I’ve talked with several smart, driven people of our i502 community lately, desperate to find warehouse locations for their Canna business start-ups. Most of these people had a location identified and negotiated with landlords before applying for their i502 license(s), as was required, only to find that the location promised was no longer available. Some of the landlords responsible for this unscrupulous fiasco were in a bit of a Green Rush themselves, and had promised the same location to several people. In the end, there can be only one i502 Cannabusiness at a single address so someone, or some people, involved with these landlords got the shaft.
Some landlords, knowing the market was tight, renegotiated the terms of the deal. This left the i502 folks to decide which was worse, heading back into a highly competitive market with few options, or accepting the new blackmail terms. A third set of landlords were pressured by surrounding businesses and/or residents to abandon the terms negotiated in good faith, or face the wrath of an angry mob, being forever labeled a landlord that rented to those peddling poison.
My husband and I faced a similar battle with our own landlord. We negotiated a deal in good faith with all the fine points agreed to and accepted, to draft our letter of intent submitted with our i502 application. However, when it came time to sign the actual lease, suddenly the landlord was unsure he wanted to be part of this deal. Funny because at the time of our Letter of Intent signing we were told they wanted to “bet on the right horse” because this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and they wanted to make sure we would make it to the end and be profitable, loyal tenants. They were sitting on a goldmine, which currently housed only spiders and a broken down RV, but now they knew they had something people wanted and maybe they were not charging enough. Through two months of highly diplomatic tongue-biting on our part, we finalized the lease with only an extra $17,000 necessary over the life of the lease. In case you can’t sense the sarcasm in my written words, this is exorbitant and ridiculous, but still we are lucky compared to others. The landlord wanted us to be profitable and able to pay the rent each month but also took all he could, hamstringing us from the get-go, by padding his pockets with additional funds from our shoe-string, boot-strapped budget. We will still make it, but our cushion is gone, and we will be cheap and live like misers for the foreseeable future. Good thing we like Top Ramen and Hot Dogs. Sorry kiddos, Santa hurt his back and can’t make many toys this year.
Am I bitter? Only a little. In the end I know that the i502 community is a determined bunch. There is opportunity in this Recreational Marijuana Industry, or nobody would take the risk. Still, we will need to pull together, network and share knowledge and advice. Three cheers for Suzy Wilson from W.O.W. Weeds, for leading this charge and sharing hugely private details of her Cannabusiness in the hope that others will be successful and this industry will flourish. This industry is not going away and eventually we will be strong and well-funded. This is when the power paradigm shifts and those that tried to gouge, cheat, renegotiate, and extort will be remembered. They will make their small Green Rush at the start by blackmailing Cannabusiness startups, but in the end they will be shut out.
For now it is up to us to stick together and help each other to make this industry strong. Find each other in the i502 Google Group. Network, ask and answer questions. The stronger we grow the more this industry will grow. And by the way, keep the prices low enough for people to buy from the retail stores or they will just go back to the black-market dealers they already have on speed-dial. Pricing for market longevity…that’s another blog post. Still, it is an important part of making this industry flourish and stable. Bottom line, i502 Community, work together and help one another and this industry will be robust and strong. Let’s not resort to the unethical level of those trying to prosper by stepping on the back of those taking the bulk of the risk.