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Marijuana franchisers hope to make pot shops as common as fast food restaurants

Posted: 4:12 PM, Nov 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-21 21:56:18Z

Marijuana is all the buzz in Las Vegas in November with the MJBIZCON bringing in over 20-thousand cannabis pros from around the world.  Part of their mission?  Making their business, your business. 13 Investigates uncovers a new opportunity for potpreneurs. 

Millions and millions of dollars, even a billion. Those are the words a marijuana trade group uses to describe the economic impact cannabis could have in Nevada. 

As part of that, some dispensaries may soon be as commonly branded as some of the best known American icons like McDonald's, 7-11 or Ace Hardware as the industry continues to grow like a weed. 

"I've bumped into every hard corner you can find," says Christian Hageseth founder of ONE Cannabis   based in Denver. 

He says his losses could be your gains.

"I've made millions of dollars in the cannabis business and I've lost millions of dollars. Learned a lot of important lessons along the way."

The lessons learned are now available, for a price, in the form of a business opportunity. 

"The benefit of franchising is you get all of that knowledge," Christian explains. "All of that experience without having to make the very expensive mistakes that it took to gain it."

ONE Cannabis is moving beyond Colorado, offering to franchise their brand now that marijuana is legal in some form in over 30 states plus our nation's capital.  

"Like any industry. this industry will find different ways to structure itself," says David Goldwater one of Nevada's first generation potpreneurs. He says franchising is as natural to business as the green plant itself. 

It's all about satisfying the customer and meeting demand. 

"How that gets met and what the right business model is for that," David explains. "You're going to get some creative thinking and that's good."

Christian says ONE Cannabis is here to tap a common need.

"Consumer acceptance. American consumers are very trained. We--like it or not--we tend to shop more at Starbucks than the independent coffee shops, McDonald's than the independent burger joint," says Christian. "The expectation of the American consumer is to find retailers that have products that are known and trusted."

Still, a franchise is for serious investors as it will cost at least $750,000 to $2,500,000.  But Christian says that investment comes with help navigating complex marijuana laws that often conflict from one state to the next.  

"The access to the nuanced rules and regulations at the state, county and city level are really easy to get," he explains.  "But then really what we're doing is putting it through our filter of experience and knowledge."

And while most of us can't afford to pop open a pot shop, this green opportunity tells us something about the future of cannabis in Nevada.

"The expansion of franchising as a business model in cannabis is a great indicator of the fact that this industry has been here long enough and is likely here to stay." says Christian. 

The state Department of Taxation sees no problem with franchises. But, with over 600 active marijuana licenses in Nevada, from cultivators to retail stores, they told us each year they'll assess if there's enough to supply the demand and call for additional license applications based on that.

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