Once cannabis was legalized for recreational use for adults in California, it seemed the sky was the limit for entrepreneurs. But potential businesses aren’t limited by ideas—it’s the regulations and costs that get in the way. Cannabis entrepreneurs in California, particularly if they are minorities and persons of color, face tough entry into the cannabis industry unless they have strong connections and financial backing.
James Shih, an Asian American marijuana business owner had an idea about how to help. Shih and his team are opening My Green Network, an incubator and coworking space for cannabis businesses. Marijuana businesses struggling to get off the ground should consider the power of networking, as well as the advice of an experienced marijuana business lawyer. Therefore, if you have question about starting or growing a cannabis operation in California, don’t hesitate to reach out to McElfresh Law at (858) 756-7107 to schedule an appointment.
The Potential Benefits of a Cannabis Coworking Space
A membership-based coworking space is often described as a flexible place to work. It gives people a space to go and concentrate on their vision. In reality, it can be so much more for cannabis entrepreneurs.
Shih is creating a space where members can work on cannabis specific projects in a way that keeps them compliant and within the strict regulations laid out by the state.
Though not all potential cannabis coworking spaces might offer this service, My Green network guarantees licenses for members who pass background checks. Shih’s business will secure state and local licenses for new businesses under a streamlined “Type S” license, created for manufacturers in shared spaces. New businesses that can pay the incubator’s entry fees benefit from experienced help in obtaining a license and getting started in the industry.
The licensing guarantee is enticing, but cannabis entrepreneurs should prepare for less than ideal results. Any future cannabis business owner should have experienced legal representation separate from a coworking space or incubator.
Even if a cannabis coworking space doesn’t navigate the licensing process for a startup, the information and guidance a new business could receive are invaluable.
The cannabis industry is young and growing in the U.S. A marijuana-specific coworking space offers people in the industry a way to quickly and efficiently network. The connections could be exponential with members connecting other members with cannabis professionals outside of the space, like suppliers, independent labs, marijuana lawyers, and marketing companies.
One of the most significant benefits of a coworking space like My Green Network might be access and connections to infrastructure. Finding manufacturers, warehouses, suppliers, and other necessary vendors can be difficult, and the cost can be extreme. My Green Network gives members direct access to manufacturing facilities for a period each month.
One of the hurdles of building a cannabis business is the complex and evolving California regulations. When marijuana business leaders work side by side, they can tackle navigating the regulations together. They also can brainstorm how to meet the regulations while managing costs and building a profitable business.
While many marijuana startups at the coworking space could be young, businesses will eventually be at different stages. The new entrants into the industry can observe and learn from the more established companies. They can see the wins and losses that similar businesses have experienced and adjust their own business plans, marketing strategies, and other processes.
My Green Network Isn’t Alone
Another cannabis coworking space and incubator in California is Gateway, which has offices in Oakland. Gateway focuses on combining technology and the cannabis industry, and it accepts startups that work directly with cannabis and ancillary businesses.
Gateway and My Green Network differ, though. Gateway offers startups guidance, office space, and cash but takes on a small percentage of equity in the companies. My Green Network doesn’t take any ownership stake in its members’ businesses.
Is a Cannabis Coworking Space Right for You?
Cannabis startups should take a close look at marijuana-specific coworking spaces and incubators. This type of experience could be invaluable, particularly for entrepreneurs that face challenges entering the industry or scaling their ideas.
But a coworking space can’t take the place of personalized legal advice by an experienced marijuana business lawyer. If you are considering starting a marijuana business in California, call McElfresh Law at (858) 756-7107 or use our online form to set up a consultation.