It is the week between Christmas and New Years, and the end of another whirlwind year for those of us on the front lines of legal cannabis. Our fledgling industry has grown rapidly over its first two years: hundreds of new companies, thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions in new tax revenues have been created in “the fastest growing industry in America.”
That growth has brought with it new challenges for business pioneers ballsy enough to be part of the first wave. Financial concerns weigh heaviest, as lack of access to commercial capital is literally starving our industry and its players. You can see it everywhere – retailers unable to stock sufficient inventory, producer/processors who can’t invest in the proper organization, branding or marketing. Almost everyone in the industry wears too hats and juggles too many balls, all the result of lack of resources.
For too many canna-businesses, there is more opportunity than bandwidth; more projects than people. More regulations and machinations than most managers can keep up with, and so the result here in Washington State most of the businesses we touch are ending this year feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Profit remains elusive, and when it is generated, federal tax law makes it hard to keep. The so-called Green Rush is not yet minting many Pot Barons.
Banking. Taxation. Pesticides. Testing. Technology. Compliance. As the industry moves from start up to ramp up mode, the needs of MJBA members are evolving. To better serve those needs, MJBA is expanding and refining our member benefits for 2016. Here is a bit of what we’ve got planned for the new year:
Information. Community. Opportunity. The Marijuana Business Association will continue to deliver on our mission: to serve as the leading provider of reliable business intelligence, professional community, and credible opportunity for participants in legal cannabis. Nominated again for the second year in a row as Dope Magazine’s Cannabis Association of the Year, we have enhanced the value of MJBA membership, while keeping our fees reasonable and our programs accessible. Business membership starts at just $250.
MJBA Meetups: We will continue to host regular community-building MJBA Meetups in 2016 across Washington (Bellingham, Seattle, South Sound, Spokane) Oregon, Colorado and New York (we hosted more than 60 Meetups in 2015). We are tweaking the format for MJBA Meetups in 2016 to provide more in-depth and specialized presentations, seminars and community networking. MJBA Meetups in 2016 will be members-only events (members have guest privileges), with a small Meetup Fee: $10. Limited Sponsorship and Vending opportunities are available, and essential for sustaining our grassroots networking efforts. Contact MJBA President Morgan for sponsorship opportunities: firstname.lastname@example.org.
MJBA/Front Runner Seminars: The best in marketplace data and business intelligence, MJBA Professional Seminars begin with a deep dive into the numbers, courtesy our MJ Research partner Front Runner, powered by TetraTrak. MJBA and Front Runner enhance the official marketplace data with business intelligence and original insights from industry leaders. These insights are then disseminated via our MJBA Producer, Processor, Retailer and VIP Panels, featured presentations, and white papers.
The legal cannabis marketplace has evolved well beyond the bud, and today Edibles, Topicals, Concentrates and Oils represent the fastest-growing segments for Washington’s legal cannabis industry. Our first MJBA Professional Seminar of 2016, “Striking Oil: Concentrates, Edibles and Topicals,” will take place on January 21st, 1-6PM, at the Red Lion in Tacoma, WA, and focus on the non-flower cannabis segment. Reserve your spot today: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/striking-oil-the-business-of-edibles-topicals-and-concentrates-tickets-20114229201?
MJBA/Canna-Ventures Marketing Course: Brand building and marketing will be key for those companies looking to create differentiation in an increasingly commoditized marketplace. MJBA has teamed up with CannaVentures to present a series of interactive branding workshops. The first one will take place on February 11th, 2016. A limited number of canna-marketers will first complete an interactive tool, results from which will be used to create tailored materials for the brand workshop.
Marijuana Channel One: Our MJChannel One in YouTube s home to our original video content. Wink in Weed, TwicebakedinWA, HigherGroundTV, live MJ Events, canna-business interviews and more. Subscribe FREE:
In the coming days, we’ll be announcing some big news, so please stay tuned. Here are some hints at what’s coming down the pike:
MJBA Women’s Alliance: Featured in major press outlets like Newsweek, National Geographic, and Marijuana Ventures, The MJBA Women’s Alliance is spinning out as its own organization, with separate membership program and its own proprietary APP. Stay tuned for details.
MJBA.net: We’re busy working on our new Member and Network portal, which will put key industry information, resources and contacts at your fingertip. Watch for our re-launch in Q1.