Green Entrepreneur Fall 2019

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

United States
Entrepreneur Media Inc.
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can cannabis be normalized?

One of my favorite quotes from my interview with Chelsea Handler—and there are many—was when she said, “The world is only getting browner, gayer, and higher, so you’d better hop on the bus.” Just four years ago, who could have imagined that today, 12 U.S. states would permit the use of recreational marijuana—with more predicted to decriminalize the plant in 2020? The legal weed train has left the station, and there’s no turning back. But how mainstream will marijuana become? I’m writing this note from Los Angeles, the epicenter of the cannabis business, where every street corner has a fancy billboard for a new dispensary or brand. MedMen, which has been called the Apple store of weed, has an expensive ad campaign calling cannabis use “the new normal.” This is a…

bruce almighty

When Bruce Linton was unceremoniously canned from his position as co-CEO of Canopy Growth Corp. earlier this year, the cannabis world was stunned. Linton is one of the stars of the business, having grown his company from a tiny Canadian medical marijuana operation to the world’s largest publicly traded cannabis company, worth an estimated $15 billion. Hailing from Ottawa, Linton is a familiar face and voice of the industry, appearing frequently on CNBC. He is known for making big moves. Canopy was the first cannabis company to partner with a major conglomerate, Constellation Brands, which has a beer portfolio that includes such brands as Corona and Modelo. It also created high-profile partnerships with celebrities such as Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart. But apparently, all this entrepreneurial daring was losing shareholders money. Last…

charting the future of end-to-end botanical extraction

CEO of Vanguard Scientific Vanguard Scientific Systems is the premier provider of equipment, systems and performance solutions servicing the botanical extraction industry today. Our mission is to consistently deliver our customers the capability to manufacture the highest quality, most valued oils and extracts cost effectively. With a team comprised of over 50 years collective experience across medical device, integrated technologies, life sciences, high-pressure systems, regulated markets and cannabinoid applications, Vanguard is a global leader in laboratory, commercial and industrial botanical extraction and processing capabilities. Dedicated to unlocking delicate molecules within plant-based ingredients through identification, development and deployment of technologies that meet global regulatory requirements, Vanguard’s divisions of Systems, Solutions and Innovations return value to Client’s globally while working hard to drive innovation for continued processing optimization. “It is not only the rigorously assessed VSS…

clearing the air

Carpinteria, Calif., once blossomed with chrysanthemums, lilies, and hydrangea, but the market for American-grown cut flowers started to wither under the spell of cheaper imports. Then, when marijuana was legalized in California, the area found a new cash crop. The same climate that flowers thrive in turns out to be ideal for cannabis cultivation. According to data compiled by the Associated Press, since 2016 the state has granted 800 licenses in Santa Barbara County alone, many of them in Carpinteria. One of the farms to pivot was B and H Flowers, owned by a family originally from Holland who’d been growing tulips for more than 100 years. In late 2015 those farmers, whose last name is Brand, switched to cannabis and—partnering with B and H’s CFO, Autumn Shelton—called the new operation…

don’t bank on it

Every month, staffers at NUG, a vertically integrated cannabis company in California, have to physically transport cash, accompanied by a licensed and armed security guard, via an inconspicuous company vehicle to a Pacific Gas and Electric office—to pay their utility bill. This may sound extreme, but it’s an all-too-common scenario among cannabis entrepreneurs. Despite weed’s legal status in most states and Washington, D.C., most federally insured banks won’t open accounts for marijuana businesses. The reason: fear of criminal or civil liability under federal law, which still classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug. For this reason, cash has become the go-to option for most cannabis transactions. Companies like NUG, which grows plants and manufactures cannabis products at several facilities in the Oakland, Calif., area, accrue mountains of greenbacks and have nowhere to…

catering to the canna-curious

As adult-use cannabis becomes legal in more states, it is also becoming more socially and culturally acceptable. Those who just five years ago would never have dreamed of visiting a dispensary or gorging on a gummy are now interested in doing just that. They’re the canna-curious, and they’re a massive untapped market. But there is still a stigma attached to weed, fueled by years of anti-pot propaganda, seedy past business practices of the black market, and an overall lack of knowledge, that can prevent the canna-curious from giving pot a shot. We asked some of the industry’s top CEOs what they’re doing to appeal to this new kind of consumer. Make your product approachable. “Dispensaries can be very off-putting and weird to the uninitiated—dark, opaque window treatments, armed guards, less-than-desirable smells, with…