Marijuana legalization is the hottest story in the US today. 22 states have authorized sales in some form; Denver has more legal marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks franchises. We are witnessing the dawn of a new industry. And like the early days of gourmet coffee chains, the rules and players are being established on the fly.
Christian Hageseth is the face of the revolution-an entrepreneur and father of three who worked in the white-collar professional world for 20 years before opening his first dispensary. The Founder and Chairman of Green Man Cannabis, the fastest-growing legalized marijuana company in the country, he's the perfect tour guide through the wild frontier, where police hardly know what laws to enforce, or parents what to tell their kids. He paints a colorful picture not only of how he got into the business, but of the big interests that are eager to do the same-namely Philip Morris, Monsanto and a who's who of Big Pharma. He predicts a future where the marijuana market splits in two: the high-end, artisanal market, supplied by individual growers and small farms, and the mass market, covered by the cigarette giants and anyone bold enough to compete with them. Much like beer and coffee, your brand of weed will be just one more reflection of your lifestyle. It's an entrepreneur's dream, and Hageseth invites us along in Big Weed as he pitches skeptical investors, negotiates a shaggy cast of colleagues, and builds the biggest business he can.
In this lively look at the evolution of legal marijuana, Hageseth, founder of the company Green Man Cannabis, describes going from a complete newcomer in 2009 to a respected industry figure and multiple Cannabis Cup winner. Though Hageseth is clearly an aficionado, happy to talk about marijuana's benefits, he approaches the topic as a businessman and entrepreneur, or, as he puts it, "ganjapreneur." He speaks of finding financial backers, the fundamental disconnect between state legality and federal illegality (try finding a bank willing to accept drug money), law enforcement caught up in rapidly changing statutes and attitudes, and other problems legal growers face. "The legalization of marijuana is like the ending of Prohibition," he states, before comparing the current market to another past era: the Wild West. Hageseth, whose goal is to create the first weedery, or marijuana winery, is making an entertaining but bumpy journey: unreliable business partners, uncooperative banks, financial setbacks. His style is frank and positive: "I have never known as much happiness as I have growing and selling this gorgeous plant." Whatever the reader's views on the subject, this is an ideal insider's look at an industry in a time of momentous change.
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Big Weed, Must Read!
For anyone considering venturing in to the cannabis business arena, Big Weed is a must read.