If you are curious about getting involved in the marijuana business now that it's legal in our state, you may have no idea where to start. Lucky for you, there's a school you can attend. This weekend in Seattle, Washington Cannabis Institute president George Boyadjian is leading a seminar so people can learn about how to get started.
"I contacted CPAs, accountants, insurance agents, some bankers and everyone was willing to come over to the seminar and share their expertise with people about this business. What they're going to need, rules they have to follow, how to pay taxes and those types of things."
George has been leading medical marijuana business classes for the past four years in California, Arizona and Nevada, but I-502 will be a whole other ballgame. Partly because the laws haven't been established yet. The Liquor Control Board has until December to establish them, but a few representatives will be at this weekend's seminar to answer questions.
David Kerr is a Seattle attorney who works with George, "You can't tell them specifically what the rules will be around the I-502 cannabis business. But you can give people some general ideas about what they need to prepare. We know what the basic requirements for a license will be. We know how you need to set up and structure a business so you can be prepared for that. We can help and advise people about forming business plans in relative to starting an I-502 cannabis business."
Attendees also learn about growing techniques, cooking with marijuana, and go home with a roster full of contacts.
David says the Liquor Control Board is hoping to get the laws ironed out before December.
"They've just announced that they've hired their new cannabis consultant," said David. "Having someone with some level of expertise will be helpful for the Liquor Control Board. If they could meet their timelines, they would like to start issuing producer licenses, people who would grow marijuana, as early as August of this year. Anticipating that they would then have a supply of marijuana available so that the processors and retailers could hopefully be licensed and be ready to move into the market by the end of the year."
George says the law won't allow one business to both grow and sell the pot, you can only do one. There are lots of complicated things to figure out.
"Right now, for example, businesses in the marijuana business can't open up a bank account," Davis shared. "How are you going to set up a $2 billion market, that's going to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes, when the businesses have trouble opening a bank account? We have to overcome that hurdle."
George says his seminars are full of serious entrepreneurs, many who own businesses in other industries, who are excited to get involved in something brand new.
"To get into the marijuana business, you're going to have to approach it just as if you were starting any business," said David. "And you're going to have to have a business plan, a finance plan and some capital in order to do it. This isn't going to be something that people just walk into the next day."
The seminar costs $300, an amazing deal considering all the legal advice, and it's Saturday and Sunday.
"From 10 a.m. to 4:20 p.m.," says George.
Of course it ends at 4:20.
George is a contractor who got into the medical marijuana industry when his business collapsed in 2008. He says his goal is to help people succeed, without breaking any laws.
"People coming to the seminar, one of the first thing I tell people is this is not a way for you to make your illegal business legal," George said. "This isn't a way for you to use the law to break the law. This is incentive for people who want to follow the rule book, who want to be model citizens. Be the people who are the leaders of this industry, be the face of this."
Find more information on George's seminar here.