Updated: Jul 19, 2020
This topic has been talked about frequently in the cannabis industry and among ancillary cannabis entrepreneurs. As a minority myself, I found it challenging to get my foot in the door in the cannabis industry as an ancillary business. If you’re struggling to get your foot in the door, here are some tips to consider:
Build your network
You can’t expect clients to fall from the sky. You have to work for it and build a strong network. I can’t emphasize this enough. I lost track of the number of cannabis events I attended and networked with LOTS of people in all areas of expertise- especially minority cannapreneurs.
Create strong relationships
Along with networking, creating strong relationships with your network is vital to you and your business. Everyone that I have met since I first started networking is still part of my network and very much involved when it comes to helping each other. You should also consider joining and supporting cannabis non-profit organizations such as Cannabis Equity Illinois Coalition and Chicago NORML. They're focused on informing social equity applicants, minority cannapreneurs, and, most importantly, fighting for equitable policies and cannabis justice against current MSO's controlling the Illinois market.
Learn the industry
Whatever is your profession or service in the industry, it’s important to know the historical context behind cannabis i.e. racial and social justice and its medicinal benefits, the different strains and active components (if you don’t know them). Know the plant before jumping into the industry without any knowledge other than just loving the recreational benefit of the plant.
Do your research
It’s exciting to start an ancillary (and cannabis) business but it’s also important to do the research if you're not well informed. The industry in Illinois is only seven months old and changes are only to come especially when the new dispensary, craft-grow, infuser, and transportation licenses are awarded. Learning the rules and regulations will be beneficial to your business plan and setting foot in the door in this new and emerging (almost rigged) industry.