2021 will be a fascinating year in the cannabis industry for a myriad of reasons. With a new administration in the US, there will be a lot of changes at the federal level. More states will be legalizing both for medical and recreational marijuana. When the federal government removes the restrictions on pot, research will explode. The weed industry will grow by leaps. Pot will continue to enter into the mainstream and stigmas will begin to disappear. One of those stories will be social equity.
Minorities have never been part of the pot industry except in arrests, which always were made in far greater numbers than white people. African-American, Hispanic and other populations of color don’t consume marijuana in any form in greater numbers than any other part of the overall population, but those populations have been subject to arrest rates at 10 times higher than the white population. It’s systemic racism and it’s a sad part of our society. Racism won’t go away, but we can see some glimmers of a more equitable society.
Minority representation in the cannabis industry is low. In California, there appears to be an effort to get more minorities involved in our evolving industry. That’s a good thing, but is the state doing enough to give access to minorities who don’t have big bankrolls? The jury is out on that. However, it’s still very early in the evolution of the cannabis industry. Will this will be a trend or an anomaly? Only time will tell.
Amelia Williams wrote this article about 5 black-owned businesses that are trying to stand out from the crowd. Originally published in Leafly, it’s worth a visit to see what minority (in this case black) owners are doing to put themselves head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd in the Golden State. Will it apply to other states? Who knows?
And here’s another story about what what a company in Oakland, ECO is doing to help those who have been marginalized and oppressed. They employ many people who have been previously incarcerated for non-violent pot crimes as well as minorities. It originally appeared in Cannabis Business Times
And one more also from Cannabis Business Times. This story tells how the Illinois Senate is trying to improve minority equity in the pot business by opening licenses up to more minorities who frequently don’t have the funds to start a business let alone go through all the draconian licensing forms and then pay for them! It’s short, but you’ll be beginning to get the idea that we need to open up.
This is not as weird as it sounds. NJWeedman (real name Ed Forchion) is a cannabis activist in New Jersey. He wants to overturn the ballot initiative that legalized marijuana in New Jersey. He wants this bad enough that he has sued New Jersey to overturn the initiative. It’s not for the reasons you think.
NJWeedman wants the state to open its dispensary licensing process and have regulations that the small ‘retailer’ of weed can both afford and understand. His desire is to have people of color who were the victims of cannabis persecution be able to open their own small stores. He believes the regulations will prevent this and calls it the “Walmartization of Weed” and he wants the little guy who was selling (illegally) over the years to have the opportunity to be included. He’s not wrong, at least in this writer’s eyes.
Regulations Benefit the Big Box Stores
It’s not just New Jersey. Too many of the states where cannabis has been legalized. have made regulations that make it easier for the “big guys” to come in (the “Walmartization”) and take over the industry. They can hire teams of lawyers to follow the regulations and just ignore the little guys who are just trying to make a living. The problem with this is the systemic racism it engenders.
NJWeedman also owns a 420 friendly restaurant that has a diner feel to it and I want to eat there!!! Also, here’s an article in Cannabis Culture about NJWeedman and what he’s doing to try to stop the state of New Jersey from cutting out the little guys who just want to start a little pot shop. LIke a little liquor store or wine shop.
We need this to happen nationally. I prefer to call it the “Galloization” of the weed market, but it’s the same. Big brands and big stores can destroy the little guy. What they need to know is they can both thrive together in a well run and regulated marketplace. For the state of New Jersey’s part, they’re claiming to be open to smaller operators. But…if they make the regulations too onerous and the licensing fees too high, they’re going to be in hot water with those who are supporting the illicit trade in cannabis.
Does the cannabis brand in your local dispensary understand you or what you want from your cannabis? Probably not. It’s not just limited to cannabis either. Most brands truly don’t understand their customers. Whether it’s spaghetti sauce or cars, the brands you may love truly don’t understand you. Why? There’s plenty of market research around and market research companies out there that will help companies understand their customers. But most companies just muddle along selling their products. There are many companies who just muddle along with their brands and never really look at their audience. That’s changing.
COVID-19 has changed much of the dynamics of brands. Since COVID pushed a lot of sales online, brands have had to sit up and take notice because consumers can be very choosy about what they buy. There’s not a lot of shelves lined up with products in a grocery although we’re all still going grocery shopping. But a lot of products are missing from the shelves.
Cannabis is changing everything. One thing that the past election showed us was that cannabis crosses all political boundaries. Cannabis is no longer just a ‘hippie’ product and most of the national brands realize this.
From Green Market Report, this story tells how a huge multi million dollar research project about cannabis consumers is sought after by the biggest corporations in the U.S. As they should be. Cannabis consumers are the largest growth sector in today’s marketplace.
I met with Bud’s Place franchise founders Mark Cohen and Ron Silberstein in the beginning of July 2020. The pandemic was in full swing when we met and, in Michigan, restaurants were just starting to let people eat inside. It was a warm day and outside seating was full. We went inside and did our best to have a socially distanced meeting. In full disclosure, Mark, Ron, and I graduated from high school together, as did another of their partners, Gary Stein. Overall, I walked away pretty impressed with their solid planning. I know these guys and they are bright businessmen personally invested in opening up the first cannabis consumption lounge franchise. If you are interested in chatting with them, remember to tell them you read about this amazing opportunity in Canniseur. (And, no we are not getting a commission.)
AnnaLee: What is Bud’s Place?
A Social Cannabis Consumption Lounge Franchise Opportunity.
Bud’s Place™ provides a legal, safe, and enjoyable upscale atmosphere. You bring your own cannabis to Bud’s Place (there’s no dispensing). We offer a combination of food and beverages, great line of accessories for sale, entertainment, and more in a clean, safe and relaxing facility. Customers enjoy their own cannabis with their friends.
The Bud’s Place concept is ‘Churchill meets Dave and Busters’. Lounges will be about 6,000 sf, serving bar food, with entertainment like games.
AnnaLee: Why would anyone want to invest in a franchise and not just start their own consumption lounge?
We bring solid plans to the table. Each of our partners brings specific expertise to your opportunity.
Mark Cohen (founder) has decades of marketing and real estate experience.
Ron Silberstein (founder) brings decade of franchise CPA/financial expertise.
Dr Gary Stein brings his cannabis public policy and activism experience.
Crave Hot Dogs and BBQ is their 4th business partner and brings decades of corporate food distribution and training experience.
Together our experience allows us to put together a well thought out opportunity. Our franchise package opportunity is incredibly unique because you would be getting in at the start of cannabis legalization.
We’ve been working and planning Bud’s Place concept for almost a decade. You would have all the expertise backing your investment at the start. This is a huge jump-start and would you save years of planning, from real estate selection, to setting up distribution partnerships, and understand and dealing with government red tape.
Your investment provides for all the expertise you need to set up a thriving business in an exciting new business. You’ll receive training.
AnnaLee: What’s your differentiator?
When I asked this question, Ron and Mark just looked at each other for a brief second. The turned to me and said, almost in unison, ‘we are the only ones doing this’. Fair enough. Getting in early is key to long term success, they said. They also said the ROI is phenomenal. Much better than any other kind of franchise opportunity. They stated this is because the profit margins are above what a typical lounge might be.
AnnaLee: Where do you see Bud’s Place in 5 years?
In 5 years we will have between 15 and 50 locations. Two of these will be flagship corporate lounges. We will be the pre-eminent leaders in consumption lounges. Our corporate value will be between $100 and $200 M.
AnnaLee: What does it take to buy into a franchise?
For $1.25 M you’ll be a leader, in the forefront, a pioneer. This is not for the faint of heart, but the financial rewards are great. Within 10 years, when cannabis is legal, we’ll add in dispensary partnerships, and your investment will become even more valuable.
Can cannabis help women have more and better orgasms? Here’s a fascinating company that is saying just that! Is it true? I don’t know, because I’m a guy. If it is, are men next? Or do the companies in the cannabis market leave men alone because orgasms are easier for them? I don’t have any answers to this, but I have a lot of questions.
Here’s where the price of your favorite plant is going. Short story, prices are up. Long story; limited supply.
Leafly has provided a good report on the price trends in cannabis. Cannabis is a two crop per year plant in certain climates. In an indoor grow operation, cannabis can be harvested all year long with different strains, and different plantings limited only by the space and ability to dry and cure the plant.
Some years ago, Scotts Fertilizers, yes the same people who sold you stuff to keep the crabgrass off your lawn, made it clear they were going to direct the marketing of their fertilizers to the cannabis growers in legal markets. There are other companies in this segment the Motley Fool calls ancillary companies for cannabis growers, and stock growth. A fascinating story that’s worth looking at, if you like to invest in the market!
I’m thinking about buying a little of both companies!
It’s an indisputable fact. Americans spend billions and billions of dollars on cannabis, legal and illegal. In states with a legal adult-use or even medicinal cannabis market, the numbers are staggering. Illicit weed still overtakes legal in dollars spent.
Why is this so in a state where cannabis is legal? For starters, the regulatory agencies that are tasked with creating maintaining a legal regulatory market just aren’t up to the task. They try to make it appear that cannabis is still quasi-legal, which it’s not. It’s legal. If they handled the market the same as the alcoholic beverage market, things would slowly improve. This includes growers. Some states just haven’t figure out how to deal with this new market. They’d better learn fast because if they don’t, the legal market will be dwarfed by the illegal market for years.
In states where there’s only a medicinal market, the vast majority of people who want weed are going to go to their dealer. Sad. These states are passing up on a great source of revenue. And this is revenue they could use, especially because of their economy.
There’s still a stigma attached to cannabis. It’s going to be a long time going, but it will go and cannabis will take its place among all the other things that humans do to alter their consciousness.