Avid cannabis enthusiast, not to mention the owner of Colorado’s first African American owned marijuana dispensary, Wanda James, recently enlightened BlackEnterprise.com on the ‘whats and hows’ of entering the booming, novel marijuana industry. Check out what she had to say.
BlackEnterprise.com: How would you advise someone who is looking to invest in the cannabis industry, but has absolutely no clue on how to get started or what to invest in?
James: When I think about 2009 and 2016 the industries could not be more different. In 2009, when I started, there were no rules. Everything we did in 2009 we took from the idea of businesses that owned previously. When more dispensaries started opening, then they went back to the legislatures and started enacting different rules and regulations until we had the system that is in place today—which is highly specialized seed to sell tracking. It’s pretty intense these days.
How would you advise someone who is looking to invest in the industry but really has no clue whatsoever about how to get started?
There is no one answer as to how one does this. Everyone has different resources, different circles. A lot of times people want to know how to come up with 6, 10 or 20 million dollars to be able to do this. It’s not about one person being able to do this. It’s about what kind of team can you put together. Just like any other business, work in the industry, get to know people in the industry, network in the industry. Find your expertise in one part of it then find other experts to partner with.
What is the likelihood that someone with little to no ‘know how,’ but with great passion for the marijuana industry, can find business/financial success in this blooming industry?
I think what we’re seeing now is that the industry is growing in so many amazing ways, so bloom where you’re planted. Even part of what you do, currently, works in the cannabis industry. For example, if you work in PR & marketing, there are now firms who are just dedicated to PR & marketing for cannabis.
What 5 tips could you offer to the novice cannabis entrepreneur?
- Learn the plant.
- Try the plant.
- Get involved with conventions, expos, and your local normal.
- Get political.
- Don’t let anybody talk you out of it.
What can attendees expect to learn from your “Is legal Marijuana a New Frontier for Black Business” panel with Scott Greiper at the 2016 Entrepreneur Summit?
My goal is to get people to bring down the walls and start to be open about this. If white folks are making a billion dollars in Colorado and our people are telling us not to get involved, that doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s happening now and we need young bright minds involved.
REGISTER NOW to hear more from Wanda James, including information on how to gain entry and see profit in the marijuana industry. Be sure to REGISTER NOW for the 2016 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, May 4-7 at the Loews Hotel Miami, Miami, Florida.