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Don’t be the next casualty in California’s evolving marijuana market

Updated: Jul 16, 2019

Published May 29, 2019 | By John Schroyer

(This is an abridged version of a story that appears in the May-June issue of Marijuana Business Magazine.)

Thousands of marijuana businesses have left California since the Golden State industry’s 2018 pivot from a 20-year gray market into one of the most highly regulated MJ business landscapes in the United States.

Reasons for the exodus vary, ranging from a company’s inability to obtain local or state licenses to not having enough money to comply with costly state regulations.

In a nutshell, the biggest marijuana space in the world hasn’t been a business-friendly environment. (In fact, California lawmakers are trying to legislate ways to correct the situation.)

📷As of March 2019, for example, a majority of California municipalities still banned cannabis companies, making it all the more difficult for MJ businesses to put down roots.

All the upheaval from the rollout of California’s marijuana industry prompted Michael Katz to shut down his 3-year-old vape cartridge firm in Los Angeles, Evoxe Laboratories.

“All of the pieces of the puzzle were cost-prohibitive,” Katz said. “California just became a place where it was not advisable to keep putting resources into the market with all the uncertainty.”

Instead, Katz hit pause on Evoxe and moved to Mendocino County in Northern California.

Once there, he focused on another venture he had co-founded, the Emerald Exchange, which sets up marijuana farmers markets and other events that promote cannabis brands and businesses.

We spoke with Katz and other stakeholders in the California cannabis industry to get some advice about how to find success in the Golden State’s marijuana market and how to enjoy success as a new entrant.

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