Medical marijuana is now legal in 25 states and the District of Columbia. More and more states are considering legalizing it completely as support for it has grown substantially. Since 2010, 17% of the population has changed its mind about legalizing marijuana and now the idea is supported by at least 58% of all Americans. Earnings for legal cannabis products are expected to grow to the point that they surpass those from the combined earnings for the organic food market, film industry and National Football League (NFL). If you are considering your own cannabis business, this may be a great time. Given the complicated nature of these kinds of businesses, hiring a cannabis consulting firm may be in your best interest. Finding the right one can get your business off to a good start.
- Do you know anyone who has a cannabis business license? If you know people who have started their own cannabis businesses in the state where you want to do this, you should talk to them about what cannabis consulting company they used, how they liked working with them and how they found them. Despite what might be the law in your state, all marijuana is illegal on a federal level. This fact makes it even more crucial that you pay very close attention to the state laws that govern cannabis sales in your state.
- Get references. When you start talking to different cannabis consulting firms, ask them if you can speak to former or current clients. This is one of the best ways to discover if working with the company is going to benefit both of you. This is a lot asking for references when you hire an employee. You are going to hire a cannabis consulting company so it only makes sense that you want to talk to people and companies who have worked with them. This is a basic due diligence practice that all too many small business owners fail to do.
- Find a cannabis consulting firm that specializes in the kind of business you are starting. A lot of this may depend on where you are located. If you are looking to open a medical marijuana dispensary, you may have different needs than a person who is trying to put together a cannabis cultivation business plan. If you live in a state where all marijuana is legal, as it is in Colorado, you may have a different idea for your business then if you live in a medical marijuana only state. Make sure the cannabis consulting company understands your needs and can tailor their work to help you.
- Make sure the firm has enough time for you. The demand for companies and experts who handle cannabis consulting has gone up dramatically since the state laws have changed so much in recent years. This is a good and a bad thing. It is good for the economy but maybe not as great for the companies that need the services cannabis consulting consulting companies offer. Ask how many clients the company is working with. You should try to find a cannabis consulting company that can take time to meet with you in person when you need that. It makes a big difference.
- Do not give away equity without giving this a lot of thought. Many cannabis consultants will ask to receive equity in the new business as part of payment for their services. This is not something you should do without giving it a lot of thought and consideration. If the firm you talk to has equity in a bunch of different cannabis businesses, a conflict of interest will be created. There may also be local laws that this breaks. You need everything you do to be 100% in compliance with all state and local rules, regulations and laws. As much as you can, you need to pay for consulting services with the traditional methods. Giving equity in your business for this kind of service can lead to a number of problems down the line.
There are many opportunities for making money with a cannabis business today. Having the right cannabis consulting firm on your side is the best way to get started.