A Maturing Marijuana Industry Prepares for the Future

Amid Record Sales, Pre-Election Seminar to Explore More Sophisticated Business Operations

With more than $1.4 billion in sales in Washington since legalization in 2014, and five additional states considering new legal marijuana markets, several veterans of the recreational cannabis industry will gather next month in Seattle to discuss how they are planning to compete in a multi-billion-dollar industry that virtually did not exist just three years ago.

Dozens of cannabis processors, producers, retailers and ancillary businesses are set to meet on November 3rd at the downtown Seattle office of Garvey Schubert Barer (GSB) to discuss how they can operate in a more sophisticated environment than ever before. The agenda includes a range of pertinent topics, such as how to work with a growing and more experienced marijuana workforce, making smart decisions about human resources, managing financial risk and insurance, and navigating the patchwork of ever-changing regulations in every state where a cannabis business might operate.  Two enforcement officers from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board will also be present, and they will cover the hot regulatory issues and answer questions from cannabis industry members.

“Stunning sales figures and the prospect of more states legalizing cannabis means that the days of the dynamic, bootstrapped marijuana startup are giving way to companies that have to operate just like any other business,” said Emily Gant, attorney and Co-Chair of Cannabis Industry Group at GSB and moderator of the Seminar’s opening session. “I think this next election is going to open a lot of eyes that the cannabis industry really is becoming a major force in the economy.”

Polls are showing that the business of recreational marijuana is set for a nationwide expansion, and the prospect of new customers, new competitors and new partners has many in the cannabis business realizing that their industry is reaching a new level of maturity.

“It’s only natural that we are starting to hear the first credible efforts of cannabis workers looking to organize and possibly join unions,” said Jared Van Kirk, attorney and Co-Chair of the Labor & Employment Practice Group at GSB and one of the Seminar’s presenters. “We’re looking forward to a discussion that focuses on the human resources challenges we’ve already seen, and how to prepare for the business consequences of a larger, smarter and a more prepared workforce in the marijuana industry.”

The Seminar, organized by Seattle-based law firm Garvey Schubert Barer, accounting firm ACT Resources and Mosaic Insurance Alliance, will offer expanding cannabis businesses a chance to discuss growing pains and how to stay competitive, from the perspective of individual businesses and the industry at large.

“In the beginning we saw folks enter the marijuana business market and make all the right moves, only to be derailed when a national vendor or the insurance market could not meet their business needs or was unable to make sense of rapidly changing market conditions,” said Norm Ives of Mosaic Insurance and speaker at the Seminar. “As competitive as this industry has become, we have to keep convening so that business operations evolve to capitalize on the most current market conditions and become just as competent or sophisticated as other industries have developed over decades or longer.”

“The pace of change in this industry isn’t likely to let up,” said Dani Espinda of Act Resources. “The regulations faced by marijuana entrepreneurs in each state create unique challenges, and the expansion of recreational marijuana after this next election is going to have a real impact on what strategies will make for a successful business.”
The half-day seminar will include interactive discussions between attendees and speakers, followed by a cocktail reception.


About the Event:



2016 Cannabis Business Seminar: Transitioning from Infancy to Maturity


Garvey Schubert Barer

1191 Second Avenue, 6th floor

Seattle, WA 98101-2939


Thursday, November 3, 2016

1:00 – 4:30 pm, cocktail reception to follow




Space is limited! RSVP to Bonnie Chung at bchung@gsblaw.com or at 206-816-1487


Emily Harris Gant, attorney and Co-Chair of Cannabis Industry Group, Garvey Schubert Barer

Andy I. Aley, attorney and Co-Chair of Cannabis Industry Group, Garvey Schubert Barer



Jared Van Kirk, attorney and Co-Chair of Labor and Employment Practice Group, Garvey Schubert Barer

Michael S. Brunet, attorney and Member of Labor and Employment Practice Group, Garvey Schubert Barer

Dani Espinda, CPA, Tax and Cannabis Business Consultant, Principal, Act Resources, PLLC

Norm Ives, Cannabis Program Manager & Commercial Broker, Mosaic Insurance, LLC

Officer Joseph Bussman, Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board

Lieutenant Lorn Richey, Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board