Regulation is Squeezing Out Potrepreneurs, Clearing the Road for Big Cannabis

For Julie Dooley, marijuana is a business and a cause.

A 46-year-old mother of three, Dooley is the cofounder and president of Julie’s Baked Goods, a purveyor of cannabis-infused snacks. She has celiac disease and wanted to create gluten-free products that would relieve her pain without damaging her intestine. Dooley’s Denver company released its first product, granola mixed with cranberries and almonds, in 2010 and now sells about 6,000 units a month, employing 11 people.

Even in Colorado, where medical and recreational marijuana are both legal, the cannabis business involves its share of hassles. Initially, Dooley’s license cost $1,250 and required a 25-page application. Renewing it, she said, cost more than twice that and required investing about $25,000 in the company’s kitchen, including a security system with 24-hour video surveillance. She wouldn’t have a business today if her husband weren’t a manufacturing specialist, she says.

As hard as she’s worked, Dooley’s experience has been relatively easy for a medical marijuana business in this country. Marijuana remains illegal federally, which leaves every state which allows the product to figure out its own regulations. Colorado was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, and its regulations help ensure that cannabis companies have to pay close attention to the regulatory landscape to ensure they’re in step with the law. “I know every city councilman,” Dooley said. “I don’t want to.”

– Read the entire article at Fast Company