Selling cannabis products in California can be an extremely profitable business. But anyone planning to plant their flag in the Golden State should first know what they’re up against. Company founders are well-advised to understand the many nuances that make California exceptional to the country, in order to successfully navigate its unique regulatory, socio-cultural and industrial landscape.

Do Get Legal and Regulatory Advice

California’s regulatory atmosphere got extremely harder to navigate after the passage of Proposition 64, which legalized adult-use consumption in 2016. A once thriving medical marijuana industry was forced to transition from an almost laissez-faire set of policies to a one that is tightly regulated and heavily taxed.

Although some of this information is easy to come by, much of it is complex and requires the analysis of compliance professionals who are up to date with every new adjustment in the law.

Don’t Take California’s Consumers for Granted

Cannabis consumers in The Golden State have been exposed to cannabis products for a long time. Marijuana has been fairly easy to obtain by legal means since the passage of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which legalized medical marijuana.
Expect Californians to know what they’re buying and even have a favourite product at the time of purchase. Your business plan should include efforts to abduct some of their brand loyalty to your business.

Do Conduct Thorough Market Research

Knowing cannabis is one thing, but knowing cannabis in California is another.
California’s long history of cannabis products is well-known. Make sure you are aware of every product out there that could compete with yours, but also be sure to know which products were launched into the market but weren’t successful.

Don’t Forget the Black and Grey Markets Are Still Thriving

Established legal businesses will present strong competition to new companies. But they’re not the only foes for cannabis entrepreneurs. The black market for cannabis products in California is still incredibly successful and got even stronger after new legalization laws made the prices for legal products jump off the scale due to tighter regulation and stronger taxation.

Explore how your product can offer something that the illicit market cannot (like seed-to-sale tracking, certified lab testing and premium branding) and be sure to take advantage of these traits to the maximum.

Do Take Local Restrictions Into Consideration

Although cannabis is legal in the Golden State, over two thirds of cities and municipalities still don’t allow for cannabis commercial operations like cultivation, manufacture or retail. Analyze the complicated geography of cannabis legality in California and include it into your business plan.

Don’t Forget Cannabis Can Still Have You Arrested

Operating in a state where adult-use cannabis is legal does not mean that the product is not heavily regulated. Make sure you follow guidelines exactly and specifically in order to avoid conflicts with the law.

And Finally, Don’t Expect Today’s Landscape to Become the Norm

Although learning and understanding the cannabis landscape in California can be a hard task, don’t rest on your laurels once you do. Know that both the market and its regulation can (and probably will) change as the industry settles and the state government makes its best to adapt. Allow for flexibility in your business plan and conceive multiple possible scenarios for the future.

Headquarters is a team of highly-focused and seasoned experts who will get your product into California’s robust cannabis market no matter where you’re located.

Whether it’s compliance, distribution, marketing or product development, we can not only get you in the marketplace, but help you stand out from the pack. Drop us a line or sign up for our newsletter today.