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What do you wish you’d known before you started?

When you started your grow operation, what did you have to find out the hard way? What was the most challenging thing that you wish someone had told you a good solution for in advance?

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I have seen many people learn the hard way that they need more HVAC and dehumidification then they think they do. Proper calulations prevent re-buying equipment but it is something most growers learn as they go!

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My experience so far… The time it should take to get through licensing needs to be multiplied 2 or 3 times. Luckily for me I own the land and building, and I didn’t have to pay rent/lease for 9 months. Alaska has premise/address based licensing. Other businesses weren’t so lucky and were paying rent for an extended duration, while not being able to operate. Other businesses (mine included) were delayed by petitions that wanted to ban MJ businesses at a local level. I’d warn any new venture in a state that’s just opening up to the MJ industry, to do a couple things.

  1. Get to know your local government officials. See where they stand on Marijuana. Get to know them, and have discussions with them over coffee if possible. Let them know you want to be a responsible business, and how your business will create jobs, and revenue within the community. To boost support in my community I helped create a new tax ordinance for MJ businesses based on license types. Goodwill policies such as this played a significant role in defeating a citizens petition to ban MJ businesses in my community.

  2. Expect delays. Government officials can change their mind, or feel pressure from their supporters and suddenly stall or derail the local approval process. Local government approval can be halted too, even after a unanimous vote by the elected officials. A local petition usually requiring a very small number of signatures can be filed by opposition that will further delay and require a vote by the community.

  3. Publicity is good. Meet with radio stations, newspapers, and local charity/business groups. The more you can spread positive information about marijuana, in a friendly non intimidating way the better. Legal businesses can’t afford to hide in the basement any longer. A hundred years of propaganda and social stigma takes time and effort to erode.

This is just one hurdle. There are many more. This is not an easy business to enter. With that being said I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Just be prepared to become an activist, because it will likely be required of you.

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Bumping this topic for the newer folks.

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The initial setup cost, from purchasing my light to nutes to the environment control… I’d recommend anyone who is starting to grow to really research and plan before making a rash decision and having dead time.

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