Cannabis: Big Business vs. Little Business

Posted: April 17, 2013 in Cannabis, Law

Washington state’s cannabis consultant to the Liquor Control Board is Harvard graduate, Mark Kleiman and his think-tank, Botec Analysis Corporation. Mr. Kleiman and his team will help the state develop the legal cannabis industry. There is concern that policies implemented by the State of Washington for cannabis will allow corporations to move into the state and operate, putting small cannabis businesses operating under RCW 69.51a and I502 out of business. I have already seen many out of state companies move to Washington State so they can open a cannabis business. The question on whether the cannabis industry will develop into a model similar to Washington’s special beer brews, or will it become a corporation like Coors, Budweiser or Starbucks will remain unanswered until the landscape is developed by the state.

There are also many misinformed people in the state of Washington who believe that because cannabis is now legal in the State of Washington, they are within their right to open a cannabis business. This couldn’t be further from the truth. First, while it is legal in the state of Washington to have in possession up to 24 ounces of cannabis, it remains federally illegal to 1) buy the product and 2) operate a cannabis business without proper recommendation(s). Until the state develops and implements clear restrictions on cannabis, people should be aware that they may be at risk.

The cannabis business is not cheap; it’s an expensive enterprise if you’re going to produce quality products. The laws are complicated because this is a new industry, and the state is still in the development process. One thing is for sure, you will need a cannabis business license to operate and you must qualify to secure one. For now, people should educate themselves before spending thousands of dollars on a business they may have to close because they’re not qualified to get a license.


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