New York’s new law legalizing cannabis for recreational use has been one of the most progressive in America.
The amended Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) will encourage people who have been negatively impacted by cannabis prohibition to participate in the adult-use market. The law also expands the state’s existing medical cannabis program, allows home grows, and establishes an Office of Cannabis Management that will create and implement regulations for the adult-use program.
But this is something we’ve seen time and time again in New York.
In 2013, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes (D) and Senator Liz Krueger (D) began submitting the MRTA to the New York Legislature to make sure people from communities who have been disproportionately impacted by drug laws can participate in this new industry with hopes that it would help those communities economically flourish if given an opportunity to enter into legal cannabis trade.
It’s a plan that will benefit New Yorkers and ensure cannabis is accessible for medicinal purposes, as well as recreational use — at a level we haven’t seen across America yet.
But how will this impact social equity applicants? And how will the community reinvestment fund work? What about expungement for past cannabis-related criminal convictions?
This article offers insight into New York marijuana legalization and what the industry and its supporters can expect.
Interested in expanding your business to serve New York’s legal cannabis sector? CONTACT US today for expert assistance.
MRTA & Social Equity Applicants in New York
“For generations, too many New Yorkers have been unfairly penalized for the use and sale of adult-use cannabis, arbitrarily arrested and jailed with harsh mandatory minimum sentences. After years of tireless advocacy and extraordinarily hard work, that time is coming to an end in New York State,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “Legalizing adult-use cannabis isn’t just about creating a new market that will provide jobs and benefit the economy, it’s also about justice for long-marginalized communities and ensuring those who’ve been unfairly penalized in the past will now get a chance to benefit. I look forward to signing this legislation into law.”
New York’s new law defines social equity applicants as people from “communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition.” But it also stands to serve minority- and women-owned companies, financially distressed farmers, and disabled veterans.
But what considerations come into play to qualify as disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition?
The new rules should outline precisely what characteristics one must possess to qualify as a social equity applicant in New York.
The goal here is to create social equity definitions and programs that are most likely to benefit the most impacted communities. But data will be essential to ensure this happens.
Amber Littlejohn, the executive director of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, has voiced some concerns.
The main issue here is that the state hasn’t invested enough money in research to learn which communities have taken the most damage from marijuana prohibition.
Littlejohn and others in the cannabis space are concerned about New York’s social equity program. These concerns include:
How will social equity applicants have the capital to break into the market during its early stages if the programs rely on tax revenues generated by recreational cannabis sales?
How will social equity applicants compete with existing MSOs? The economies of scale resulting from vertical operations and financial depth make this challenging, if not impossible.
How will New York define microbusinesses? Sensible canopy regulations will be essential to allow social equity applicants to stay competitive in this space.
Key Provisions of New York’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act
Here’s how New York’s MRTA aims to help social equity applicants:
50% of all adult-use licenses will be awarded to social and economic equity applicants. Experts believe that microbusiness and delivery licenses will be prioritized.
Out of the tax revenue adult-use sales generate, 40% will go to improve communities disadvantaged by the war on drugs.
A one-time “special licensing fee” will be required from existing medical marijuana operators to convert three of their MMJ dispensaries into dual medical-recreational stores. This fee, while not outlined in this law, will aid fund social equity programs.
Social equity applicants will receive financial support in the form of low- or no-interest loans, assistance preparing applications and operating a business, and fee reductions or waivers.
Microbusinesses will now be able to form vertical operations, which will aid these applicants in achieving economies of scale. Other operations, besides the existing MMJ operators, will not be allowed vertical integration capabilities.
Social equity licensees will not be allowed to sell or transfer their licenses within the first three years once they’re issued.
Social equity programs in other states, like Illinois and California, haven’t accomplished enough. New York aims to ensure its lawmakers understand what works and the circumstances needed for this program to succeed.
One hope is that New York finds financial solutions to support minority businesses. Simply partnering with social equity applicants isn’t enough with overarching barriers still in place, and this is something we hope will get resolved.
New York Community Reinvestment Fund
New York’s MRTA is expected to encourage economic recovery by generating around $3.5 billion per year in revenue, which will also aid in mitigating the social and economic wrongs of marijuana prohibition. The new laws will make New York a leader in the US cannabis space and have the potential to allow the state to generate more revenue than any other adult-use legalized state.
Through the Cannabis Fund, revenue from recreational cannabis will be used to pay operating expenses for the Office of Cannabis Management and provide public safety training for law enforcement agencies. But the remaining funds go towards social equity enhancement.
The leftover funds will allocate 40% to a Community Reinvestment Fund that will give back to communities disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition. Another 40% will go to Public Education. The other 20% will be allocated towards drug treatment. The main focus here is that New York stands to positively impact the communities in ways that no other state has been able to do so far.
Expungement for Cannabis-Related Criminal Convictions
The ACLU reports that 8.2 million arrests were made for marijuana-related charges from 2001 to 2010. Incredibly, 88 percent of these arrests for possession as opposed to selling or trafficking the controlled substance. Furthermore, despite cannabis use between Caucasians and African-Americans maintaining similar rates in the US, African-Americans are four times as likely to get arrested for possession.
With this in mind, the last social justice component of New York’s MRTA is prioritizing the expungement of previous marijuana-related criminal offenses. This will involve the Office of Cannabis Management automatically expunging criminal records over the next two years.
Through this feature, employment and personal economic growth will be facilitated in New York’s cannabis industry. People who have been convicted of possession of up to three ounces will also be eligible for record expungement.
As the 15th state to legalize adult-use cannabis and the fourth to pass a statute by the Legislature, New York is making tremendous strides for the cannabis sector. This MRTA will elevate the standard for states that legalize cannabis for adult use by prioritizing social and economic incentives.
Between New York’s social equity program, community reinvestment fund, and expungement efforts, we can expect the entire sector – consumers included – to feel a positive change.
If you’re looking to grow your cannabis operation, there’s no time like right now. CONTACT US TODAY to learn how we’ll scale your business with the right financial services.
If you liked this post, make sure to check out our other posts on state cannabis laws, too!
Many states are developing their legal recreational use and medical cannabis laws. But Michigan likely has some of the most interesting progress we’ve seen so far.
This state was the 10th state to legalize recreational cannabis in November 2018. Since then, the Great Lake State has come a long way with its marijuana legalization policies, despite federal laws deeming cannabis possession a crime under marijuana prohibition.
Michigan cannabis law is constantly being updated to reflect rule and regulatory changes, even with federal law in place. Here’s some top insight for the month of May.
Looking to grow your cannabis business in Michigan? We help our clients scale their businesses while maintaining compliance! CONTACT US TODAY to learn what we can do for your operation.
Michigan Cannabis Law News: Marijuana Conviction Expungement
Michigan law firms, criminal justice groups, and cannabis reform organizations are now working together in the Great Lakes Expungement Network. This network aids people in expunging their cannabis-related criminal records under Michigan’s “Clean Slate” law recently passed by Michigan voters.
The network is working with the Redemption Foundation and the Sons and Daughters United nonprofits.
During a University of Michigan Law study, people with expunged records acquired wage jumps of 25 percent, better housing options, and 11 percent higher employment likelihood. However, this study estimated that just 6.5 percent of the people wiping their records were able to do it within five years of eligibility because of the costs and other complications associated with the process.
The Great Lakes Expungement Network is now working to make expungement more accessible. This is especially important when considering the state has up to 1 million residents who might newly qualify for expungement under the recent law change.
What this news tells us:
Previous criminal offenses are hurting Michigan residents by creating unnecessary barriers to housing and employment. The punishment long exceeds the sentencing and reparations, even for what’s now considered a misdemeanor punishable by a small fine.
Cannabis prohibition has been detrimental to society, and through Michigan’s Clean Slate law, it’s possible to expunge these past offenses.
Licensed sales started years ago, and the state has been earning tax revenue from adult use stores, which distribute products from industrial hemp grows and adult use cannabis sales.
We’ve seen financial institutions coming around to support the industry. Many cities have implemented easier ways to expunge records, too. But hazy aspects surrounding the new law have made it challenging for convicts, even if it was their first offense.
However, we need a way to expedite and simplify the expungement process in the Great Lake State. This is why it’s crucial to have networks like the Great Lakes Expungement Network navigating the Clean Slate law and helping people expunge their criminal records when applicable.
Michigan Working to Restrict Delta 8 Recreational Marijuana Product Sales Loophole
Hemp and marijuana industry innovators found it’s possible to synthesize a cannabinoid from hemp called delta-8 THC. This cannabis compound offers comparable euphoric effects to delta-9 THC. However, a loophole is currently being exploited to allow for the sale of these untested products to retailers without oversight from the legal marijuana industry.
Now that the state is moving to outlaw or place delta-8 and similar cannabis sales under state oversight, we can expect this loophole to close on the potentially illegal drugs.
State Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor sponsored House Bill 4517. This bill will expand the definition of marijuana to include all THC. At this point, it’s somewhat of a free-for-all within the state as delta-8 gained traction.
If this law passes, products that contain delta-8 THC and other cannabinoids will be regulated by the MRA. This will result in production moved to licensed marijuana businesses, which will involve testing for safety and cannabis sales limited to licensed marijuana events and retail operations.
What this news tells us:
Delta-8 THC has been a grey area growers and processors have been using to profit. The unregulated nature of these products has allowed this market to explode. But these profits are short-term.
If you are involved in delta-8 THC production, these profits are not forever. You will eventually have to report to the MRA, perform vigorous testing, and adhere to the same safety standards of the rest of Michigan’s legal cannabis industry.
Farmington Hills Medical Marijuana Update Passes on Split Vote
Farmington Hills officials recently shifted medical marijuana zoning legalization through ordinance changes, but some are still not happy about how close these operations are to residential areas. Despite currently accepted medical use, caregivers distributing cannabis to their patients from their own residence for therapeutic purposes could face a civil infraction, even with state law allowing the medical treatment.
Through the new rules, caregiving will be part of the city’s light industrial districts, making Michigan caregiver operations more scrutinized under current Michigan regulation. Resident complaints ultimately led to council members requesting a Planning Commission review last November.
Through Michigan’s medical marihuana act, caregivers can grow as many as 72 plants for themselves and five patients. However, with the complaints rolling in about these medical sales happening in approximately 30 homes, new provisions were essential to ensure the medical marijuana remains more controlled in these areas.
What this medical cannabis news tells us:
Michigan regulators want the caregiver provisions to work, at the federal level. But odors cannot disrupt residential neighborhoods without some sort of maximum fine or punishment in place. Few properties fall into the light industrial classification. Thus, many caregivers will not be up for consideration and could face the maximum fine despite legalization.
Michigan’s marijuana law does not allow officials to zone the use outside of their cities. With this being the case, jurisdictions will be in charge of ticketing and fines as an initial step towards maintaining site compliance.
Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency Proposes Bill to Set THC Blood Level Limit for Drivers
Michigan lawmaker, Rep. Pamela Hornberger, of Macomb County recently introduced House Bill 4727. This bill, if passed, will set 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood as the legal limit of THC for driving adults to have in their system. Exceeding this limit would be a felony punishable by jail time and fines.
While some adults might argue that recreational cannabis does not impact the way they drive, the state has seen some tragedies resulting from a lack of oversight regarding this issue. Without setting a limit for how much THC is too much in a driver’s system, adults driving while the substance is in their system is something that has yet to be regulated in the state.
At this point, one child has been killed by someone under the influence of THC. There was no alcohol, and no other drugs in their system at the time. But experts claim that taking blood measurements of THC isn’t an accurate way to determine if someone has been driving while under the influence.
What this news tells us:
In 2019, the Driving Safety Commission determined that Michigan drivers should not have a THC level set for determining whether they’re under the influence. Unlike alcohol, THC levels spike and decline rapidly within the body before plateauing.
The main issue here is that THC levels can remain in the blood system for days following a high’s dissipation. Thus, this has a high potential to result in false convictions.
The State’s Zero-Tolerance Policy
At this point, Michigan has a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of THC. However, determining a person’s sobriety is conducted through a sobriety test law enforcement conducts.
We need more accurate ways to determine cannabis impairment through roadside sobriety tests. This is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs interested in serving the state and saving lives.
As the cannabis sector works to end marijuana prohibition, states like Michigan must regulate this controlled substance without oversite from the federal government. While marijuana and industrial hemp are legal for recreational use, medical and recreational sales must be monitored by the Michigan department (MRA) in charge of regulating licensed sales for cannabis.
Scale in The Great Lake State – Without Risking Your Compliance
Looking for assistance scaling your Michigan cannabis operation in preparation for federal legalization? We’ll organize your financials and maintain compliance every step of the way!
With federal legislation making its way through Congress this session, we’re expecting more banks offering services to cannabusinesses throughout the U.S. – particularly in Michigan.
In April, we saw the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act pass the U.S. House on a bipartisan 321-101 vote. Currently, we see the Senate divided on the bill as Democrats ponder whether they will push the bill on, shoot for federal cannabis legalization, or combine the issue with widespread criminal justice reform.
Looking to grow your cannabis business in Michigan? We help our clients scale their businesses while maintaining compliance! Contact us today to learn what we can do for your operation.
The Bankers & Credit Union in Michigan: Thoughts on The SAFE Banking Act
At this point, the SAFE Banking Act has plenty of support. Mike Tierney, the president and CEO of the Community Bankers of Michigan, claims he’s “very optimistic” that the bill will pass to the Senate. For this to happen, it will need 60 votes to avoid a filibuster.
But there’s still reason for concern. Democrats might go after full legalization even with widespread support for the SAFE Banking Act throughout the banking industry and financial institutions. Since the industry has expanded to nearly $1 billion in Michigan alone, these professionals understand that it’s time to get involved.
“Chances are good, except if they decide they want to go for the more aggressive legislation,” Tierney told MiBiz. “We’d all like to just see the SAFE Banking Act. It would be fine if we could provide services to the cannabis industry without any federal repercussions. We don’t need to have marijuana legalized on the federal level.”
The SAFE Banking Act was recently reintroduced in March after it didn’t get enough support to pass in the last congressional term. This bill stands to keep federal agencies from targeting financial institutions serving cannabis-related operations in states where these businesses are legal.
At this point, marijuana is still illegal federally, even though 38 states have legalized it in one way or another. This includes Michigan, where cannabis is legal for medical and adult use. The problem this bill aims to solve is that the banks and credit unions serving this industry have to comply with rigorous requirements, which keeps many from offering these operations traditional banking services.
“There are a lot of banks that don’t want to, regardless of whether it’s legal,” Tierney said. “That may change once it’s legal, but there are bankers that just don’t feel it’s an industry they want to serve right now. Some just don’t feel it’s a benefit to their community.”
However, despite this belief running rampant in some banking communities, the fact of the matter still stands: legal cannabusinesses are supporting communities. Between tax revenue states are generating, local jobs created, and community initiatives, most of these legitimate businesses contribute their fair share to the communities they serve.
An Update on Michigan’s Legal Cannabis Sector from a Banking Perspective
Last year, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency reported that Michigan’s medical and adult-use marijuana sector generated an impressive $984.7 million in sales. However, equally important to note is the $360 million in sales observed during the first quarter of 2021. In March alone, adult-use marijuana sales accounted for $97.5 million in revenue.
Tierney claims that around ten banks in Michigan offer services to the cannabis sector. The Michigan Credit Union League believes around ten credit unions are working with cannabusinesses, too.
“The appetite is definitely there because it’s what their communities are demanding and what their businesses are demanding. Even those that might not necessarily have a strong desire to get their feet wet in cannabis, that’s what they’re hearing from their communities and their businesses, and they’re going to roll up their sleeves and look into it,” said Michigan Credit Union League CEO Patty Corkery. “The bottom line is it is legal in our state, and we need to support the businesses that are engaged in legal activities.”
The SAFE Banking Act stands to support cannabis businesses, as well as the banking and credit industry. Cannabis operations will receive more access to the financial services it needs to expand, while the bankers and credit union will be free to participate without federal repercussion.
However, some believe this isn’t the right way to provide these services to the cannabis sector.
Supporting the SAFE Banking Act: A Far Cry from Supporting a Budding Cannabis Industry
Working with and supporting the cannabis industry is a far cry from supporting its expansion. Despite so many credit unions wanting to serve cannabis business with the SAFE Banking Act passing, the passage of this law would likely be a setback for those operating in the space and consumers alike.
Many fear that passing this modest bill could be problematic for the cannabis industry. Senator Chuck Schumer is actually working against this idea.
Senator Schumer’s Comprehensive Bill
Senator Schumer and his colleagues have been working on a bill. They say they’re not going to “bargain” against themselves by accepting the modest SAFE Banking Act. While he believes banking reform is necessary, he thinks this will risk comprehensive reform.
The idea here is that Republicans and moderate Democrats haven’t yet decided about bolder policy change. Those on the fence are less likely to vote for it if they receive a modest bill like the SAFE Banking Act. So, while Michigan banking groups support this bill, it has the potential to push federal legalization back if passed.
While banks, credit unions, and cannabis operations have much to gain from the SAFE Banking Act, there’s more to be won here than accessible banking services. But it seems that some are more interested in instant gratification than a federally legal cannabis space.
The problem here is that it’s hard to make progress when the people who stand to gain from the SAFE Banking Act are willing to settle. If and when federal legalization goes into effect, cannabusinesses will be open to the entire U.S. cannabis market. This, of course, includes shipping product across state borders without needing to worry about federal prosecution.
The federal government needs to provide guidance if they want cannabis businesses in states where it is legal, like Michigan, to survive and thrive. The current banking system makes this impossible for these companies because of their inability to have access or maintain capital as an industry. But if the SAFE Banking Act passes, there’s a chance that it will take months – or even years – to get lawmakers to approve another bill.
Schumer’s bill targets more security for cannabis operations through accessible banking, as well as their assets and resources. But he’s taking it even further by pushing for more comprehensive cannabis banking legislation. He wants to “ensure restorative justice, public health, and implement responsible taxes and regulations,” which some have compared to the recent legalization bill passed in New York.
Serve The Great Lake State While You Prepare for Federal Legalization
Looking for assistance scaling your Michigan cannabis operation in preparation for federal legalization? We’ll organize your financials and maintain compliance every step of the way!
As the cannabis industry gains more traction throughout the United States, more professionals in the space are looking to connect online.
Even though many well-known social media networks exist, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, many cannabis professionals are exploring cannabis social networks in order to build their brand, make cannabis industry connections, and engage with customers.
With increasing legality and popularity, we’ve seen cannabis social network use grow exponentially. The cannabis industry is now a huge market with plenty of room for growth, and there are currently many networks that can help cannabusiness operators succeed at connecting to marijuana enthusiasts.
Whether you want to use a cannabis business social network to meet professionals or are interested in making personal connections with other cannabis enthusiasts, these top cannabis social networks will make the process more straightforward.
Here’s a list of some of our favorite social networks catering exclusively to cannabis business owners and other cannabis enthusiasts.
Interested in becoming a part of our cannabis business social network? We connect our clients with other professionals in the space!
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As one of the first of its kind, GrassCity Forums is a good place to start. This cannabis social media network was originally created to connect cannabis cultivators.
Since its start, it’s transformed into a forum that discusses marijuana consumption methods, legalization updates, the best cannabis dispensaries in certain regions, and other cannabis industry topics.
GrassCity Forums is where you’ll find cannabis-related news, along with years worth of archives that track the evolution of cannabis world culture. It also has a dispensary directory, which enhances cannabis professional reach and cannabis enthusiasts.
Since its conception in 2013, WeedLife Network has become a massive platform for the cannabis business world. This cannabis social network consists of more than 40 websites offering a cannabis social network news feed bringing the latest from cannabusinesses.
Marijuana enthusiasts post videos and photos, and they can connect with others through the website’s discussion forums. This cannabis social media platform also has fan pages, social media marketing capabilities, and groups that let connaisseurs connect with other cannabis fans across 120 countries globally.
Even though WeedLife is mainly for weed lovers, many businesses in the cannabis industry create accounts. This is where the cannabis market hangs out, which means if you’re a business owner in this space, you should at least gain access to and create a business page on WeedLife.
Businesses can perform social media marketing for products and dispensary listing in the WeedLife directory. Posting promotions is also possible through this social media network.
Besides the various functions available, WeedLife Network is user-friendly. Since this is a mobile app, it’s easy for the cannabis community to connect and find cannabis companies, including cannabis growers and dispensaries, as they move around.
Weedable’s mission is to promote medical marijuana legalization globally by offering a platform for people passionate about cannabis. This cannabis business social network serves the innovators, the people making big moves, and, of course, cannabis users.
The most interesting aspect about Weedable is that it offers solutions for its cannabis business community. This platform is passionate about cannabis, allows cannabis companies to target weed lovers with ads, and offers advertising solutions on its social, store, and mobile app to expand reach.
This cannabis business social network offers a way for cannabusinesses to target based on practice area and location. It also provides detailed reporting to show ad performance.
Since the network has no long-term contracts or setup fees, it’s also a flexible option to boost a business’s online presence.
While Instagram and Facebook are popular for other businesses, Weedable is a highly targeted alternative that works specifically for cannabis products and other businesses operating in the cannabis industry. From dispensaries to delivery services, doctors, testing labs, and more, this platform is becoming the go-to for many professionals looking to connect with weed enthusiasts.
MassRoots is one of the most popular social networks in the cannabis industry. It was originally created to connect college students with other cannabis users. Eventually, it acquired the investor interest it needed to take the site public.
Early on, MassRoots had an obstacle to overcome; the Apple App Store removed its app. But eventually, the platform edited its application to ensure its availability for both iOS and Android users.
Unlike other social networking sites, the site is only available in states that have legalized cannabis. Despite this hindrance on its online presence, MassRoots still has acquired beyond 1 million current users.
With this popularity, dispensaries and other cannabis operations are promoting their businesses. After listing a dispensary on the site, the business operator has access to valuable customer analytics to optimize marketing and promotional efforts.
The platform’s forums also let businesses connect with users. It requests users review and rate cannabis brands and other industry products, which encourages engagement that’s unique to MassRoots.
Cannabis consumers are attracted to this social media site with an impressive rewards program that offers movie and concert tickets, festival entry passes, and other appealing rewards.
Duby got its start back when cannabis prohibition was running rampant. It quickly became a safe space for cannabis lovers to post and connect without worrying about the law.
Eventually, Duby evolved into the social platform it is today, which includes an app connecting hundreds of thousands of people who enjoy cannabis.
The app was launched in April 2015, and since then, it has had over 250,000 installs. Each day, the app processes 100,000+ likes and dislikes.
Like an Instagram-Tinder hybrid, Duby makes it easy to connect with other users and network with professionals – not to mention, score dates with cannabis lovers.
Even though this platform isn’t exclusively a business social network, it offers cannabusinesses opportunities to market their operations and connect.
Through the new Duby Explorer, the network has increased business profile views by 645% within just 4 months of being released. It combined cannabis social with lifestyle, brands, and products to offer a social media platform that brings users and businesses together while facilitating communication.
“I started Duby to invest in what is right, not right now. We are all just babies in an emerging market… a market that will someday exceed the sales of tobacco and alcohol combined.”
CEO of Duby
The LeafWire platform is a cannabis and hemp business network connecting professionals to one another. Even Montel Williams uses it!
Think of LeafWire as a LinkedIn for cannabis. This cannabis business network primarily focuses on connecting investors with cannabis businesses, which has aided in growing this massive industry.
So, if you’re a cananbusiness owner looking for an investment or an investor seeking an exciting investment opportunity, LeafWire is where you can make that happen.
In the past, it was challenging for cannabis-related businesses to attract investor interest. This was mainly because of the stigma and uncertainties surrounding the industry.
With legalization spreading throughout the US, the stigma is beginning to fade – and many investors are realizing just how much growth this industry will experience.
LeafWire is where these entities can make their connections.
Just like with LinkedIn, LeafWire is a networking platform that brings professionals together to share content, discuss trends and techniques and analyze the medical and adult-use marijuana spaces.
Whether you’re a consumer or a professional operating in the cannabis space, you’ve likely heard of WeedMaps. Even if you haven’t heard of this platform, you probably saw the company sponsor the recent Mike Tyson fight.
Looking at the site’s name, it’s easy to see the focus. The website helps cannabis consumers find local dispensaries and shops. But it’s so much more than that!
Besides incorporating WeedMaps in a cannabis SEO strategy, this platform helps cannabis businesses reach consumers. This massive online community lets dispensaries promote their products, and the platform even allows online ordering.
WeedMaps is also an impressive content producer. Between reviews of brands, strains, and other cannabis-related products, it’s easy to see what attracts users and professionals operating in cannabis to this site.
How to Promote Cannabusinesses Using Cannabis Social Networks
Cannabis business social networks are a unique opportunity for brands. Here’s a list of strategies you can implement on these platforms to get great results:
Create & Distribute Educational Content
Throwing promotional content at consumers isn’t an effective marketing campaign; instead, try focusing more on creating and distributing educational content.
In a space that’s historically characterized by misinformation, it’s safe to safe that people need an education on how to choose the right products and services.
Instead of telling prospects why your operation is the best choice, show them. This way, they’ll know before they even get there.
In other words, don’t tell your audience what you’re selling – show them!
For example, if cannabis strains are the product that you offer at your cannabusiness operation, share a video of an expert explaining the different types and benefits of each strain. This will help potential customers make informed decisions before shopping while encouraging them to buy from you as an industry expert.
People want to know about news and information connected to medicinal and adult use. New cannabis users in particular want to know more about safe product consumption.
Educating your audience on various social media gives people a reason to trust and buy from you as opposed to the competition. But this also encourages them to share this information to help their friends, too. And in such a competitive space, this engagement is valuable.
Use Hashtags to Reach More Cannabis Users
Hashtags categorize posts with short labels that allow people to find social media posts regarding a specific theme or topic more easily. When you create relevant hashtags for your content, you can reach a larger organic audience that’s highly targeted.
Be careful though; the wrong hashtags can cause controversy for cannabis entrepreneurs.
Equally important to note is that if a marijuana enthusiast wants to find your cannabis brand, using the right hashtags can ensure your content is found.
For instance, if you operate a dispensary in LA, you might include #dispensaryLA, #dispensaryLosAngeles, #LAdispensary, and #LosAngelesdispensary on your posts. This will ensure that the people looking for dispensaries in LA on that social media platform will find your content.
Work with Other Professionals in the Cannabis Industry
Early on in your marketing efforts, it’s important to establish yourself as an industry leader. To do this, you’ll need to follow and engage with other brands in your niche.
For instance, if you’re an extractor, it’s a good idea to follow equipment manufacturers, solvent suppliers, and other cannabis extractors. Not only will they see your posts in their feed, but this is a great opportunity for cross-promotion.
Find Social Media Influencers as Part of Your Cannabis Business Social Network Strategy
Cannabis social media influencers can help your business get the attention of millions of consumers.
Since influencers already have a highly targeted following that trusts them, they’re the perfect people to promote your business on a cannabis business social network.
The best way to find influencers in your space is by looking on social media platforms. You can use tools like Klout or Buzzsumo for help finding these individuals as well.
Performing an influencer marketing campaign means you can work with macro-influencers, micro-influencers, or a combination of the two.
Macro-influencers are people who have over a million followers from various demographics. These individuals are perfect for raising brand awareness and encouraging conversions.
On the other hand, micro-influencers also have a place in a strategy. These influencers have 10,000 to 100,000 followers and offer personalized content on a certain subject. In this case, it’d likely be cannabis.
Micro-influencers tend to be more compelling to their followers, which means they have more potential to get followers to your site and convert.
Build a Community on Social Media
Communities support each other, right? So it makes sense that by building a community, your cannacompany will get more support.
By creating a community on a cannabis social network, you’re making an online communal space for content surrounding your brand. You can invite consumers interested in comparable products, as well as businesses that might work with you without competing.
As your community expands, so does your reach!
Through this community, you’ll share educational and entertaining content. But you can also sponsor events and support charities with the support of the community you create. This enhances your brand in the eyes of your audience, which ultimately leads to more trust, more engagement, and more conversions.
As you attend cannabis-related seminars and conferences, you’ll meet others operating in the industry. Create these meaningful partnerships and invite them to join your online community. By offering them your platform, you’re encouraging them to promote your brand as they promote their own.
Stay Active on Cannabis Social Networking Platforms
It’s not enough just to have an Instagram account or Facebook page; you need to use them effectively! This means actively engaging with other brands and consumers on these platforms.
It’s also important that you provide valuable content on social media platforms like Facebook Groups or LinkedIn Groups related to the industry as well. This can help increase your following and engagement.
Maintaining a social media presence is important for cannabis business operators, as cannabis continues to be legal in more states every year. In order to stay competitive with other brands across the industry, it’s important that you invest time into your marketing efforts.
The Power of Cannabis Business Social Networks in 2021
As the cannabis industry continues its expansion, we’ll continue to see advancements and innovations. But in-person connections aren’t the end-all-be-all for cannabis professionals. Businesses operating in this space need to become more involved in the digital world of social media.
Whether connecting with professionals or marketing to consumers, cannabis business social networks have a lot to offer. The right platform paired with social media marketing can produce valuable engagement that will grow your brand.
The industry needs more educational content. While promotional messages have a place in cannabis, you’ll reach more people and find positive results when you have free value to offer, whether you’re connecting with other cannabis businesses or consumers in the space.
Looking to scale your cannabusiness? Contact us today to get our experts working on your operation’s success!
New Jersey voters recently voted to legalize recreational marijuana. Not long after, Governor Phil Murphy issued the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMMA), which outlines rules and regulations regarding legalized adult-use cannabis in the Garden State.
Despite federal law still listing marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, people in New Jersey will be allowed to smoke and carry marijuana on their persons legally. But CREAMMA takes legalization in New Jersey several steps further to outline specific regulations.
This law regulates a few aspects of the new space, including employers’ responsibilities and employees’ rights pertaining to marijuana use and how it should be regarded in and out of the workplace. Furthermore, CREAMMA will allow microbusinesses to open within the state.
In this article, we’re covering CREAMMA in New Jersey and the regulations we can expect as this state’s new market develops.
Interested in opening a cannabis microbusiness in New Jersey or scaling an existing one? We’re here to help!
Contact us now to get your microbusiness organized and compliant in preparation for New Jersey’s budding adult-use market!
CREAMMA Supports a Craft Cannabis Industry in New Jersey
We all know about craft beer and its popularity. But what about craft cannabis?
CREAMMA aims to expand the cannabis industry in New Jersey by encouraging microbusinesses to set up shop.
Under CREAMMA, the definition of a microbusiness is a person or entity that receives licensing from the Cannabis Regulatory Commission as either a marijuana cultivator, manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, retailer, or delivery service. Here’s a synopsis of how these microbusinesses are expected to operate under CREAMMA:
Microbusinesses can have up to ten employees.
Microbusinesses can operate a cannabis establishment that occupies up to 2,500 square feet. If it’s a cannabis cultivator, the grow area cannot exceed 2,500 square feet, measured on a horizontal plane. The grow operation cannot grow in excess of 24 feet above that plane.
Microbusinesses are allowed to possess up to 1,000 cannabis plants per month. However, distributors can possess plants for transportation without being subjected to this limitation.
Manufacturing microbusinesses can obtain up to 1,000 pounds of usable cannabis each month.
Wholesaling microbusinesses can obtain up to 1,000 pounds of usable cannabis or the equivalent in any form of manufactured cannabis products or cannabis resin, as well as combinations of these various cannabis products.
Retailer microbusinesses are allowed to obtain up to 1,000 pounds of usable cannabis or the equivalent amount of manufactured cannabis products or cannabis resin, as well as combinations of these different types of cannabis products.
Restrictions & Conditions NJ Cannabis Microbusiness Operators Should Know About
If you plan on starting a cannabis microbusiness in New Jersey, you’ll need to follow these ownership requirements and restrictions:
Your microbusiness must be 100 percent New Jersey resident-owned. This resident must have been living in the state for at least the last two consecutive years.
A minimum of 51 percent of the owners, directors, officers, or employees working for the microbusiness must be residents of the municipality that the business is located or to be located. They can also reside in a municipality bordering it.
Owners, directors, officers, or other people with a financial interest in the operation who also maintains decision-making authority cannot hold any financial interest in another licensed cannabis establishment, regardless of whether it’s a microbusiness.
Owners, directors, officers, or other people with a financial interest in the operation who also maintains decision-making authority for a licensed cannabis establishment, regardless of whether a microbusiness, are not allowed to hold a financial interest in a microbusiness.
More Information About What CREAMMA Means for Cannabis Microbusinesses
CREAMMA makes microbusiness licenses valid for a year with the option to renew annually or be replaced while it’s still valid. The annual license lets microbusinesses convert and continue operating as a licensed person or entity that’s not a microbusiness, which will be based on a process and criteria the CRC establishes.
At this point, there is a maximum of 37 cultivation licenses available under CREAMMA. But this doesn’t apply to the growers who are issued a microbusiness license.
Under CREAMMA, microbusiness owners are not allowed to sell or transfer a microbusiness license. Also, CREAMMA does not allow microbusinesses to have a cannabis consumption area. This is reserved only for licensed cannabis retail establishments and medical cannabis dispensaries.
Eventually, it’s possible for CREAMMA to include cannabis consumption areas. But, for now, retail microbusinesses will have to wait if they’d like to obtain an endorsement for cannabis consumption areas.
CREAMMA also impacts employees and employers, regardless of whether they’re involved in the cannabis sector. This is exciting for some and potentially stress-inducing for others.
CREAMMA – What Does it Mean for Employees & Employers?
After being signed into law on Monday, February 22, 2021, CREAMMA makes marijuana use will be legal and regulated for adults 21 and older. It decriminalizes possession of limited amounts of marijuana, as well.
But it does more than that, particularly for employers and employees.
At this point, the regulations that interpret this law are still a long way away from being decided. However, it’s crucial for employers to begin thinking about how it will impact their drug policies and drug testing programs.
Through CREAMMA, employees receive new substantial protections, specifically in regards to engaging in lawful behavior involving marijuana. This has the potential to be a real challenge for employers, especially when considering the fact that testing for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is still not accurate.
THC, which is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, takes quite some time to break down. Since the metabolites can be measured for an extended period of time, it’s challenging to test whether an employee is impaired on the job or legally ingested it the night or even weeks before.
However, there is some good news for employers. Under CREAMMA, you’re still allowed to ban “the use… consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growth of cannabis or cannabis items in the workplace” while work is in session. Employers are also able to ban employees from coming into work while still feeling the effects of marijuana.
Furthermore, as an employer, you can still administer drug tests to employees and can discipline or discharge employees who have used, possessed, or were intoxicated by marijuana while at your place of work during work hours.
But it’s not all good news. Employers are not permitted to discipline or dismiss employees if they fail a drug test for the substance. Rather, the employee must go through a physical examination “conducted by an individual with the necessary certification to opine on the employee’s state of impairment, or lack thereof.”
With CREAMMA in place, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission must prescribe “standards in regulation for a Workplace Impairment Recognition Expert (WIRE) certification, to be issued to full- or part-time employees, or others contracted to perform services on behalf of an employee’s usage of, or impairment from, a cannabis item or other intoxicating substance, and for assisting in the investigation of workplace accidents.” After the WIRE certification is available, which is unlikely to happen for several months, employers will need to have supervisors and/or management-level employees obtain the certification.
In essence, employees now have the decision to use marijuana recreationally with protected status under New Jersey law. While this is a win in and of itself for the cannabis industry as a whole, it’s important to understand that this will impact the way businesses operate, regardless of whether they’re working in cannabis.
CREAMMA is legislation that establishes the ground rules for how microbusinesses in New Jersey’s newly legalized cannabis sector are expected to operate. But it also provides protection to employees who want to consume legally. As a result, we can expect more consumers to enter the space as more microbusinesses get up and running.
If you’re interested in setting up your own cannabis microbusiness in New Jersey or scaling an existing one, we’re here to help!
Contact us now to learn how we’ll get your microbusiness organized and compliant for New Jersey’s budding adult-use market!