The Unique Challenges of Operating a Cannabis Business


Of all the hurdles facing cannabis business owners, navigating uncharted territory seems to be the most difficult to surmount. Legacy industries without the associated history of marijuana enjoy many privileges and benefits not afforded to the cannabis industry.

  1. Credit Card and Debit Card Transactions

A recent survey of over 2000 Americans found that more than half want to get rid of cash. Almost 60% thought cash presented more significant problems with coronavirus transmission. The poll also found that when Americans carry cash, most have less than $65 at any given time. If you are a cannabis business owner, you probably look at this report and wonder what it means for the future of your new business. Many credit card networks prohibit marijuana business transactions, leading to creative purchasing techniques that leave business owners tiptoeing the line between their past and present. The end of 2020 saw the emergence of a new credit card payment app, but early adopters are still pushing to make it the industry norm. Cash is still king for cannabis business owners.

  1. Marijuana Businesses Have a High Robbery Rate

Because cannabis businesses tend to be solely cash-based operations, Wharton Business School conducted a study that found cannabis businesses are robbed with great frequency. The study stated that one out of every two cannabis dispensaries is robbed. While these statistics have caused a great deal of alarm in the industry, many in law enforcement argue the number is inflated. Some in the industry believe more conservative estimates putting the robbery rate at one of every five. Regardless of which statistic you trust, it’s not surprising that continued attention is being given to the topic. The consensus opinion is that dispensaries continue to be a target for criminals because of the payday. In the same Wharton study, researchers found that thieves could yield as much as $65,000 in a single robbery. To say this is bad for business is an understatement.

  1. Legal Gray Zone: Marijuana and the Federal Government

When you say something is legal, most people hear they can use it freely without impunity. Marijuana should not be viewed in this manner yet. When you compare marijuana to alcohol, another controlled substance, you can instantly see how legal has different meanings. Alcohol is considerably easier to obtain, sell, and transport personally. This dichotomy is the result of the federal legal status of marijuana. As long as marijuana remains a banned Schedule 1 drug, it will be viewed as federally illegal, which means a gray area will exist for users and business owners.

Cannabis Business Attorneys in San Diego

At Purdy & Bailey, we can help you protect your cannabis business investment by providing guidance regarding regulations and compliance matters. Contact us today at (858) 360-7080 for help navigating the legal requirements of the cannabis business industry.