There are currently 30 states that legalized medical marijuana and more than a dozen that have even legalized it for recreational use.
Yes, the cannabis industry is booming. In the US, the cannabis industry is approximately 10 billion dollars, and it is expected to hit 50 billion in the next ten years.
While these numbers are exciting for many, the growing industry is a new “wild west” with some areas that cause concern.
I reached out to 10 prominent female founders in the cannabis industry, for them to share the 5 most exciting things, and 5 most concerning things about this new huge industry. Here are some of the ideas that I learned.
5 Concerning Things:
No Access to Traditional Banking
Since cannabis remains illegal on the federal level, and banks are federally insured, most financial institutions will not service cannabis businesses. In states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal, dispensary owners, manufacturers, and anybody who “touches the plant”, continue to face a host of operational hurdles, including a reluctance by banks to do business with them. Aside from a huge inconvenience and the need to find creative ways to manage financial flow, payroll logistics, and payment of taxes, this also poses the tremendous personal safety risk of operating a lucrative business in cash. This lack of access to traditional banking is certainly inhibiting industry growth. On the extreme end of the spectrum, if banking services are not soon extended to the legal cannabis industry, many companies are likely to be forced out of business. – Jen Price, Founder and Managing Director of Potnt
Over-glamorizing for Minors
A little nervous about the over-glamorizing of recreational use marijuana to minors-I just don’t want us to go down the same path as tobacco where it becomes sexy and cool, and makes young kids want to try it. Also scary is edibles and kids and them not knowing that “cookie” has THC in it. – Megan Villa of Svn Space
Hundreds of businesses intend to trade cannabis in a controlled and responsible environment, how this is governed long term is a concern of ours and something we will keep a very close eye on. – Libby James, co-founder of Merchant Advice Service
Unfortunately, we are still battling against old stigmas and people should realize that this industry is moving forward with or without you. – Erin Lumley Partner at Ingrid Marketing
Product Claims — We see many of our competitors listing medical claims regarding their products, CBD and cannabis do not currently have any FDA approved drug applications. – Becky Adam, founder of Lovebud
5 Exciting Things:
This industry is incredibly progressive. The industry has made conscious efforts to support the female leaders in the space and eliminate the sexually suggestive forms of advertising and sexist hiring practices that used to be prevalent in the industry. Though this number has declined in the last 2 years, women hold a large percentage of executive and leadership positions in the cannabis space, more than most other industries. Given the nature of the industry, the medical benefits focus on overall well-being and help patients turn away from prescription medications. – Marissa Ryan, Co-Founder of VisualFizz
Write the Rules
Benefits Without the Negative Side Effects
New strains. Tons of people, more so since recreational hit, don’t enjoy getting too high and really dislike some of the side effects of cannabis. These include paranoia to anxiety to heart palpitations to loss of appetite o even increased appetite, but most consumers have traditionally accepted these side effects as just a necessary part of the ride. However, scientists have proven that we can improve an already wonderful plant. I like to think of it like they are breeding the love back into what has become a commercially driven plant — the focus of the industry has shifted to money instead of people. That’s why we now have novel cannabis that are better for you and filled with love and innovation. For example, Holy Crunch and OG Citron get you high without the negative side effects; these flowers are more like the way it used to feel when we were young, full of fun, love, and without the worry or anything negative at all. Love innovates. – Aundre Speciale, a director at Cannabis Buyers Club of Berkeley (CBCB)
To see people once incarcerated from previous cannabis convictions given freedom! – Jessi Cox CEO of Cannabistaff
Knowing that it is medicine can help people get better, not high. – Dr. Elaine Burns, founder & medical director of Southwest Medical Marijuana Evaluation Centers