2015 has been an interesting year in the Cannabis industry. On the enterprise front, it has mostly been about licensees building legitimate, tax paying businesses in the 20 plus states and the District of Columbia with state regulated medical marijuana programs and the 4 recreational/adult-use approved regulated state programs (Colorado, Oregon, and Washington are now fully operational while Alaska continues to develop its program).
It has also been a year for these legally, licensed non-profit and for-profit businesses to develop and institute best practices, all with the end goal of running a healthy and successful ongoing concern that contributes to the economy by creating jobs for thousands of tax paying citizens and supporting local, state and federal initiatives by paying their inordinately high share of businesses taxes. State approved and regulated operators continue to face federal government interference in the form of prohibitive actions regarding access to federally chartered and insured banks (The Fed Crosses the Line: Fourth Corner Credit Union Denied) and unequally applied Federal tax enforcement issues, ie: 280E. And, unlike other industries, cannabis operators have to navigate a variety of other conflicts between state and federal laws.
In the Golden State, California, (with arguably the 7th or 8th largest economy in the world), cannabis is still largely unregulated (with the exception of the Bay Area and a few friendly locally regulated pockets in northern CA) creating all kinds of issues for operators trying to run legitimate medical marijuana co-operatives in the face of raids and significant intrastate transportation issues. It’s a mess in a state that some estimate produces as much as 60% of the legal and illegal cannabis consumed in the US annually, but the recently signed regulations by Governor Jerry Brown are an encouraging sign for medical operators in the state.
With all of that in mind, CBE is following up last year’s inaugural CBE 100 with the, as promised, 2015 list which is based more on real quantitative data (Washington win’s the award for the most transparent state by reporting I502 licensee revenues and taxes on a monthly basis), interviews with industry operators from most of the legal and quasi-legal medical and recreation regulated markets that have shared their best practices, and vendor partner information with CBE over the last 12 months, and by piecing together information from a variety of public sources.