How Cannabis Genetics Impact Your Business Strategy

Genetics impact everything about your cannabusiness, from whether you focus more on quality over quantity to your revenue and how you position yourself in the market. A successful cannabis business strategy begins with the end in mind and a commitment to quality in the genetics of your plants.Higher Yields Consulting How Cannabis Genetics Impact Your Business Strategy

If, for example, your end product is flower, the approach you take to genetics should be different than it would be if your end products were extracts and concentrates. 

Read on to learn more about the importance of cannabis genetics and how to create a long-term business strategy that places genetics at the forefront of your planning. 

Cannabis Genetics: A Crash Course 

When we breed plants, we cross male and female plants to get seeds. That’s what we call our F1 generation. But half those seeds will be males that we have to throw out. The other half will be females, but some will take on majority male characteristics, some will take on majority female characteristics, and some will be roughly 50/50. 

As we go through that F1 generation, we ask ourselves what characteristics we want to get from each type — like strong and girthy from the male side, and good-smelling produce with a high THC from the female side, for example. 

Once we weed out the F1 plants with characteristics we don’t want, we’ll take the females from the narrowed-down group and cross them again with the males to get our F2 generation. Of the F2 generation, the males will be thrown out again, but the females will be much more consistent in the characteristics we’re looking for. 

If we were to stop at the F1 generation, the plants likely wouldn’t produce the way we wanted them to or have enough potency. That’s why it’s important to put in the time to develop the characteristics we want through multiple grows. 

Quality Assurance: Start at the End

Your end goal and your plants’ genetics go hand in hand. For example, imagine you have two plants. One tests at 30% THC and gets you two pounds of light. The other  plant tests at 20% THC, but gets you three pounds of light. 

If your goal is extraction, the first plant will be more efficient. But if your business strategy is to sell raw flower, the second plant will produce more biomass and therefore be the better choice. When you know what you’re growing for, you know what characteristics you need your plants to have.

Many cannabusinesses have quality assurance (QA) programs for the back end of their product. Once the product is finalized and trimmed, it passes through QA before being brought to the shelves. But many businesses neglect the QA process for their plants’ genetics — and they shouldn’t. 

Know the Data of Your Plants

QA will give you a more accurate idea of not only what crops you can expect to yield but also the timeline they will need. Indoor growing follows an assembly line, so it’s critical to know how many times you can turn over the space and build that into your business strategy. 

If some plants take 14 weeks to finish flowering and others take eight weeks, you’ll end up having a gap in your assembly line. And any time plants aren’t under the flowering lights, your cannabusiness is losing money.

Higher Yields Consulting How Cannabis Genetics Impact Your Business Strategy

When you understand the data of your plant, you have a better idea of what to expect from it and when you’ll need to fill gaps in the assembly line. Then you can more accurately determine if a given plant qualifies to be brought into your facility in the first place.

For example, if you have 10 feet between the table and the light, you need to know that your plants will only grow to be eight feet tall and not 10. In this way, your plants’ genetics impact everything in your facility, from lighting and space to THC and beyond. 

Fit the Plants to the System

Another mistake we see people make is trying to tweak their system to grow a certain strain in their facility. This is dangerous because when you give certain plants special treatment, you open the door for missed or double doses, pests, and all kinds of other issues. 

Instead of adjusting your system to cater to specific strains, only bring in strains that suit your system. It could be a great plant objectively, but if it doesn’t fit your system, it’s going to take up precious time and resources. 

Genetics & Brand Messaging 

The impact genetics have on your brand and messaging really goes back to the question of quality versus quantity. Do you want to be the Budweiser or the Delirium of cannabis? 

If your business strategy is for your product to be accessible and common, then you’re prioritizing quantity — although, of course, quality always matters. If you’re a high-end brand, on the other hand, quality should be your chief concern. You can demand a higher price for a special, stand-out product.

Also consider what you want your brand to be known for: novelty or dependability. Do you want to be known for your staple products or for bringing new strains to the market? Both strategies work, but they have to be well thought-out. 

You need a solid business strategy from the beginning, detailing how you’ll get to your end goal — be it quality or quantity — and how you’ll make your product resonate with the people you’re trying to bring it to.

The cannabis market is maturing. People do want potency, but they also care about cannabinoids and terpenes. When you factor genetics into your business strategy and can explain to your audience how you are controlling the quality of your plants and the traits you are breeding for, you will stand out from the crowd. 

Start Building a Successful Business Strategy Today

A strong cannabis business strategy starts at the beginning with a solid understanding of how genetics impact your entire business. You need to have a plan in place for every part of the process, all leading to and supporting your end goal. 

At HYC, we understand how cannabis genetics impact your planning and long-term success. Contact us today to learn more and start implementing better quality assurance in your business.

How to Win Grants for Cannabusiness Funding

As a cannabusiness — whether you’re a cultivator, an extractor, or a manufacturer — you have the opportunity to solve problems. Procuring your cannabusiness funding through grants will give you greater opportunity to solve those problems, but you’ll have to approach the application creatively. 

At HYC, we’ve developed a procurement process to help clients apply for these grants. We always start the process by establishing the client’s “why” as defined in Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle.

Higher Yields Consulting How to Win Grants for Cannabusiness Funding

If you’re considering applying for cannabusiness funding from grants, start with why you created your business in the first place. Then ask yourself how you can use grants to further that purpose and solve problems in your community or the world at large. 

Read on to learn more about how to apply for and use grants for your cannabusiness funding and the greater good of your community.

Let Your “Why” Guide You

Winning grants for cannabusiness funding is less about the stage of business you’re in and more about your “why.” One of our clients, for example, is still in the conceptual stage of their business, but they have a strong purpose centering their business around education and alternative medicines. 

Figuring out your “why” gives you the opportunity to explore avenues you may not have thought of yet, and also to flex your creativity. 

For instance, consider a company that wants to empower affordable housing and building practices. If they make tiny homes out of shipping containers for homeless people, they would be able to qualify for grants on both the state and federal levels for assisting with homelessness. 

Think about what you have at your disposal and what resources are already out there, and pay close attention to social and economic issues. Then determine what you can do to help solve those issues. 

Creative Partnerships Open Future Possibilities

As you look at social issues around you, listen to different perspectives so you can form a well-rounded opinion. That way, you’ll be able to see the different avenues to try and accomplish your goals.

For example, water will likely become a rare commodity in the future. How do we head that off and make the cannabis cultivation process — which is usually very energy and water intensive — more efficient? 

Get creative in answering these types of questions and identifying people and companies to partner with. Solar panel and battery companies are examples of groups that may not have direct avenues into cannabis but are able to effect change from outside the industry in different ways than you could on your own.

Higher Yields Consulting How to Win Grants for Cannabusiness Funding

And you never know: Down the line, these companies may have the means to take 80% of a cannabis cultivation facility off grid. With increased participation in the market, opportunities for innovation — and cannabusiness funding — also increase. 

How to Apply for Cannabusiness Funding Grants

If you’re looking to gain cannabusiness funding through grants, understand that the process could take 6 to 12 months. Remembering your “why” in times of difficulty and second-guessing will keep you going when you feel discouraged.

While the process varies some and requires a great deal of imagination, there are four basic steps to follow:

  • Understand your “why” and your forward-facing social aspect that allows you to give back to the community.
  • Get clear on the problem you’re hoping to solve and how you plan to solve it.
  • Apply with a greater mission in mind — grants aren’t going to make you rich, but they will enable you to do some good in your community.
  • Get help if you need it, because grants are competitive. 

Keep in mind that what you put out there has to be reflected on the inside, too. If the grants you’re applying for don’t match up with your “why,” then you need to try something else. 

Think Outside the Box

The cannabis industry is not a single pie that everybody is trying to get a slice of; it’s a bakery. The pies are going to keep coming because cannabis is not a limited-time deal. Because the industry is still in its infancy, possibilities for cannabusiness funding are endless — especially with the right amount of creativity.

We had an office space neighbor, for example, who received a substantial grant for small business development. They were brokers working with shipping containers, but they got that grant because their containers could be associated with affordable housing and help solve the homelessness issue. 

Winning grants isn’t about who you are — whether that be a shipping container broker or a cannabusiness. It’s about what you do with your position in the world. 

These days, transparency is everything. If you’re going after grants for your cannabusiness funding, make sure your “why” is at the heart of your business and that it shows in everything you do. 

For help designing a successful business plan that expresses your “why,” contact HYC today.

How to Expedite the Cannabis Property Selection Process

Real estate often causes cannabusiness owners to spin their wheels. With short application windows and the need to have contingency plans in place, it’s easy to prolong your search for the right cannabis property.

But finding the right location for your cannabusiness doesn’t have to take forever. If you do it right, you can speed up the process and get to building your business faster. That said, a cannabis property must meet very specific zoning requirements and should thus be approached differently than other kinds of real estate.

Higher Yields Consulting How to Expedite the Cannabis Property Selection Process

To that end, we’ve developed an expedited process to help you find a cannabis property without getting blindsided by common real estate roadblocks. 

Here’s our step-by-step process for finding your cannabis property more efficiently.

Start With the Green Zones

The first thing you need to know is how to choose the areas in which to look for your cannabis property. Many people do this by choosing a city, downloading a list of 1,000 or so properties in that city, and narrowing the list down to 100 properties from there. 

But once they start going through those specific properties, they find that none of them actually qualify as cannabis properties because they aren’t zoned properly. 

We created our green zone assessments for this very reason — because no one wants to settle on a location only to find out their cannabusiness isn’t legally allowed to operate there. Instead, our process starts with establishing where the facility you plan to operate is allowed to be, and then choosing from those locations.  

Research the Requirements

Once you know where your cannabis property can legally exist, do your research to find out what requirements it will need to meet, with special attention to regional and municipal setbacks

Usually, a city will determine setbacks based on how far the property is from a dispensary or how many dispensaries and cannabis facilities can be in a certain ZIP code or territory. But they’ll also dictate how far a facility must be from churches, day care centers, schools, and rehab facilities. 

These kinds of facilities are constantly shutting down and opening up, but the city might only update their green zone map once per quarter — meaning the map can become inaccurate within a week. 

At HYC, we use a number of systems and databases to create our own up-to-date green zone maps with all relevant setbacks factored in. From there, we search for addresses within those areas, giving us a narrowed list of addresses we then verify with the city to determine if they truly qualify to be used as cannabis properties.

Get Boots on the Ground

Once we have our narrowed list of potential properties, the next step is to get out there and physically scope out the area. Sometimes you’ll even find a cannabis property that isn’t in the system because it isn’t for sale or lease just yet.

Higher Yields Consulting How to Expedite the Cannabis Property Selection Process

Don’t be afraid to knock on the doors of qualified properties and ask about the company’s lease and when it expires. But be very targeted in which doors you knock on, otherwise you’ll be wasting your time. 

Above all, you need to have a process. A lot of brokers make the mistake of thinking any property will work and end up whittling down the list of possibilities into locations that in fact won’t. 

Protect Yourself From Real Estate Pitfalls

Even once you’ve found the property, you still need to be strategic as you negotiate with the landlord. Some landlords may try to charge more or create a bidding war once they find out you intend to use the space as a cannabis property. 

Protect yourself when negotiating for a cannabis property with a contingency agreement, which keeps you from being bound to the property if your license application is denied. Contingency agreements can be difficult to negotiate because of the risk they pose to landlords, so you may have to explore creative solutions.

In some cases, you can put the landlord’s mind at ease by putting down a deposit or agreeing to a smaller monthly lease until your application is officially approved. You might even have to give up equity in your business to be able to lock down the property. 

If you’re lucky, you might work with a developer who’s early in their career, has a bunch of properties, and is willing to roll the dice on your cannabis property while they get the others up and going. 

Finding a Cannabis Property Doesn’t Have to Take Forever

Choosing your cannabis property can be one of the most difficult parts of opening up a cannabusiness, especially if you approach it like you would any other type of real estate. But with the right process and tools, you can minimize risks and choose your property efficiently. 

To get expert guidance and a tried-and-tested process, contact HYC for a green zone assessment and to find the most lucrative cannabis property for your business.

How to Write a Winning Cannabis Business Plan

Writing your cannabis business plan is a vital step in the licensing process — regardless of what kind of cannabusiness you plan to open. When done right, your business plan will set you up for your best shot at success. 

Since your cannabis business plan will include a lot of information that’s needed on the license application, complete your business plan before you start the application process. You’ll also want to have it done before you ask for any investment money, so be sure to include the information your investors will want to see. 

Higher Yields Consulting How to Write a Winning Cannabis Business Plan

At HYC, we typically have an eight-week timeline for writing cannabis business plans. If you choose to write your own, though, plan on it taking a good three to six months, and have a consultant review it to make sure you have everything you need. 

Read on to learn more about how to craft a solid cannabis business plan that will make you stand out from the crowd. 

Key Sections of a Cannabis Business Plan

While each cannabis business plan is as unique as the business it represents, there are several main sections every business plan must include. 

First, the executive summary and bio plays several important roles, such as:

  • Laying the groundwork for what your business will look like, what your goals are, and what your business’s vision is. 
  • Illustrating your qualifications, character, experience, and strengths. 
  • Letting investors know why you’ve chosen to open this business and why you feel qualified to do so. 

After the executive summary and bios, you’ll need to include market research for the specific state in which you’re applying for a license. Market research shows you know what opportunities are available in that state. 

Next, create a SWOT analysis to illustrate your own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as a potential cannabusiness, as well as a business roadmap. Depending on the license you’re going for, your roadmap can vary but should include the real estate, your application, compliance, and design and build. 

That leads into the business development section, where you describe your next steps. After opening your initial cannabusiness, what is your end goal? Is it to sell, become a chain, or be a multistate operator? This section shows your potential as well as your goals. 

Finally, you’ll need to include a financial model summary and an assumption section. 

What Not to Do

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your cannabis business plan is being too vague. If you say you’re coming into the industry to solve a problem, you need to describe what that problem is in detail, along with how you’re going to solve it. 

Many people make the mistake of leaving out information such as the operating plan or bios. Without these, you don’t really get insight into who they are and what their goals and vision are for the company.

Higher Yields Consulting How to Write a Winning Cannabis Business Plan

Err on the side of too much information, but make sure it’s clear and concise. Above all, give the application reviewer a thorough understanding of who you are and where your business has potential to go. 

Stand Out From the Crowd: Cater to Your State

To write a cannabis business plan that stands out from the competition, start by looking at the state and its priorities. Then, tailor your business plan to show exactly how you will meet the criteria the state is looking for.

For example, if your state places a lot of focus on environmental impact, show what you’re doing to operate in environmentally friendly ways. If it’s concerned about compliance — how everything is regulated and tracked. — illustrate how you will set up SOPs and training to ensure your facility is 100% compliant. 

Or, if the state’s main focus is on social equity and inclusiveness, show them how you plan to hire and train and give back to the community. That said, if you are going to be a multistate operator, you’ll be taking on a bigger responsibility to be more inclusive of each state’s goals. 

In that case, you’ll need a cannabis business plan that shows how all of your businesses will be operated similarly throughout the different states — so you have a cohesive brand — but that you’ll also hit the main focus and concerns of each state in which you plan to operate. 

Get Expert Help for a Winning Cannabis Business Plan

Writing a cannabis business plan is a much larger undertaking than anyone foresees. If you’re a multistate operator or just getting started owning your first cannabusiness,, you will likely have blind spots, and missing something a particular state prioritizes will severely hurt your chances of getting a license. 

Working with a consultant and an expert team to write and review your cannabis business plan will ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation and start setting your plan in motion.

Marketing & Business Development Strategy for Successful Demand Generation

Higher Yields Consulting Marketing & Business Development Strategy for Successful Demand Generation

In both the cannabis industry and the business world at large, there seems to be much confusion over the difference between marketing and business development strategy. This confusion is the result of a fundamental breakdown in understanding what marketing actually is and how it functions.

Neither marketing nor business development strategy is strictly about sales (though both can and should work together) but rather demand generation. Demand generation is a process of turning strangers to your business into customers by establishing trust. Each part of the process is vital and plays its own unique role. 

Higher Yields Consulting Marketing & Business Development Strategy for Successful Demand Generation

Read on to learn more about the differences between marketing and business development strategy, and why you need both to create a successful demand generation process.

Marketing vs. Business Development Strategy

Marketing and business development strategy are not interchangeable, but they’re also not completely separate concepts. Instead, they’re two pieces of a larger process that must work together to accomplish the common goal of demand generation. 

What Is Marketing? 

Marketing is the first part in the overall demand generation process, and it’s all about creating demand for your product or services. As such, it overlaps with positioning  and messaging in function. 

If you don’t approach marketing with the understanding that you must create demand, you’re essentially throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. It requires a solid demand generation process and methodology; otherwise, you’re hurting not only your brand but also your business development strategy.

Of course, each business is unique, but demand generation does have a universal foundation. Once you lay that foundation, your brand’s uniqueness comes into play in how you address or approach key elements within the establishment of building trust.

What Is Business Development Strategy?

Business development strategy enters the stage after marketing has already created demand. Business development is not about selling — rather, it’s about solution design and engagement. 

Both marketing and business development strategy, then, are at their best when they work collaboratively to accomplish demand, gain permission and building of trust in your brand. 

6 Pillars of the Demand Generation Process

The demand generation process has six basic stages, or pillars, and involves both marketing and business development strategy. While marketing takes the forefront during the first three pillars, it pulls back some for the fourth and fifth and reemerges in the sixth. 

 

These are the six pillars of demand generation:

 

  • Pillar 1: Curiosity and Intrigue. Start by building brand awareness through positioning and messaging. Pillar 1 requires a one-to-many marketing strategy designed to reach a wide audience. 
  • Pillar 2: Targeted Awareness. Pillar 2 focuses on looking for a response to Pillar 1. Based on that response, you begin segmenting and changing the message according to each segment and building trust through dialogue and information sharing. 
  • Pillar 3: Acquisition. Acquisition is a one-to-one environment where you ask for consent to engage the client and discover the vision of the potential client in a new process. Here, marketing begins to hand off the reins to business development strategy. 
  • Pillar 4: Solution Design. In this stage, business development strategy is introduced and marketing takes a backseat. The two remain in communication as you analyze what’s working and what isn’t, apply that data to designing solutions, and mature the relationship with the client.
  • Pillar 5: Negotiation & Contract. With the client’s permission, you progress to a proposal and contract. We call this an assumed close because before offering the contract, you should have already done all the actual negotiating so all that’s left is to sign.
  • Pillar 6: Implementation. Finally, marketing comes back to the forefront to build the next awareness phase. Use successes from working with the current client either to generate future business with that client or to enhance your messaging to attract new ones. 

IMAGEHigher Yields Consulting Marketing & Business Development Strategy for Successful Demand Generation

Failing to complete one pillar before moving on to the next, or completing them out of order, will hinder the entire process in its effectiveness. 

Common Breakdowns in the Demand Generation Process

A number of factors can cause the demand generation process to break down. One of the biggest is failing to “slow down to go fast” — in other words, skipping straight to Pillar 5 when you get a lead instead of slowing down and making sure Pillars 2 to 4 are built first. Rushing the process risks misunderstandings and broken trust. 

 

Another breakdown occurs when you fail to understand the distinct purposes of marketing, business development strategy, and sales — and that all three must work together to move prospects through the demand generation process. 

 

Finally, breakdown occurs when you let sales resort to cold messaging, be it via phone, email, or social media. Cold messaging eliminates trust before you even begin establishing it. And in the cannabis industry, lack of trust is especially damaging.

Generate Demand Through Trust

Ultimately, the demand generation process hinges on trust between the prospects and your brand. Fail to establish trust — or break it at any stage in the process — and the whole process breaks down. 

 

Seamless collaboration between marketing, business development strategy, and sales ensures that trust is built carefully and steadily, guiding prospects into becoming clients instead of pushing them before they’re ready to give consent for the next stage. 

Ready to level up your marketing and business development strategy? Contact us to find out how Higher Yields Consulting can help you assess and implement a demand generation system that works for you.

The Heartland States: Virginia & Oklahoma Marijuana Opportunities

Higher Yields Consulting The Heartland States: Virginia & Oklahoma Marijuana Opportunities

The heartland states are slow moving in terms of cannabis legalization. While the Oklahoma marijuana market has become insanely oversaturated, and Virginia has legalized both adult and medical use, other states show little to no movement at all.

Heartland states are expansive and don’t see as much demand for cannabis as other areas. So while they aren’t necessarily against marijuana, they aren’t in a hurry to create their own booming cannabis industries, either.Higher Yields Consulting The Heartland States: Virginia & Oklahoma Marijuana Opportunities

Here’s what you need to know about cannabis regulations in the heartland states, from the oversaturated Oklahoma marijuana market to future opportunities opening up in Virginia.

Kansas 

Neither medical nor adult use is legal in Kansas, and there are no signs of that changing in the near future. 

There does seem to be some demand for cannabis — especially in Kansas City — but so far, the state doesn’t seem interested in capitalizing on that demand. 

Missouri 

Missouri is legalized for medical use only and does not have a competitive application at this time. The only two license types available are transportation and seed-to-sale, but the state has done a good job of communicating medical marijuana regulations and requirements. 

If demand increases, Missouri could potentially reassess and open up manufacturing, dispensary, or cultivation licenses at a later time. If you’re interested in establishing a cannabusiness in Missouri, keep an eye out for future developments. 

Oklahoma 

Although the Oklahoma marijuana program is medical only, the market is so saturated and in demand that it might as well be legal for adult use, as well. And with no official qualifying conditions, it’s very easy to get a medical card — in fact, about 10% of the population has one

Oklahoma also offers tons of licenses for cultivation and dispensaries and has no license caps. If you’re looking at getting into the Oklahoma marijuana market, your best bet will be in manufacturing, because that area isn’t nearly as saturated. 

Despite oversaturation, the Oklahoma marijuana market still holds a lot of opportunity. Because of the low barrier of entry, many Oklahoma marijuana businesses are poorly built and executed, and the market will weed them out in time. The old, underperforming business will fade out and give way to new ones. 

Higher Yields Consulting The Heartland States: Virginia & Oklahoma Marijuana Opportunities

If you can do things right — market your brand well, put good policies and procedures in place, train staff properly, and commit to superior quality — your cannabusiness can succeed in Oklahoma. 

Tennessee 

Although neither medical nor adult use marijuana is legal in Tennessee, the state has made some progress. Earlier this year, Tennessee followed Alabama’s suit and  passed a bill to create a study commission to consider medical marijuana and expand the state’s current CBD laws.  

Although the state likely isn’t moving anywhere quickly for medical cannabis, it is headed in the right direction. 

Virginia

Virginia has legalized marijuana for both medical and adult use. Applications will be competitive, but so far, no rules have been made, and applications won’t start being accepted until sometime in 2023. Following that, stores won’t start to open until 2024. 

As the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority sets up and regulates the industry, it will also establish the number of licenses, which cannot exceed 400 retailers, 25 wholesalers, 450 cultivators, and 60 product manufacturers. That said, it’s possible (but unlikely) that the board could decide to go way under those numbers.

Cultivation licenses will be divided into two types: Class A licenses will be capped at a certain number of square feet or plants. Class B licenses, on the other hand, will be limited to 1% THC — essentially a CBD-producer license. 

If you’re interested in Virginia’s marijuana programs, be sure to keep an eye on the development of their rules and regulations in 2022 so you’ll be prepared to meet the requirements. 

More About Virginia & Oklahoma Marijuana Opportunities  

Potential for cannabusinesses in the heartland states is hopeful but not concrete. The Oklahoma marijuana market might be a good place to start — but only if you really know what you’re doing and can beat out the competition. Virginia also holds a lot of promise, depending on how their rules and regulations shape up. 

Keep in mind that due to the smaller populations and dispersed rural areas, you won’t see as much profit as you would in other parts of the country. But there are a few opportunities that might be worth looking into to start — especially in the field of medical cannabis. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the Virginia and Oklahoma marijuana markets or opening up a cannabusiness in the heartland, schedule a consultation with us to discuss your options.

What to Expect From the Louisiana Marijuana Program & Other Southern States

Higher Yields Consulting What to Expect From the Louisiana Marijuana Program & Other Southern States

The Bible Belt certainly isn’t known for being particularly friendly to cannabis, but opportunities are slowly starting to open up in certain areas. The Louisiana marijuana program is one example of a small but promising start, and a few other Southern states show limited potential, as well. 

While as a whole, the Southern states are often slow to accept cannabis as anything other than a drug, there have been significant shifts. Florida, for instance, was the first to legalize medical marijuana and open up a cannabis program (albeit an extremely limited one). 

Higher Yields Consulting What to Expect From the Louisiana Marijuana Program & Other Southern States

Here’s what you need to know about the state of cannabis in this hold-out region of the U.S., from the bare-minimum Texas CBD allowances to the small-but-promising Louisiana marijuana program. 

Southern States With Little to No Movement

The Florida, Texas, and Mississippi marijuana programs may have had decent starts but have since stalled for the foreseeable future — or at least the next few years. We’re keeping an eye on them for future developments, but we don’t expect much movement at this time.

Florida 

True to the common conception of Florida as a separate entity from the rest of the South, Florida’s marijuana program is very different from what we see in other states.

Initially, Florida’s program issued only five licenses, though it later opened up a few more. However, Florida’s program is not an open application route, so no one is currently able to compete for licenses in the state. 

Although Florida’s legalization measures helped trigger a domino effect to get the other Southern states moving, it’s likely to be a few years before Florida’s own program picks up any further momentum.

Texas 

Texas does have a medical marijuana program, but the state allows only 1% THC in their medical marijuana products. At such a low THC rate, it’s essentially a CBD program. And it’s very minimal — just over 3,000 patients are registered, and there isn’t much movement happening in the state, overall. 

If you want to get into the Texas market, be prepared to work exclusively with CBD and CBD-adjacent products for a while. Cultivation is another option to consider, but the market is saturated. While we don’t recommend starting out in Texas at this time, if you’re so inclined, manufacturing will be your best bet. 

Mississippi 

In early 2021, Mississippi looked like it would follow in Oklahoma’s footsteps in terms of plentiful and accessible license availability. Unfortunately, however, government and legislative issues have put the program on hold for the next two or three years. 

If you want to build a cannabusiness in one of the Southern states, we’d suggest exploring opportunities in the Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana marijuana markets instead.

Southern States With Some Opportunities

The Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana marijuana programs offer a few more opportunities, especially if you establish the right connections prior to entering the market there. 

Arkansas 

Arkansas is currently legalized for medical cannabis, and the application window is open. However, the state also has a high barrier of entry. You’ll need expensive surety bonds and to meet strict zoning limits. Once a zone fills its allotted number of dispensaries, no more dispensaries will be allowed to open in that zone. 

Higher Yields Consulting What to Expect From the Louisiana Marijuana Program & Other Southern States

While you can certainly apply for a license in the Arkansas medical marijuana program, know that it will be an expensive endeavor and that you may have better luck with the Alabama or Louisiana marijuana markets. 

Alabama 

Alabama’s Compassion Act will likely resemble Florida’s cannabis program. Although there probably won’t be a low THC cap, it does appear as though operators will only be allowed to sell manufactured products — no raw plant, smoking or vaporization products, or baked goods.

The Act also has a large residency requirement — 51% of all license holders must be Alabama residents — as well as huge capital requirements, making the barrier of entry extremely high. 

If you’re looking at entering the Alabama marijuana market, you’ll want to get started as soon as possible finding real estate and establishing yourself as a local team. MSOs are already moving in, but they’re required to work with local teams, and it will take time to build up those connections. 

Louisiana 

The Louisiana marijuana program kicked off in 2018 with a total of nine licenses. But despite being a small program, it was set up well and there are many lobbying efforts to expand cannabis retail.

However, growth within the Louisiana marijuana program is still slow. Louisiana legislation only authorized the Louisiana State University and Southern University agriculture centers to grow medical cannabis, so you’ll have to contact the Board of Pharmacy regarding licensing to dispense any medical cannabis.

As is true of any Southern State, entering the Louisiana marijuana market is all about who you know and how you advocate locally for cannabis. You can’t just show up and submit an application; you have to play an active role in educating the community and helping write ordinances that simply don’t exist yet.

That’s where HYC comes in. We can help you make important local connections and develop the necessary knowledge base to educate your community. There will always be local political challenges, but with the right knowledge and connections — and an early start — you have the opportunity to impact change. 

Get Your Foot in the Door With Louisiana Marijuana

The Louisiana marijuana program offers a fairly typical example of what to expect in Southern states — slow movement, small programs, and the importance of making the right connections. But if you can get your foot in the door early and weather both political and local delays, opportunity is there. 

Working with an experienced cannabis consultant can give you the credibility, connections, and partners you need to be successful. Don’t miss your chance to get into the Louisiana marijuana market early! Get in touch today to schedule a consultation.

What Is a Consulting Company?

Higher Yields Consulting What Is a Consulting Company

There comes a time for any business owner when you realize that your ambition will only get you so far. In the cannabis industry, in particular, there are uncharted waters around every corner and it requires a team of experts — each contributing value in their own area of specialization — to steer the ship successfully towards the goal. 

As a leader in your business, it’s your responsibility to choose the team members who are going to get you there successfully, efficiently, and creatively so that you can stand out from the crowd and reap the rewards as a team. 

So how do you go about finding those team members? And how do you ensure that the people you’re choosing are indeed the most qualified to contribute to the success of your business?

One option is to recruit, vet, and hire your own team. However, this is by far the least efficient due to the vast time commitment required and, simultaneously, the most risky because you’re taking people at their word during the vetting and hiring processes. 

Alternatively, many forward-thinking cannabis businesses choose to work with a consulting company as their one-stop, trusted resource for guidance, industry knowledge, specialized expertise, staffing, and more. 

But what is a consulting company? And what factors do you need to be considering in order to find the right consulting company to advance your cannabis business? 

What a Consultant Is Not

Choosing a consulting company is not a decision to be taken lightly. You are trusting other people to provide you with information and direction; you are entrusting another established business with the success of your own budding business; and you are using your hard-earned dollars to indicate that trust. 

At Higher Yields Consulting, we don’t take the significance of that gesture for granted. We respect how hard you’ve worked to reach this stage and we’re eager to take you the rest of the way. That’s why we want to ensure that as you’re shopping for a consulting company, you’re aware of what to look out for. 

A consulting company is not…

  • YouTube — Your business is unique. Be wary of implementing advice from a source that is not aware of your unique business, model, and goals. 
  • Cookie-Cutter — No two states have the same cannabis legislation, no two municipalities need the same strategy, and no two businesses are alike in the cannabis industry. Steer clear of templatized services that treat you and your business the same as the next. 
  • New — The truth is that you want a consulting company that has a proven history of growing cannabis companies with creative, innovative strategies. 
  • Multi-Disciplinary — The cannabis industry is unique and requires extensive knowledge of the complexities cannabis businesses face. Avoid working with consulting companies that cater to multiple different industries. Rather, choose a consulting company that specializes exclusively in cannabis.

Above all, trust your gut instincts. The best consulting company to help you grow and succeed is likely not the cheapest, and yet they must be the most well-informed, the most versatile, and the most committed to helping you achieve your goals. 

What to Look for in a Consulting Company

Good consultants know what they do best and have processes in place for getting to the root of what you need and how to get you there. Yet, they’re also willing to adapt and deploy flexible solutions as the situation requires. 

They also commit to a relationship of honesty because they know that hiding or minimizing the truth of the challenges ahead will not benefit you or your advancement in any way. 

Good consultants know that success in the cannabis industry is all about maximizing resources and efficiency. The company you choose should be experts in mitigating risk and maximizing investment.

Every step of the way, your consulting partners should be setting you up to achieve your end goal. They should possess knowledge and connections all the way through the supply chain, and they will give you access to multiple resources to fill the gaps in your business. 

Above all, great cannabis consultants have vast experience in multiple different cannabis businesses, including vertically integrated businesses and multi-state operators, and should have a proven pattern of success — not just a one-time wins. Yet, at the same time, they should be able to provide solutions that are custom to you rather than cookie-cutter solutions they have deployed with past clients. 

Ultimately, your consulting partner should be invested in your success and committed to co-creative action. At Higher Yields Consulting, we take a phased approach to build each layer strong on top of another strong layer, all while maximizing your budget and timeline, so you can create the business and impact of your dreams.

The Power of a Pre-Qualified Team

If you are considering working with a consulting company, you’re likely looking at a few potential options that vary in size. Many solo consultants pride themselves on being a one-stop shop for cannabis businesses to rely on, but the truth of the matter is that there are far too many layers of the cannabis industry for any one person to be an expert in them all. 

Frankly, if you’ve been burned by working with consultants in the past, it’s likely because the person or people you trusted tried to be experts in too many fields. As the old adage goes, “A jack of all trades is a master of none.” 

Rather, look for a consulting company that consists of a team of individuals who are each experts in their own lane. Consider the areas of your business that you know you’ll need help with — such as cultivation, design build, marketing and branding, and more — and ask which member of the consulting team is the head of each area and why. 

Also, be wary of a consulting company that takes the stance that they know everything there is to know. Rather, a consulting firm that has your best interests at heart will take a stance of learning and constantly improving their expertise in this ever-evolving industry. 

For example, at Higher Yields Consulting, we consider ourselves a learning organization. We do have our proven processes and track record of success in countless unique businesses, stages, and license types, but we also know that there is always more to learn and there are always new opportunities emerging in this industry.  

We believe in the cannabis industry and therefore we immerse ourselves as deeply as possible in every aspect. We are helping to craft the legislation in emerging markets. In established markets, we attend the city council meetings, we get involved in the lobbying efforts, and we are actively connected with the individuals who have the power to further shape the trajectory of our industry. 

If you would like to learn more about Higher Yields Consulting and how we can help your cannabis business achieve higher yields, book a discovery call with us today!

Do You Need a Commercial Cannabis Real Estate Agent or a Cannabis Consultant?

Higher Yields Consulting Do You Need a Commercial Cannabis Real Estate Agent or a Cannabis Consultant?

Unlike most commercial real estate, the cannabis real estate landscape is limited by regulations and ordinances that go far beyond choosing the best location for traffic counts. You’ll need expert help navigating all the green zones and setbacks to ensure your cannabusiness is compliant and in an advantageous location. 

Each municipality is different, and even neighboring municipalities can have entirely different requirements. So, it’s important to work with someone who can help you choose the best location for the cannabusiness you’re building.

Higher Yields Consulting Do You Need a Commercial Cannabis Real Estate Agent or a Cannabis Consultant?

You have two main options: work with a commercial real estate agent to choose your property, or work with a cannabis consulting firm that can act as a sort of one-stop shop for the entire setup process. But which is the best, most cost-effective choice in the long run? 

Read on to find out whether a commercial real estate agent or a cannabis consultant is the best choice to help you with your cannabis real estate. 

Commercial Real Estate Agent: Help Selecting Property

When dealing with cannabis real estate, you’ll need a brokerage relationship of some sort to navigate contracts and coordinate all the moving parts of the transaction. A commercial real estate agent will likely have experience with the contract process and can help you assess traffic counts to choose a potentially profitable location. 

However, especially if you’re in cultivation, there’s a lot more to consider than just traffic. For example, if the building previously housed any sort of cultivation, you’ll need to know whether they used any pesticides or left anything else in the building that could potentially harm your crop. 

You’ll also need to know what it will take to operate the building as a cannabis facility. While the property might look good on the surface, things like mold, lighting,  and ventilation will impact the facility’s operation, as well as the cost of retrofitting the property into a cannabis facility. 

A commercial real estate agent may not be familiar with all these considerations or know what to look for in an ideal cannabis real estate location.

Cannabis Consulting Firm: A One-Stop Shop

When choosing your cannabis real estate property, working with someone who has a cannabis background is essential. You need someone who knows what to look for and about ordinances and regulations for the particular municipality you’ll be operating in.

While a commercial cannabis real estate agent will start by identifying the best traffic count area — without regard to green zones, setbacks, etc. — a cannabis consultant can start with the areas where a cannabis facility can actually be placed. From there, they can help select the best of those available locations. 

Higher Yields Consulting Do You Need a Commercial Cannabis Real Estate Agent or a Cannabis Consultant?

Also keep in mind that for cannabis real estate, you’ll need more than just the property. You’ll also need to coordinate design and build, METRC compliance, security, and so on. Having one firm handle all of those considerations will save you a ton of time and money. 

Real estate is a large purchase — one of the largest parts of your business — and it’s something your business is going to be connected to for a really long time. You want to make sure that the property you purchase is going to work for cannabis specifically. 

The last thing you want is to start the process of a cannabis real estate property purchase only to find out it won’t actually work for cannabis and have to start all over again. A cannabis consultant can offer perspective on all the different elements of a cannabusiness and help you avoid any unexpected missteps.

Making the Best Choice for Your Cannabis Real Estate

When choosing who to work with for your cannabis real estate, weigh heavy on finding someone with at least some cannabis knowledge. The industry has so many nuances to stay compliant on, and you don’t want to overlook any minor detail. 

You also don’t want to get yourself stuck with a property you can’t actually use, which can happen in more than one way with this industry. Choosing the wrong property is one, but it could also be a simple matter of the licence you applied for falling through. 

This sort of situation is unique to cannabis real estate, so someone without cannabis experience may not know to prepare for the possibility. A cannabis consultant, on the other hand, can help put contingencies into your contract to protect you if you don’t end up winning the license. 

Along with industry-specific knowledge and experience, cannabis consultants are often equipped with specialized tools. For example, at HYC, we use geomapping and other software systems to locate the best cannabis real estate properties.

Get Help Navigating the Cannabis Real Estate Market

Especially in a saturated market, choosing a cannabis real estate property can quickly turn into a game of Where’s Waldo?, so it’s important to work with someone who has the tools and knowledge to set you up at your greatest advantage.Ready to talk to a consultant about choosing your cannabis real estate property? Reach out to us to schedule a consultation.

Cannabis Regulations in Latin America: New Developments

Higher Yields Consulting Cannabis Regulations in Latin America: New Developments

Latin America is seeing a lot of movement in cannabis regulations and legislation. Brazil — which is sort of the Oklahoma of the international cannabis scene — is a fairly progressive area with the largest market and over 1,100 new import authorizations. But the challenge is getting the product out and into other areas.

Higher Yields Consulting Cannabis Regulations in Latin America: New Developments

Despite an estimated $9.75 billion market value for cannabis, there’s no clear leadership. New cannabis lounges and on-site consumption facilities are emerging, but no one particular group appears to be spearheading cannabis regulations and movement in the region. It’s an ever-changing environment with a lot of potential. 

 

If you’re considering getting into Latin America’s cannabis market, there are four hot places to watch: Colombia, Buenos Aires, Uruguay, and Mexico. Read on to learn about cannabis regulations in these four parts of Latin American, and how you can best prepare to enter the market.

Colombia

Colombia’s cannabis regulations are laser-focused on cultivation licenses. There are no provisions for extractions or other segments; rather, they focus on this one area because of their strong agricultural background.

 

Both personal cultivation and consumption have been decriminalized in Colombia. But within the commercial cannabis industry, it’s permitted strictly for medicinal use and strictly from an agricultural standpoint. 

 

There are, however, whispers of change. With Colombia and Panama in such close proximity, there’s a lot of tension and positioning to watch. 

Buenos Aires

Argentina as a whole has great IT resources but poor economic solutions. There’s an interesting element of technology and the cannabis industry meeting, as certain groups are developing apps to connect the community of personal growers. 

 

Right now, cannabis regulations surrounding growing for medical use in Buenos Aires are limited to individuals and certain networks. But with all this technological innovation and creativity, we expect the growing model to increase and expand.

 

Anytime a market or an industry grabs a foothold in a particular area and applies technology to it, you can anticipate those sectors growing at a pretty rapid rate. Keep an eye on Buenos Aires for new developments of technology and creativity in dealing with cannabis regulations. 

Uruguay

Uruguay got their foothold in the cannabis industry through hemp, which they were able to sell all over the world. Then, in 2012, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize commercially produced adult-use cannabis. Even tourists are allowed to purchase marijuana.

Higher Yields Consulting Cannabis Regulations in Latin America: New Developments

Because of this, Uruguay seems to be decreasing emphasis on hemp and increasing their focus on cannabis. These two industries have great potential to work together and improve the country’s economy overall, but that doesn’t appear to be their intention right now. 

Mexico

Currently, Mexico is a difficult place to get started in the cannabis industry. We at HYC had the opportunity to help write the cannabis regulations in Mexico a few years ago, and those regulations were recently put in place. However, it’s nearly impossible for anyone to enter the program. 

According to current cannabis regulations in Mexico, it’s legal to sell cannabis — but not to obtain it. You can’t grow, acquire, or import it. The country is basically hamstringing themselves for cannabis sales.

We are seeing an increase of interest in the Mexican market, however, and receiving a lot of inquiries. Be sure to keep an eye on future developments for the cannabis industry in Mexico to finally get off the ground. 

The Future of Cannabis Regulations in Latin America

There’s a lot of potential for cannabusinesses in Latin America. Low operational costs and prime growing conditions make for a lucrative opportunity. However, there are also plenty of barriers, so it’s important to find the right country to operate in and the right partners to work with. 

The cannabis industry is seeing plenty of movement in Latin America. Even though it’s a slow movement, it’s still important to get started sooner rather than later so you can prepare for the specific level of competition, politics, and cannabis regulations of the environment you’ll be entering.

Start making connections as early as you can so you’ll be fully aware of government requirements and limitations in the country you choose. HYC can help. Schedule a consultation for help entering the Latin American cannabis market and understanding its cannabis regulations.