Category Archives: cannabis business

Aurora, Colorado joins in on the Colorado Marijuana Experiment.

Admin; Aurora, Colorado joins in on the fun! A couple new marijuana shops, another on its way and more to come. Aurora, Colorado grabs business from travelers coming east and hops on board with the big Colorado experiment.

Got ‘em if you smoke ‘em, Aurora — retail pot shops open at last

“I bought a pre-rolled (joint) with hash and kief. Just to see what they have,” he said.

By Rachel Sapin, Staff writer, Updated: October 14, 2014 1:53 pm

AURORA | This bud’s for you, Aurora.

While Denver and select cities in the state have been selling pot and marijuana edibles since the first of the year, Aurora joins the great experiment in ending marijuana prohibition today. The city has been developing guidelines for retail shops and grow houses for more than year, finally creating a system that permits 24 pot shops spread across the city’s six city council wards.

First to open for business Monday was Euflora at 6260 Gun Club Road. It’s the first store to sell recreational marijuana to the public in Aurora and the only licensed store in Ward VI.

Marijuana

Employees at Colorado Harvest Company weave marijuana plants through a Screen of Green (SCOG) to help them grow to their full potential Sept. 25 in Denver. Owner Tim Cullen will be opening a location in Aurora off of South Parker Road and Yale Avenue. Cullen and 12 other marijuana business owners that were awarded licenses to operate in Aurora earlier this year did not open doors by Oct. 1, the first day recreational marijuana sales were allowed in the city. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

Starbuds

Brian Ruden, owner of Starbuds, watches as his opening soon sign is hung Sept. 15 at Del Mar Circle and East Colfax Avenue. The city required him to take down the banner for the new business. City of Aurora spokeswoman Julie Patterson said Ruden’s store falls in a pedestrian district that does not allow even temporary banners as part of its design standards. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

Colorado Harvest Company

A deteriorating strip mall near South Parker Road and Yale Avenue will be the new location for one of Aurora’s recreational marijuana shops. Tim Cullen, owner of Colorado Harvest Company, is spending over $1 million as the new property owner to renovate the eyesore that includes faded signs and a few faux bricks dangling tenuously from an awning above. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

Colorado Harvest Company

A deteriorating strip mall near South Parker Road and Yale Avenue will be the new location for one of Aurora’s recreational marijuana shops. Tim Cullen, owner of Colorado Harvest Company, is spending over $1 million as the new property owner to renovate the eyesore that includes faded signs and a few faux bricks dangling tenuously from an awning above. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

Colorado Harvest Company

A deteriorating strip mall near South Parker Road and Yale Avenue will be the new location for one of Aurora’s recreational marijuana shops. Tim Cullen, owner of Colorado Harvest Company, is spending over $1 million as the new property owner to renovate the eyesore that includes faded signs and a few faux bricks dangling tenuously from an awning above. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

Euflora co-owner Jamie Perino, who also owns a store on the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver, said she lucked out with the former Bank of the West location.

“The building really was ready to go. We had to do no build out whatsoever,” she said.

For that prime location, of which there are few in southeast Aurora, Perino said she spent well over $1 million and purchased the bank, a deal she couldn’t negate even if she didn’t receive a license.

One of the first customers to purchase from her store Monday morning was a man who said he drove all the way from Kansas City to check it out. Aurora has long been thought of as a potential cash cow for retail marijuana. It’s the first city selling legal weed for drivers coming in from the east.  “We have a huge advantage coming into this ward,” Perino said.

She had hoped to open her new store by the time sales were allowed on Oct. 1. But she said the delay resulted from waiting for a new filtration system to be installed and a few requests city staff had asked her implement. “They wanted carbon filters to mitigate the smell of marijuana,” she said.

Perino describes Euflora as “the Apple store of cannabis.” The store offers a unique experience, with customers receiving a digital device upon entering that can be used to scan the barcodes on products they want to purchase in the store. Customers pay for their scanned products at a counter in the back.

Next to each strain that sits in a glass jar on long tables is a tablet that customers can swipe through to learn more about the product. “Customers are even able to do reviews of the products,” said Brittany Sansburn, a store manage who was walking the floor to greet customers and explain the technology. “They can learn about the medical effects, and the recreational effects. They can also open the jars and smell them.”

Lassana Toure, 21,  lives in the area and said he used to go to Denver for his purchases. “It’s about time. It’s convenient. I’m happy about that,” he said.  For his first Aurora purchase he decided not to opt for anything too ambitious.

“I bought a pre-rolled (joint) with hash and kief. Just to see what they have,” he said.

On Friday Terrapin Care Station, the first recreational marijuana shop to open its doors in Boulder last spring, laid claim to being the first marijuana shop in Aurora to receive its certificate of occupancy. The shop is located at 11091 East Mississippi Avenue, tucked away in a shopping center behind a sign store. The store is licensed, but it won’t open for pot sales to the public until Wednesday, according to store owners.

“We have to orient new employees that we’ve hired, and we’re going through the benefit administration process,” he said. “We on-boarding them with our payroll system, and training them to work with customers for Wednesday’s opening.”

Aurora’s marijuana business has been a long time coming, and both city officials and marijuana entrepreneurs are expecting big things.

A vacant, peeling pink strip mall that sits at a busy intersection off of Parker Road and East Yale Avenue could soon be home to a craft coffee shop or a funky pizza parlor if Tim Cullen has anything to do with it.

Cullen is spending over $1 million as the new property owner to renovate the eyesore that includes faded sign and window displays as well as faux bricks that dangle precariously from an awning. He also plans to convert one of the units into a high-end retail cannabis store, replete with a steampunk aesthetic, custom wood cabinetry and concrete floors.

“We would like it to be the anchor of the strip center,” he said. Cullen, who already owns two retail cannabis shops in the state, said he doesn’t plan for this space to be open for business earlier than December with all the work that needs to be done. His store, like most in Aurora, aren’t yet ready to open.

Jason Batchelor, Aurora’s director of finance, said city officials expected it would take longer for the stores to open in Aurora. He said most of the stores are moving into older buildings that are being repurposed, and the owners are also working to meet stringent requirements imposed by the city that include installing enhanced filtration and security systems.

“Of the 21 licenses we’ve awarded, each have their own circumstances,” he said. “For instance, two of the new stores are under construction. Those are going to have a longer process. For the remaining ones, in some of the buildings there might be existing tenants they need to help relocate. Others require more significant renovations. That’s obviously a big undertaking.”

Denver started its first day of recreational marijuana sales last January with 18 shops open for business the first day sales were allowed in the state. All of those stores were already selling medical marijuana and just needed to comply with new regulations for recreational sales. That required separating the medical inventory from the recreational inventory.

“If they served medical marijuana to patients 21 and older, they just needed to make sure their different point of sale and tracking systems were in place. In Aurora, everybody is starting from the ground up,”said Meg Collins, executive director of Colorado’s Cannabis Business Alliance.

Brian Ruden, who is in the process of opening his cannabis shop in a former convenience store at Del Mar Circle and East Colfax Avenue, said he wasn’t pleased when the city required him to take down a bright white banner for the new business. City of Aurora spokeswoman Julie Patterson said Ruden’s store falls in a pedestrian district that does not allow even temporary banners as part of its design standards.

He was hoping to open his store by mid-October, but said the city is first requiring him to completely redo the parking lot, reface the entire building, build trash enclosures and install landscaping on the side of the building. “I was planning on doing most of those things anyway. My intention was to build out the store first, open, and over the next few months, get those other projects done,” he said.

He’s now not sure when he’ll open for business, but said he’s working with the city on completing the renovations.

“I don’t mind the expense. What I mind is the delay,” he said.

Source:  http://www.aurorasentinel.com/news/got-em-smoke-em-aurora-retail-pot-shops-open-last/

Marijuana Advertising takes root

cannatinc

Admin; As Marijuana products fly off the shelf creating gobs of tax money, and profit… advertising wants a piece of the action as well.

Advertising Marijuana Part I:  Medicine Heals The Ailing Press

by Judith Stamps

8 Sep, 2014

Wherever medical marijuana has taken root, officially speaking, ads for the plant have been bringing new life to newspapers.1 The Colorado Springs Independent (CSI) has recently put out a 48-page medical marijuana ad supplement, featuring retailers like  “Mile High Mikes,” “Happy Buddha,” and “Healthy Connections.” Village Voice Media now issues two advertising supplements: the “Chronic-le” in Denver, and “The Rolling Paper” in San Francisco and Orange County.  The Denver Post is doing well.   So are others.  The new ads are not restricted to marijuana.  There are spin-off advertisments for tax and business lawyers, builders, real estate agents, and security services.  CBS has called the phenomenon a new “cash crop” for the press.  No kidding.  Each full-page ad costs $1,100. The CSI has recently hired a new full time reporter and promoted three part-time reporters to full-time positions.   They’ve also hired a dedicated marijuana reporter.  This may turn out to be more than a cash crop.  It may become a renaissance.

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Cannabis is the growth industry

SMALL BUSINESS

Start-Ups Seize Marijuana Opportunities as Big Companies Hold Back

By EILENE ZIMMERMANAUG. 6, 2014

When Garett Fortune’s brother was found to have cancer in early 2013, it was so advanced that all he could do was to try to live out the remainder of his life in as little pain and discomfort as possible. That meant taking about 30 pills a day, Mr. Fortune said — until his brother tried marijuana.

“I saw him go from 30 pills a day to almost zero,” he said. “It helped his appetite and the nausea. He had a way better quality of life at the end than he would have without the cannabis. It made me a proponent of the industry.”

It also gave Mr. Fortune the idea for a business. With more states legalizing marijuana for medical uses — and, in Colorado and Washington, recreational ones — Mr. Fortune identified one of the industry’s challenges: packaging. The old standby, the resealable plastic bag, was not sufficiently effective, especially for a regulated industry, and Mr. Fortune already owned OdorNo, a company that made odor-proof bags for human and animal waste.

Mr. Fortune proposed a new product, odor-proof and child-resistant marijuana bags, to OdorNo’s advisory board. He expected the members to laugh him out of the room, but they did not. “Every single one of them told me: ‘This is the biggest opportunity on the planet right now. Follow that.’ ”

Photo

Garett Fortune is chief executive of FunkSac, a company that makes odor-proof, child-resistant bags for packaging marijuana.CreditDavid Maxwell for The New York Times

In May he licensed out production and distribution of OdorNo, and he and his team began building FunkSac in Denver. Although FunkSac bags are awaiting government approval, Mr. Fortune said he had hundreds of thousands of orders from cultivators, dispensaries and wholesalers. The company plans to begin delivering them this month and estimates it will have first-year revenue of about $2 million.

Mr. Fortune said he had been contacted by dispensaries in 17 of the 22 states where medical marijuana was legal. “Right now,” he said, “it’s like drinking from a fire hose.”

To many, today’s cannabis industry resembles a modern-day Gold Rush. Troy Dayton, co-founder and chief executive of the ArcView Group in San Francisco, a network of 250 high-net-worth investors that backs cannabis start-ups, said more than 30 early-stage companies contact it every week. In the last year, he said, the group sent about $12 million in funding to 14 companies.

The size of the legal cannabis industry in the United States, measured by sales of the plant, was $1.5 billion in 2013, according to ArcView, which projects it will reach $2.6 billion in 2014 and $10 billion by 2018 — figures that do not include the growing numbers of ancillary businesses. The entire industry is dominated by small businesses, Mr. Dayton said, both because it is so new and because marijuana’s legality remains murky. Banks, for example, have been reluctant to take deposits or make loans to dispensaries because the drug is still illegal under federal law.

“You can’t have a national business,” Mr. Dayton said, because the laws vary by state. Opportunities for small businesses also exist because the stigma associated with the industry has discouraged bigger companies from getting involved. “You can’t find another industry growing at this clip that doesn’t have any major players,” he said. “That gives the little guy a chance to make a run at this.”

That potential has spawned a wide array of cannabis start-ups — many incorporating novel technologies.Potbotics in New York City has raised almost $3 million from friends and family and has three cannabis-related products in the works, including a “virtual budtender” known as Potbot that it expects to be available for sale next year. A budtender is a dispensary worker who is knowledgeable about and sells marijuana; Potbot is a robot with a tablet-size monitor that is meant to replace the budtender.

The plan is to place Potbot robots in dispensaries and medical facilities where marijuana patients can ask questions and get information. “Dispensary budtenders almost always have an agenda — they are trying to sell what they have most in their stock,” said David Goldstein, a founder of the company, which was started in October. “We created a software and technology platform that is able to talk to patients and educate them about what strains are actually best for their ailments.”

Photo

Although the bags are awaiting government approval, Mr. Fortune said he had hundreds of thousands of orders. CreditDavid Maxwell for The New York Times

A San Diego start-up, Herbalizer, makes a small, sleek vaporizer with a heating system that took three years and two engineers to develop. Its co-founder and chief executive, Josh Young, previously designed advanced NASA computer systems and military programs; Bob Pratt, a co-founder and the chief technology officer, was a designer of stealth bomber radar systems. And yet, Mr. Young said, the technology behind the Herbalizer “has been the greatest challenge of our lives.”

The vaporizer heats up in seconds and uses a 32-megahertz processor, a 300-watt halogen bulb and a temperature sensor to release active compounds in the plant selectively, without creating smoke. Ninety percent of Herbalizer’s customers use it for marijuana, Mr. Young said, although drug paraphernalia laws prevent the device from being marketed for that purpose (it is sold instead for use with herbs like peppermint and lavender). The company expects first-year revenue of more than $2 million.

Fund-raising has been tricky for Herbalizer and similar companies. Traditional investors remain leery, said Christian Groh, a partner and the chief operations officer at Privateer Holdings, a private equity firm in Seattle that invests in cannabis start-ups. “In the U.S., marijuana remains a Schedule I narcotic, so you still have this outlaw mentality within the community,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of exuberance now, but I don’t think we’re at the point where we’ll see real institutional money or a Fortune 500 company making a play in this space. Not yet.”

In 2011, Privateer bought Leafly, a Seattle start-up that provides consumer ratings and reviews of marijuana strains, dispensaries and recreational shops. Most dispensaries carry 20 to 50 strains, Mr. Groh said, and the lack of standardization and consistency is a big issue. Leafly has about 80,000 reviews in its system.

“That information has to come from the community right now, because there is no WebMD for marijuana,” said Cy Scott, one of Leafly’s founders. The company also offers tools for dispensaries that let them manage inventory, update menus online and respond to reviews. Dispensaries and recreational shops pay a monthly subscription fee of $200 to $2,000 a month, said Mr. Scott, who expects revenue this year of $3.6 million.

SpeedWeed, a Los Angeles delivery service, allows customers to place an order online or by phone and have it delivered — depending on traffic — within 45 minutes. Although there are hundreds of marijuana delivery services in Los Angeles, AJ Gentile, a founder, said SpeedWeed was the largest. “Delivery services here are typically guys driving around in their car with a big box of weed,” he said.

Mr. Gentile said that SpeedWeed worked only with cultivators its legal team had vetted and that along with its delivery service, it planned to sell proprietary software to dispensaries nationwide. He estimated that the company had 20,000 legal customers and that revenue would double this year, up from $1.7 million in 2013.

Biological Advantage, founded in April, has a system of products it plans to introduce this month that are applied to a marijuana plant’s soil and leaves to enhance photosynthesis. The company’s chief executive, John Kempf, is also founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture, a crop-nutrition consulting company he started that has invested $400,000 in Biological Advantage.

Mr. Kempf said his companies were a bit ahead of the game, anticipating what the market would need. “Growers aren’t yet looking at nutrition as a means for improving the medicinal concentrations in plants,” he said. “But they will.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/07/business/smallbusiness/start-ups-seize-marijuana-opportunities-as-big-companies-hold-back.html?_r=0