Eight Cannabis Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2014
By now we’ve heard the cannabis movement described as a Green Rush, an unprecedented point in the nation’s history where, at least in Washington and Colorado thus far, America is embracing legalized cannabis commerce.
And green stands for ganja just as much as it does the greenbacks marijuana and marijuana culture can generate in both the recreational and medical marketplaces. Like its golden metaphorical counterpoint, those planning for success in hopes of getting rich quick on an herb cultivated for thousands of years may equally find success or failure.
Here is a list, in no particular order, of some top cannabis entrepreneurs:
The ArcView Group – Declaring a “new dawn for the cannabis industry,” the ArcView Group is an investor network that involves several major industry leaders including CEO Troy Dayton, a former fundraiser for the Marijuana Policy Project, Steve DeAngelo of Harborside Health Center and Tripp Keber of Dixie Elixirs. The group, open to accredited investors willing to put up at least $50,000, predicts a 64 percent growth in legal cannabis markets this year.
Solstice – The first permitted commercial cannabis production facility in Washington state continues to be an industry leader in quality as well as sustainable business practices. Seattle’s first fully permitted marijuana grow produces genetics ranging from heirlooms to local favorites, such as Sour Tsunami #3, a sativa that’s great for pain relief with 11 percent CBD and less than half a percent of THC. Their medicine is available at more than a dozen dispensaries throughout the state including the Northwest Patient Resource Center (NWPRC).
Genifer Murray of CannLabs – Murray has a degree in microbiology and formerly worked in corporate sales. Her lab tests flowers, concentrates and edibles in the Colorado marketplace, which, along with Washington State, now requires the testing of recreational cannabis. Murray’s business opened in a space consisting of about 150 square feet and is now in the process of moving to one that is 2,000 square feet.
National Cannabis Industry Association – The NCIA is an industry-lead organization engaged in legislative efforts to legalize cannabis. The group is currently pushing for causes such as fair tax policies, equal access to banking an end to prohibition and the legal cultivation of industrial hemp. Members include board chair Ean Seeb, wellness center manager for Denver Relief, Étienne Fontan, vice president of Berkeley Patients Group and Hilary Bricken, partner in Washington state’s Canna Law Group.
Jamen Shively, founder and executive director of Diego Pellicer, Inc. – Shively, a former Microsoft corporate strategy manager, is the main face associated with Diego Pellicer Inc. The company includes CEO Peter Norris, a horticultural businessman, as well as members of the NWPRC (John Davis, Daniela Bernhard and Jake Dimmock). Pellicer is a retail brand focused on legal premium cannabis. The Pellicer product has yet to hit shelves.
MJ Freeway – Founded in 2010 by Amy Poinsett and Jessica Billingsley, the virtual company is a business software platform for the cannabis businesses, with tools to track cannabis from seed to sale.
The DEA – Two months after federal enforcement agents raided at least 15 medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado along with cultivation warehouses and private homes, many of the stores have reopened. The raid, which occurred approximately one month before the opening of legalized recreational shops, has resulted in no arrests involving anyone named in search warrants. One person has been arrested and charged in connection with the raid for a charge that does not include cannabis, the illegal possession of a firearm. The money and inventory the Denver dispensary owners lost is immeasurable.
The Denver Post – After receiving much press for bringing on a marijuana editor from within their ranks, The Denver Post launched a new cannabis coverage website, The Cannabist. With the website’s launch traditional press showed an eagerness to embrace what was once a strictly counterculture media movement.