It is high time to start speculating about what it would mean if Oregon were to legalize recreational marijuana on November 4, 2014. What will the business environment be like? What are the implications for the industry in the state of Washington?
Author Archives: Anne Wallace
Supporting a legitimate industry sometimes takes shutting down the dark side. The Department of Justice has made preventing illegal marijuana cultivation on tribal and public lands one of its top enforcement priorities.
Landlords are simple people. They want to collect rent and, at the end of the lease, they want their asset back in good enough shape to rent it out again. Owners of commercial property thinking about renting to legal marijuana businesses face an unusual degree of risk.
November 4, 2014 could be a very, very big night for advocates of legalization. Initiatives will likely be on the ballot in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia. The two jurisdictions that now permit recreational use, Colorado and Washington, could become five overnight.
The idea of reparations has a lot of moral suasion. But the task of repairing the grievous harm caused by the misguided “War on Drugs” and much of the other 200 years of American history will take more than one approach, more a smorgasbord than a silver bullet.
In a non-cannabis industry an entrepreneur might simply go to the bank for financing, but not so in the marijuana world. Few lenders are ready to do business with a startup whose status is still questionable under federal law. Is crowdfunding an option?
Mexican drug cartels are often synonymous with unspeakable violence. But trying to shut down a criminal enterprise, especially an international one, is like squeezing a balloon: The air goes elsewhere. If the commodity is not marijuana, it might be heroin or human beings.
Benefit Corporations may be an attractive alternative for marijuana entrepreneurs who want to make a profit, but also believe in business as an engine for social change. What’s not to love about that combination?
You have to love a scrappy fighter. The District of Columbia legalized marijuana for medical use in 2010. In March 2014, the DC City Council moved to decriminalize private recreational use. On June 25, 2014, House Republicans moved to block funding for that law.
The first and most important job of many startups is to define and protect business identity. To be honest, at the very beginning, there may be little more to the business than an idea and a name, maybe a catchy jingle. But protecting creative identity is what intellectual property law does, and the better the idea, the more protection the business will need.
Legal marijuana entrepreneurs have difficulty purchasing advertising, especially radio advertising. If the business is legal, is this fair? How can a business operate without marketing?
On June 20, 2014, the New York legislature voted to legalize medical marijuana. When signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the Compassionate Care Act will be among the most restrictive in the nation.
California is generally very protective of employee rights, including the rights of disabled workers, and imposes strict limits on when employers may require drug testing. The state was also one of early adopters of a compassionate use statute, shielding patients from state criminal prosecution for medical use of marijuana.
Court watchers sat on the edge of their seats this week, watching the conflict between federal and state marijuana law play out in the city council meetings of a tiny rural Washington State town. The local ordinance, drafted specifically to ban pot businesses, incorporated federal law by reference.
On April 1, 2014, Canada handed its medical marijuana industry over to licensed commercial growers, ending its own involvement in production and eventually banning personal agriculture. The resulting “green rush” drove stock prices sky high. Health Canada is overwhelmed with grower’s license applications, and some patients wonder how they will be able to continue to get medicine.
Many venture capitalists are still nervous about investing in marijuana, despite a legal market estimated at $1.44 billion. Worries range from DEA enforcement action to scalability to a general squeamishness about “sin products.” A realistic way to take the risk/reward problem apart may be to look at the industry as a collection of mini-markets, each with unique characteristics.
Tax revenues are a powerful incentive for states to embrace legalization. According Colorado’s Department of Revenue, Colorado has already collected nearly $22 million in marijuana taxes, licenses and fees in fiscal year 2014.
In the wee hours of Friday, May 30, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to an appropriations bill that medical marijuana proponents hope will stop the Drug Enforcement Administration raids of businesses operating legally under state medical marijuana laws.
The pot industry is today’s hottest new investment, but it is far less regulated than the pharmaceutical industry of the ‘80s. Not to be a buzzkill, but lab testing and safety regulation is something you need to examine carefully before backing any marijuana enterprise.