Breaking into any industry is hard work, the marijuana business is no exception.  Leafly, the world’s largest cannabis information site, polled existing cannabis business owners about what it’s like to open up shop.  Asking about what worked and what didn’t during the initial stages of development, these seemed to be the top things to keep in mind:

Legal Requirements

Among the business owners, 44% said staying compliant with state and local laws was most important.  Each state has unique laws, and communities have an enormous amount of control over restrictions and rules.  Since verifying that owners and employees are adhere to all legal requirements is the highest priority, poll respondents recommended consulting an attorney that specializes in cannabis law.  Tax specialists can also help navigate the confusing legal and tax laws.


A crucial part of maintaining branding, reputation, and customer base, advertising can also be complex.  State laws differ, and it is important to be aware what local guidelines are.  For instance, Illinois does not allow health clinics to advertise dispensaries while Michigan prohibits advertising anything publicly visible from any street, sidewalk, park, or other public places.


One of the most crucial components to surviving the first year in business is guaranteeing the right amount of startup capital.  Businesses often see little income in the first months, so overestimating financial overhead is a healthy bet for owners and potential investors.


Something that sets dispensaries or retailers apart is knowledge.  A well-educated staff is a must have, and some states may even require training.  Knowing what products and strains to recommend to various patients and consumers can go a long way, but employees should also be up to date on state laws.


Sustaining a reliable supply of quality cannabis may seem like a no brainer, but business relationships with others in the cannabis industry is essential.  For example, a provisioning center owner should be sure their growers are aware of any changing pesticide laws.  If a state bans a certain pesticide after a major harvest, business owners could lose thousands of dollars in contaminated product.

Business Model

A well thought out business plan is another key to survival.  In many states, a business model must be presented in order to obtain a license.  Knowing where product is coming from, having clear security measures, and well-defined estimations of losses and gains are all things entrepreneurs should be mindful of.  Whether or not it was designed by a professional, a strong business plan could be the factor that keeps new business owners successful during their first few months.


One of the most important, but often overlooked aspects of owning a successful business involves securing proper Michigan cannabis insurance coverage for your operations. We recommend reaching out to the team at for help.


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