So far, 29 states have at least legalized medical marijuana and eight have legalized the use of the plant recreationally. With more states having legislation to legalize either medically or recreationally on the ballots, many people might be thinking about starting their own marijuana business.
Starting any business requires knowledge of the specifics of what you intend to market, but a marijuana business is in a class all of its own. You will be required to have knowledge of a great many factors in order to be successful.

You Must Understand the Specifics of the Industry and Your Customers

The marijuana industry is vastly complex. There are dozens, if not hundreds of products on the market above and beyond the various strains you will be selling. From bud to edibles to tinctures, you will have to have at least some knowledge of everything. You will also have to have knowledge of the cultivation unless you plan to hire someone in that venue or rely on outside growers.
When it comes to the customers, you will need to have an intimate knowledge of what their needs are so they can be met. Medical marijuana patients often have various needs which can be treated only with the knowledge of varying strains as well as knowledge of the various cannabinoids and how they can affect and treat certain conditions. For recreational customers, it is a good idea to know what they are seeking to be able to recommend various products.

Know Your State (and Local) Regulations

Every state has laws on the books regarding the growing and sale of marijuana. Keeping in mind that it is still illegal on a federal level, you must have intimate knowledge of the rules and regulations your business will have to navigate and adhere to. It doesn’t stop at a state level. Local jurisdictions can also have their own laws and regulations that you must know and abide by in order to be successful, and above all, remain legal. Hiring a lawyer is a must, especially one knowledgeable about the ins and outs of cannabis industry.

Research Your Market

Is your state strictly medical? Or will you be serving both medical and recreational customers? How many competitors will you be vying with to get those customer’s dollars? Do your potential customers prefer combustion methods or do they lean more towards vaping? Is there a market for edibles, drinkables, topicals, and tinctures? How diverse do you wish your cannabis business to be? These are all important things that you must consider in order to be a successful cannabis business owner.

Build an Online Presence

In a world where we have sites like Weedmaps and Leafly, having an online presence is important. While it would be illegal to sell online in some jurisdictions, especially across state lines, having a domain that your customers can access to see what you offer can bring increased foot traffic. There is also the fact that some products, like hemp-based CBD oil, are legal to sell and distribute online that can increase your market. An increasing online presence with right branding can especially be beneficial in jurisdictions where delivery services are available. Connecting your website to other dispensary review sites like Weedmaps, Leafly, and Eaze can help to expand your business.

Keep Your Data Organized

In medical marijuana states, a dispensary must have every patient’s medical marijuana card and, in some cases, identification on file. Keeping a record of purchases and sales is only the beginning. You will also have to keep up with paperwork on employees – some states require background checks for all dispensary workers.
Because marijuana is still outlawed on a federal level, many banks will refuse to work with a cannabis business. This means that you may be faced with running a cash-only or cash-heavy business. Bookkeeping will be essential.
Many states also have regulations stating that each sale must include the amounts of the various cannabinoids in the products as well as everything used in the cultivation and making of the product. Keeping all of this organized will be to your benefit should the feds decide to investigate.

Build Trust

Let’s face it. Even though a majority of Americans support the legalization of at least medical marijuana, there is still a certain stigma attached to the consumption. It’s no different for those in the business of selling cannabis and cannabis products. Because of this, it is important that you establish and maintain trust in your employees and your customers. Customers need the security of knowing that their information – from their medical conditions to their purchases will be kept confidential, even if you track such things.

Build Your Brand

Nothing is more important, and in some cases, more recognizable than a brand. Everyone has heard of Nike, Facebook, and Walmart, for example. Brand recognition is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal when it comes to building a successful business. Not only does it help with an online presence, it can also benefit you on social media as well. Consider an eye-catching and simple logo that uniquely represents your business.

Explore Social Media

While both Facebook and Google have policies preventing marijuana businesses from securing paid advertising, there is nothing stopping your store from having a Facebook page or your site from utilizing search engine optimization to bring more traffic to your online presence, and hopefully, your brick and mortar store as well. Using avenues like Google, Facebook, and Twitter can help get your brand out there and bring in the business you will need.
These are just a few things that anyone looking to getting involved in the cannabis industry needs to know and utilize in order to build a successful business.

Author's Bio: 

A passionate writer and a blogger. She started freelancing as a way to connect to other people, to reach to their hearts and make a difference with her word. The blog was born out of a pure desire to connect… to have the freedom of writing what really matters, what actually makes a difference.