Interlude- “The Compleat Herbalist”. Herbie and his Friends Visit Shenandoah National Park.

Blunt Business Cannabis Herbie National Parks

Inspired by “The Compleat Angler”, by Izaak Walton.  Published in 1653, it is one of the oldest stories in the Modern English language. In this classic work, an Angler, a Hunter and a Falconer walk together through the woods while extolling the unique merits of their respective sports, sort of a 17th century version of trash talk.

I will use this format, having a Grower (farmer), a Processor (scientist) and a Dispensary Entrepreneur (Herbie) spend time together in some of our great National Parks, reviewing and discussing recent lessons given by the Mentor or other teachers, and yes, generally talking much trash.

 

“Herbie, this is cool”, says Monk.  “I agree” says Astro.  “Coming to these National Parks is such a great thing to do.”

Herbie, Astro, Monk, and of course Blunt had just reached the midpoint of Skyline Drive, the spectacular, hundred mile drive through Shenandoah National Park.

“Have you gotten over having to leave your stash at the hotel?  Being as we are in a National Park”? asks Monk.

“Leave it alone”, snaps Herbie.  “Let’s get going”.

“So, something’s been kind of gnawing at my brain”, says Monk.  At every point, this Mentor guy stressed that we should hire top talent and not do these analyses ourselves.  Top talent is expensive.  Just how much are we talking about”?

“I can comment on that” says Astro.  A friend of mine runs a dispensary that is owned by some conglomerate somewhere.  They did exactly that- brought in a consultant to do a market study.  He told me he sat in on some of the hiring discussions.”

“And…”?

Well, they finally went with a local business professor who consults.  He supposedly charged them $25K to do a market analysis involving “original research”- that is, stuff you can’t just look up or get by subscribing to a database.

“Twenty-Five Thousand! Holy shit!” Exclaim both Herbie and Monk.

“Wait!” says Astro.  That’s not the bad part.  Apparently, the people they didn’t select included so-called “name brand” firms, like the old “Big 8” or “Big 5” accounting firms that now do consulting.  Their bids came in at 5 to 10 times that.  That’s right- a “blue chip” consulting firm might charge 250K, or more, to properly analyze one market or region.  Again, this is original research, stuff nobody else will have.  Businesses funded by very deep pockets, or that are part of vertically integrated MSOs will have these things.  Likewise with legal research and opinions.  Your basic entrepreneur will not have these things, and will be at a disadvantage.

“So what are you saying…don’t enter the business”? asks Herbie.

“My own opinion is that entrepreneurs should band together, perhaps through associations, and raise the money to pay for these studies to be done”.

“OK, so why don’t the three of us chip in and hire a consultant,” says Monk.

“Sounds good, but our needs are different,” says Astro.  For example, while the industry growth rate might be similar for each of us, the question of entry barriers is likely to be different for each of us because of the different licensing requirements for our respective sectors.  In my home state, grower licenses are highly restricted.  Dispensary licenses are wide open. I don’t know what it’s like in the market we are contemplating.

“I wouldn’t have thought of that”, says Herbie.

“That’s why the Mentor said to hire experts”, says Astro.  And like I said, you’re lucky I’m here to explain these things to you.  As the only one here with a PhD, I…”

“Shut up!”. “Woof, woof!” “Woof!”

Astro is roundly and soundly shouted down by all.

“I still think we should find a way,” says Monk.  “I know a guy…”

“Uh-oh”. 

“Uh-oh”. 

“Let me call him”.

One hour later…

“Ok, all set,” says Monk.  He’ll address all three of our sectors- that is, he’ll look at our market from the perspective of a grower, a processor and a dispensary, for one combined price.  I can’t tell you what that price is, but let’s just say he’ll be helping me at harvest time.

“Cool,” says Herbie.  “Yes, very cool,” says Astro.

“Woof”.

 


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