As it becomes legal in more and more states, cannabis has become a bigger and more legitimate business. But running a cannabis farm, packaging, and selling the product isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are multiple issues and levels to the business. So before you plant your first seed, take the time to consider the following. Here are four aspects of the cannabis business you should know.
Like any business, cannabis growing generates waste. But cannabis waste is much different, obviously, and can’t simply be chucked into the nearest waste basket and taken to the landfill. Cannabis waste disposal involves several extra steps. Waste materials can include trimmings, seeds, roots, and tools used for cultivation, as well as the very soil it grows in. If a company has expired products, such as oils, papers, extracts, and other items, these as well as their containers are considered special waste as well. There are several alternatives, including composting, crushing, and incineration, but state and local laws may dictate which ones are allowed.
Banking Is a Bother
To paraphrase a certain 1990s movie, cannabis may be legal, but it isn’t 100 percent legal. That means that even if cannabis is legal to use and the business of growing and selling it is permitted in your state, federal law still states that growing and selling it is a crime. How does that work? It’s complicated, but basically states aren’t required to enforce federal laws, and as long as the cannabis use isn’t funding criminal activities, it’s overlooked. However, some banks will not handle money made from cannabis sales because they are forbidden from supporting illegal activity. Some banks will accept such funds, but you should check first before opening an account.
Because of the federal issues, advertising cannabis can be a challenge. Interstate commerce involving cannabis is illegal according to federal law, of course, so interstate advertising is not permitted. This includes radio and TV broadcasting as well. And while you can post about cannabis to most social media, paid advertising is usually not allowed by the bigger platforms and search engines, so they won’t run afoul of federal laws. Speak to an attorney about your options but be ready to keep advertising at the local and regional level.
Here’s the last of the four aspects of the cannabis business you should know. It’s not an easy industry to break into and it requires a tremendous amount of capital. Costs vary, but often opening a dispensary can be anywhere from $400,000 to a cool million, while starting a growing operation can cost even more, depending on location and other factors. And that’s just the beginning. Operating costs will continue to put the squeeze on your funds. So be sure to come up with a long-term budget you can live with!