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Top Cannabis Industry Misconceptions According to Experts

For most, this isn't a get-rich-quick type of business.

Image via Paul Sableman/Flickr CC

Few outside of the U.S. cannabis space fully understand what makes it tick, how it operates, and why it’s worth jumping into. For every person that’s acquainted with the ins and outs of the industry, there are ten that have major misconceptions about the sector. It’s natural for people outside of an industry to be limited in their understanding of its day-to-day operations, but for a space as intricate as the cannabis industry, the lack of understanding is widespread (and often detrimental to public opinion and perceived validity).

Here are the top misconceptions that people have about the cannabis industry, debunked:

Pantelis Ataliotis, President of Dr. Dabber, a Nevada-based vaporizer company that has produced the first portable electronic rig:

A large number of non-cannabis enthusiasts still seem to think that stereotypical stoners are running marijuana businesses, and although a couple of years ago that may have been more accurate, the growth and size of the market has brought in a wealth of highly intelligent, dedicated people. Many of these industry entrants dislike the stigma associated with cannabis and have simply identified the huge potential of this market and chosen to take part in its ascension. Not all cannabis business owners are stoners.”

Alejandro Canto, Owner and COO of Diego Pellicer – Washington, an independent Seattle-based cannabis brand licensee which recently opened a high-end dispensary in the city:

“One of the biggest misconception of the industry is that it’s a get rich overnight thing, when in reality it’s far from that. The recreational market is heavily regulated and taxed, which provides states with valuable revenue but also strips profits away from operators. It’s a tough field that’s quickly filtering out all the ones that can’t survive.”

William Waldrop, CEO of Signal Bay, Inc. (OTCMKTS: SGBY), a cannabis biotech company providing research, analysis and consulting services to the medical marijuana industry through its subsidiaries:

“It seems that most outsiders to the cannabis industry are unaware of the high standards that entrepreneurs in the industry must adhere to to stay in business. The employers, entrepreneurs, and consultants I’ve met in the space have proven themselves to be highly ethical and determined in their day-to-day work, and it goes beyond that which I’ve encountered in any other industry.”

Shanel Lindsay, CEO of Ardent, a Boston-based biotech and medical cannabis device company that produces the NOVA™, a laboratory-grade precision decarboxylator for medical cannabis patients:

“The medical component of the cannabis industry is often overlooked, as many outsiders to the space are under the assumption that the sector revolves around recreational consumption. Given that many more states have legalized medical cannabis than recreational consumption, a plethora of potential opportunities exist for cannabis businesses, research, and technological innovation in that arena.”

Mitchell Kulick, Partner at Feuerstein Kulick LLP, a cannabis law firm providing legal services to companies, funds, investors and lenders in the space:

“Many outsiders to the cannabis industry believe that it is comprised of unreliable stoners. While there are obviously more ‘Deadheads’ in the cannabis industry than most other business categories — and to be clear, many of those so called “stoners” are pioneers of and the backbone of what is now the fastest growing industry in the US and they have earned and deserve a place in the space as it becomes more mainstream — the industry has attracted the attention and energy of the professional set and is becoming a much less of the of the disorganized and a fledgling industry that outsiders might think. While federal policy has yet to catch up to overall public support for the plant’s use, the national cannabis industry continues to make tremendous strides towards advancing medical technologies, industry structure, benefits for taxpayers and cogent state-specific regulations. As more states pass pro-legalization bills, we’ll likely see more outsiders become cognizant of the serious scope of the cannabis industry, along with its legitimate place in business, medicine, and recreation.”

Neil Demers, CEO of Diego Pellicer – Colorado, an independent Denver-based cannabis brand licensee which recently opened a $1 million dispensary in the city:

“The biggest misconception is that dispensaries and cannabis entrepreneurs are making a lot of money, that it’s very easy to make money in cannabis, or that the industry is very lucrative. This is not the case for the majority of the industry. Because of the high cost to start a cannabis business, steep learning curve, price wars and the increasing regulations and taxes, unless you have strong assets, it’s actually very difficult and it takes a long time to make money.”

Wil Ralston, VP of Sales and Marketing for SinglePoint (OTCMKTS: SING), a publicly-traded cannabis holding company specializing in acquisitions of small to mid-sized companies with an emphasis on mobile technologies:

“A major misconception that people have of the cannabis industry is that it’s just a bunch of ‘low class’ people trying to sell cannabis, when in reality, the shops are your typical mom and pop retail store owners.”

Andy Williams, CEO of Medicine Man, the largest cannabis dispensary in Denver, Colorado:

“The cannabis industry is full of tough, hard-working cannabis enthusiasts, and while many are indeed consumers, it seems that many outside of the space are under the assumption that it’s an industry revolving around recreational consumption. In reality, the cannabis space goes far beyond smoking, making significant contributions to the fields of medical research, emerging technologies, financial innovation, and the like.”

Mike Weiss, President/Founder of Nature’s Dream, whose Cannacopia mobile app enables you to discover which marijuana strains help you feel the way you want, based on your desired mental mood, physical effects, medical condition, and taste preferences:

“The biggest misconception I see (again and again) from ‘outsiders’ is that ‘stoners’ are running the show. People are amazed when they go to a cannabis convention and see actual business people (not hippies) in attendance and the level of professionalism in the sessions and in their discussions.”

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