So you’re ready to step into the investing game; and more specifically, you want to invest in the booming green rush – the cannabis industry in the United States. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of investment opportunities to consider today. They range from cannabis grow operations to custom cannabis strain, concentrate, and accessory lines, to body care products that are flying off the shelves through online websites and in cannabis dispensaries and stores across the nation. You can invest in cannabis social media networks, cannabis industry hiring companies, real estate purveyors, and just about anything you can think of through organizations like the ArcView Group. The secret is to find something you’re passionate about in the cannabis industry, and somehow work to make it better, more accessible, or easy for other people to use. One of the first steps cannabis industry investors face is determining whether a company is legit – this is not just a required piece of cannabis investment, but necessary to keeping your investment safe and determining what the local and federal laws are for the business you are investing in.
The Case of Cannacea’s Fake Business License
If you don’t believe that fraudulent licensing happens, you’d better read this. In Oregon in 2014, the state’s first fraud investigation got underway with Cannacea, an Oregon medical marijuana dispensary that was approved for Tisha Siler’s business. The letter Siler received approved her application for the dispensary license with flattering language, and stated that seven licenses would be dispensed to Siler “without bureaucratic hassle,” basically allowing the dispensary to being selling its products before other dispensaries in the area. The letter was a fake, despite its very convincing letterhead and cannabis-industry-speak. Siler hired Green Rush Consulting, LLC, an established firm specializing in dispensary training services, business development, state license applications, and cultivation center development. Cannacea was fined by the state of Oregon for giving away free pre-rolls and concentrates without IDing recipients in the parking lot on opening day, as well. Green Rush claims no responsibility for the false licensure and Cannacea’s current limbo status, believing that the contractor and the dispensary owner are the ones at fault. At least four cannabis investors received false licensing claims about Cannacea, as well. Green Rush Consulting should have checked Cannacea’s licensure, as should the investors. Here’s how to go about checking that licensure for your own current or future investments in the cannabis industry.
Confirming a Cannabis Business’ Licensure
The first step in this simple process (one that should be second nature for any cannabis consulting company like Green Rush) is to find out which state the cannabis company you want to invest in is located and operates in. Currently, recreational cannabis is legal in four states (Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska) and the District of Colombia. The November ballot could hold the key to recreational and medical legalization in many other states, includes California, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Every recreationally-legal state must maintain lists of all licensees within its borders for public use. The lists are all available here for Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. (I recommend that you call the D.C. Department of Health to validate a cannabis business’ legal licensure, since their website it a bit confusing and it doesn’t appear to have a list like the other states.) In most cases, validity of a company’s license is literally that simple, which is why a national consulting firm like Green Rush should have taken the five seconds out of their day to verify their client’s licensure. I mean, really – there is no excuse for not being informed in this case. So – if you’re thinking about investing in the cannabis business, take Cannacea’s situation into consideration and check up on the companies you want to invest it. It’s likely that with different state laws and the speed with which laws change in this budding industry, many more people will be defrauded by people just looking to make a quick buck. Do yourself a favor and contact the state organization responsible for licensing and make sure that everything is on the up and up before you invest.