • The ability to deliver quantifiable results that meet or exceed original expectations.

Be sure to do your research, check references, and have a conversation with prospective consultants. Because you’re going to be working closely with them on a long-term basis, even personality and rapport should be factors in your decision.

Starting a Successful Commercial Cannabis Enterprise

This is where Medicine Man Technologies, a full-service cannabis consultancy in Colorado, excels. As a publicly traded cannabis company, we work with groups who have the resources, connections, and desires to enter the market but lack the technical expertise to plan, launch, and operate a successful and fully compliant commercial cannabis enterprise. We also offer services to help existing operators improve yields, consistency, quality, and efficiency.

If you’re looking to break into the market, Medicine Man Technologies is here to guide you. Visit medicinemantechnologies.com for more information.