Green Entrepreneur Spring 2019

How-to guides, ideas and expert insights for entrepreneurs looking to start and grow a cannabis business.

United States
Entrepreneur Media Inc.
Back issues only


welcome to the pot-com boom

I recently had the opportunity to judge the Chronic Cup in San Francisco. The Shark Tank–ish event awarded $10K to the cannabis startup with the best pitch. Together the contestants represented the many faces of the industry. There were the former Airbnb employees pitching security software, a second-generation Chinese-American pitching cannabis-infused chili oil, a lupus survivor pitching a chain of dispensaries aimed at empowering the community. The passion of the presenters was palpable, and the energy in the packed room was giddy—and that was before we started smoking. It was a similar vibe to some of the dot-com events I attended in the late ’90s. Everyone was optimistic about the future and thrilled to be involved in an industry they believe has a positive impact on society. Five years ago, an event like…

cbd game plan

When people talk about cannabis, they’re often focused on THC—the psychoactive component that gives marijuana its “elevated” qualities. But industry insiders and, increasingly, consumers recognize that the real opportunities are in the plant’s CBD. It opens a door for those eager to join the Green Rush without the legal ramifications and financial hurdles associated with the traditional marijuana product. That’s because while marijuana remains federally against the law, hemp (the low-THC member of the sativa family), from which many CBD products are derived, is now legal, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. America’s legal hemp market is projected to grow from $688 million in 2016 to $1.8 billion by 2020, with hemp-derived CBD products forecasted at a 55 percent annual growth rate. That means ample opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to make…

3 lessons this cannabis ceo learned playing the long game

KushyPunch founder Ruben Cross. When KushyPunch first hit dispensary shelves in 2014, founder Ruben Cross didn’t have a lot of insight into how the market would mature. Back then, dosing within the edibles market was largely inconsistent, and much of what was available was high-calorie, high-sugar and not friendly to medical patients with dietary requirements. With KushyPunch, Cross set out to change all of that and become the leading edible brand in California. As his line of THC gummies—and eventually vapes—attracted an extraordinarily passionate following, Cross began to establish a foundation for becoming a blockbuster national brand. “Scale was always the goal,” says Cross, who is 39. “Once we understood how well our product worked for our patients and patrons, we felt a sense of obligation to bring it to anyone and everyone…

want to open a dıspensary?

When Colorado first legalized recreational marijuana, in 2014, a smattering of pot shops popped up. What a difference five years make. There are more dispensaries in Denver than Starbucks, McDonald’s, and 7-Eleven stores combined, and statewide the number exceeds 500. But while many dispensaries are thriving, a good handful are generating revenues far below the industry average. Why? This business presents unique challenges to entrepreneurs that you might never expect. Before diving in, a few things to know: 1. You are not an expert just because you ran a business or smoked marijuana for years. I entered the cannabis industry with all the confidence in the world, having more than a decade of experience behind me as a successful serial entrepreneur. Because running a business was second nature to me, and I…

striking oil

Cannabis oil is having a moment. Sales of THC-rich concentrates such as wax and shatter are projected to reach $8.5 billion by 2022. “The demand is very high,” says Corey Mangold, CEO of Orchid Essentials, a multistate cannabis brand. “Almost every extraction company I know of in the country is operating at full capacity. The oil market is still expanding.” In other words, there are plenty of opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs. Before you rush into the oil business, three things to consider: 1. Look beyond CBD and THC. The two most popular cannabinoids are CBD and THC, but there are dozens of lesser-known ones believed to be just as effective. With acronyms like CBG and CBC, these compounds are highly sought after by those in the know but still far from being mainstream.…

help wanted

Here’s a staggering number: Cannabis jobs increased 690 percent between 2017 and 2018, with employment projected to grow another 220 percent in 2019. This makes the canna-business the fastest-growing sector in the United States. From high-ranking managers to entry-level weed nerds, job opportunities are plentiful. Which one’s for you? Take a look. Dispensary manager and budtender The first cannabis jobs that come to mind, and for good reason, are dispensary manager and budtender. These are two of the most in-demand jobs in legal weed. With the industry growing 28 percent annually and projected to reach a value of $146 billion by 2025, there’s intense need for people who are knowledgeable about cannabis. For years, dispensary staff have been in such high demand that only about half of those hired have formal training,…