Marijuana microbusinesses are a hot trend across the country, giving small businesses a better chance of breaking into the lucrative cannabis market.
The marijuana microbusiness is catching fire. Michigan issued its first microbusiness license to Sticky Bush Farms in September 2020. Officials in New Mexico, which has made offering opportunities to as many entrepreneurs as possible a key component of its legal marijuana industry, are considering new rules to allow the state to make loans available to single-location microbusinesses.
New York officials also made microbusinesses part of the state’s legal recreational cannabis program. State officials have set a goal that half of all microbusiness licenses will go to social and economic equity candidates.
“Those are very exciting, new opportunities that we haven’t seen yet in other states,” Tristan Hujer, an attorney who specializes in cannabis, told the Albany Business Review. “In California or Las Vegas or Colorado, you’re mostly seeing traditional dispensaries.”
The Microbusiness model
So what exactly is a marijuana microbusiness? Like a craft winery or brewery, states license marijuana microbusinesses to grow, process, and sell small batches of marijuana through an exclusive retail outlet. They’ve become the chosen route in some states to help small business owners get into the cannabis industry. Microbusinesses do not interact with other cannabis businesses. Everything is self-contained and done in small batches.
The number of plants a microbusiness can grow varies depending on the state. For example, Michigan licensed Sticky Bush Farms to grow 150 plants. In New Mexico, the limit is 200. Whatever the number, the idea is to grow small-batch cannabis with unique properties, much like the explosion of craft beers in recent decades.
While microbusinesses give consumers another choice in cannabis products, it also furthers the social justice goals entwined with legalization in many states. By offering the chance for entrepreneurs to enter the market with relatively low capital investment, states increase opportunities for minority business owners.
Published: November 11, 2021
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News