You can only run a successful cannabis business if you know this one thing…

During the American gold rush, writer J.S. Holliday observed, “The people who went to California by the tens of thousands were greenhorns – city folks. They didn’t have a callus on their hand, had never fired a rifle, had never followed a plow, had never rode a horse, didn’t know up from down in terms of the wilderness world, the frontier life. And they weren’t interested in it.”

As you can imagine, many of those who took that insane 180-day trip to the West Coast never made it. They got sick, starved, or fell to a host of other tragedies.

Arriving was no guarantee of success, either. Disease ran wild in those makeshift towns. Food was scarce. And the greed saturating the area led to more crime.

Still, over 300,000 folks tried. Because when a gold rush is underway, people only focus on the opportunity. Risks, as treacherous (or likely) as they may be, vanish as an air of naiveté takes over.

I mention this because the lesson also applies to an entrepreneur’s success or failure in the cannabis industry…

Never Pay a Doctor to Do an Electrician’s Job

It blows me away how many people think the cannabis industry is easy.

“It’s a weed, so it must just grow!”

That attitude brought a lot of people into something they knew nothing about.

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I mean, what does the average electrician or doctor know about growing, or terpene content, or how to distribute a product at scale across an entire state?

Absolutely nothing.

Yet, many decided they would start their own growhouse, distribution facility, or dispensary. And for most, it was nothing but pain.

It’s not as if the cannabis industry is terribly complex (especially not for a surgeon). But there is a set of skills that are essential to every part of this industry. And if you can’t quickly acquire or hire those skills, you won’t make it.

Skills to Pay the Bills

So, what essential skill am I talking about? The ability to judge flower to market.

I know.

Sounds simple.

But it’s not.

A lot of things go into judging flower, such as:

  • Terpene content. The more terpenes, the better the smell, taste, and overall effect the strain will have.
  • Grow style. For example, organic sells for a premium but may yield less for farmers.
  • Cannabinoid content. Higher THC strains sell faster. That said, different combinations of cannabinoids lead to different effects.
  • Bag appeal. Are the trichomes large, making the flower look frosted? Is the bud itself orange, purple, light green, brown? Is the structure dense or fluffy? Are there seeds? All these things matter.
  • Trim quality. Was it hand-trimmed? And if so, was it done well or sloppy?
  • Name. Cannabis strains fall in and out of popularity all the time. But there are some that have been around a long time and will always be popular. It’s important for large farms, distributors, and stores to carry both.

At this point in my career, I can look at flower and answer most of those points within 10 to 15 seconds.

It took me hundreds of flower cycles to gather the kind of insight I have into genetics, flower, and what goes into a quality product.

I can’t tell you how much flower I’ve seen during intake, or when I’m scoping out different markets.

There are a lot of people who may have consumed a lot of cannabis, but unless they lived and breathed everything cannabis for 50 to 70 hours a week over many years, then they won’t know enough to truly be successful.

I cannot emphasize this enough: If you want to start a cannabis business, you need to understand flower on a very deep level.

If you don’t, then you need someone you can trust. Someone with a lot of experience specifically in the cannabis industry. That person will become crucial for your business moving forward, so choose wisely.

I hope this helps anyone thinking about getting into this industry.

Next week, I’ll discuss the big mistake most entrepreneurs make when they first get into the cannabis industry.

Until then,

Charlie Delvalle

Advisory Board Member, National Institute for Cannabis Investors

Up Next: Gen Z Promises to Disrupt the Cannabis Market (Eventually)

If you listen to the media, you’d think Gen Z is the most exciting thing to happen since Canada‘s full legalization. They’re a lot more open to cannabis. They view it as a better alternative than alcohol. Charlie hears those arguments a lot. And it’s true that eventually, they’re going to spend a lot of money at dispensaries across the country. But here’s the thing about Gen Z


8 responses to “The One Essential Skill Needed to Start a Cannabis Business”

  1. Im a member but haven’t invested,will
    It be an issue as I’m using a uk. Ltd
    As a Vehicle to buy stocks

  2. Charles, I know you have the experience concerning weed, which is great. Here in Ohio, the state wanted prospects for weed dispensaries to have $500,000 in your saving account as a reserve. How do you handle that in addition to starting the company with basic startup cost as well. This is an very expensive project.

  3. I really enjoyed your careful and excellent knowledge and experience key points to be successful, in this Cannabis industry. My question to you Mr, Charlie Devalle is it more of a risk to invest? because I don’t have the capital to open a dispensary. Can you guide me as to where I can find in-depth information with key companies and knowledge to better ensure success? So Later I will have the capital to go further in this business. Thank you I appreciate you sharing knowledge it’s very valuable, sir I hope this message and request finds you in great health spirit. Sincerely. Karl Britt

    • Karl, if you aren’t a member/have a subscription to NICI I highly recommend it. You were asking for a place to learn from or that has information to give you a better chance at success in investing in cannabis companies so that you may be able to gain the capital to start your own cannabis company. I would 1st say that as I’m sure you well know nothing is guaranteed in investing so there is no way to ensure that you will gain the $ needed. However, I have not seen anything or anyone that is better prepared to lead you (or anyone that does their own research) in the right direction and give you the quality insight that the guys at NICI do on regular basis. They have helped me and a lot of others with their articles and ratings of the cannabis related companies that are traded publicly. I have been reading their stuff and became a lifetime member back in 2017 or so and I can say nothing but positive things about they insight, their articles, their research, and their overall knowledge of the industry. There have been ups and downs through the years (more ups than downs) and some absolutely huge gains that I have been able to make due to making decisions based off of things I had access to by becoming a member and doing my own research but never invest more than you can stand to lose and always do your own due diligence before making any financial decisions. The cannabis market is here to stay and IMO it’s just getting started. Plus there are still a ton of really huge opportunities to come and more gains to make on existing companies but if I would tell someone at any level of investing in cannabis industry to do is to become a member and read all you can that these guys put out because they know what they are talking about and have given me and plenty of others enough tools and information to be very successful in the market over the last 3 to 4 years. I am not an advertiser for them I just read your comment and felt that you would like a response from someone who can tell you 1st hand that it’s worth every penny to get all the access you can to all that they put out there. It will pay fir itself 10x’s over if you do your research and hear what all they have to say and who all they have interviewed. Hope this helps and good luck! I hope you can write a message to someone like this in the future when they are wondering if a membership is worth it and how to get started in the industry.

  4. I see the comments with some questions BUT NO REPLIES from the author. What’s this, an exercise in futility?? No doubt this comment will be censored.

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