The legal marijuana industry did almost $7 billion in sales in 2016, meaning more than a few entrepreneurs are wondering how they can get in on the bud boom. At the moment, though, conflicting state and federal drug laws can make navigating new cannabiz opportunities a bit tricky.
So if you're looking to get a marijuana startup off the ground, here are a few legal issues you'll want to consider first.
First, there's the patchwork of local, state, and federal regulations that create a quilt of legal uncertainty. Even if marijuana is legal in your state, what exactly is allowed? Just pot possession? Medical use? Commercial sales?
The next problem is money: Can you open a bank account at a federally-insured bank if you're a marijuana business? What about small business loans? It's no use making money from a marijuana startup and having nowhere to put it.
And then how do you get the word out about your pot products? There are restrictions on tobacco and alcohol advertisements -- do the same exist for legal weed? States are still sorting out this issue, so stay tuned.
It's one thing hawking your weed wares in your pot-friendly state, what about to the not-so-interested neighbors? States generally have the power to regulate advertising within their borders, so it will probably come down to where the ad is placed and viewed, not where your business is headquartered.
You might not put pot and IP rights together, but if you've got a proprietary strain of marijuana, a secret recipe for an exquisite edible or a unique apparatus for consumption, you'll probably want the protection of intellectual property laws.
While the trend may be marijuana being legalized in more states, bud businesses still face a significant amount of legal risk. Mitigate that risk by contacting an experienced attorney today.
- Find Business & Commercial Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory)
- Starting a Marijuana Business: Do You Need a Lawyer? (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- Marijuana Business: Licenses, Permits, and Planning (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- Marijuana Start Up: 3 Things You Need to Know (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)