Seed to Sale: Understanding the Business

Cannabis businesses are growing fast as more states are becoming recreational and medical. It's time to jump on the train and join the cannabis indust...

The new-age industry of America is quickly growing as a business opportunity for entrepreneurs everywhere, though it is not as simple as saying you want a piece of the pie. There are many state rules and regulations set in place on the growing, distributing and selling of marijuana. Understanding just a small portion of the business process can help you determine whether this booming industry is for you.


The first step in turning product into profit is growing. Cannabis is now legal in 29 states, but can only be grown legally in 13 states. This means of the remaining 16 states, cannabis businesses have to find other ways of bringing the plant to their storefront. Other states, like Minnesota, New Hampshire and Delaware, don’t even allow the sale of cannabis, yet possession is legal. The legality in certain states tend to cause confusion and unless you partake in hard research, there is a chance your business could be heavily fined.

Of the states that can grow legally for profit, such as Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington, grow cannabis indoors. Growing indoors is an efficient way of making sure your plants grow to exactitude. In an indoor setting, everything is controlled. Water can be administered in specific time increments, the amount of light and types of bulbs are controlled, the soil is protected from unknown risk of bugs and animals, even the humidity can be controlled through fans and water purifiers. The precision of a controlled setting guarantees a reliable product.


Manufacturing Process

Before the green can be traded in for another green, the plant must go through drying and trimming. Sometimes private growers will also go through a curing process right after drying. Curing helps remove bacteria that has formed on the plant and also helps yield a higher-quality product, one that has a smooth finish when smoked.

After the plant dries it is ready to be trimmed. Trimming is necessary in making the plant look product ready. A customer would much rather buy a well formed, nicely cut bud rather than a leafy chunk of green. Trimming also helps to keep the bud dense so it can be broken down easily for consumption.

Legal Transportation

The transportation of cannabis from the grow-op to the store is also regulated. It is important to understand that transportation of cannabis is strictly illegal on a federal level. This is an unfortunate law for people in legal states needing cannabis, but cannot grow it due to their state laws. For example, if a patient in Arkansas needed cannabis oil to help stop seizures, they would risk prosecution of transporting that cannabis oil from Colorado to Arkansas because Arkansas does not allow growing cannabis in their state. This has become a major problem for many patients.

Though it is illegal to travel across state lines with cannabis, it is not illegal to travel inside a legal state. There are specific state rules, however, that regulate how much can be carried in a vehicle. In Colorado, the Medical Enforcement Division regulates the transportation of mass amounts of cannabis by requiring drivers to obtain a badge stating they have permission of this travel. This is put in place for the safety and regulation of Colorado as well as ruling out black market sellers.


Once the product is taken out of the grow-op, it is received by the dispensary. Dispensaries are the storefronts in which the product is sold once it has been grown, harvested, dried or cured, and trimmed. Many dispensaries own their grow operation so they don’t have to pay a percentage to an outside grower. This cuts out the middleman and gives them full profit of what they sow.

The product is then set out for sale and retail employees known as “budtenders” help customers find the product that best suits them. Budtenders are required to know a great amount of knowledge about cannabis. Different strains are sold in dispensaries and it is the bartender’s job to understand these strains, what they do and how they can help you, the customer. Many customers set their preference of strain on how they want to feel. For example, if a customer comes to the counter and asks for a product that helps them feel relaxed and calm, yet not sleepy, a budtender may suggest Bubba Kush, a popular strain known for its comforting effects.


Budtenders are also required to know the amount of THC and CBD in certain strains. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two most investigated cannabinoids and are often the two most abundant in the plant. Separating and identifying the effects of individual cannabinoids in cannabis has been difficult; some cannabinoids produce similar effects, others can produce opposite effects to each other. Cannabinoids seem to produce different effects depending on the size of the dose.

CBD is known to moderate the psychotropic effects of THC by slowing its metabolism in the body. It can enhance, suppress, or have no apparent effect on other THC effects, depending perhaps on the THC:CBD ration or route of administration. The choice of percentage depends on the customer. A person who experiences mild headaches would prefer a lower THC content with a high CBD percentage rather than a customer looking for some serious mind exploration.

Making State’s Safe

Growing, distributing and selling cannabis can be fairly simple if you understand the rules and regulations of your state. Different regulations apply to different states according to their lawmakers. Not understanding your state’s rules can cause major financial harm to your business. State law enforcers, such as Colorado’s Medical Enforcement Division (MED) and Oregon’s Liquor Control Commission, were created to help make cannabis a well-established industry that practices safe rules and regulations for its people, which is exactly what anyone wants for the cannabis industry.

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