The topic of marijuana retailing is getting hotter each day. Are you thinking of opening your own dispensary or pot shop? Good news, a new book on starting and running such a business is coming out in September! Meet Jay Currie, the author of Start & Run a Marijuana Dispensary or Pot Shop (October 2016).
I am a writer, marketer and consultant. I write regularly in the Financial Post and I’ve written for a variety of other Canadian publications. I am legally trained and have also edited and published magazines. I was early into blogging and, at one point, sat as a judge for the Canadian Blogging Awards.
For the last decade I have been mainly working with companies in the junior resource sector which led to work with a number of marijuana companies getting in on the Green Rush triggered by the legalization and regulation of marijuana.
What is your book about?
It is a how-to guide for people interested in going into the retail marijuana business – whether medical marijuana dispensaries or recreational cannabis shops – in the United States and Canada.
It is very much a “look before you leap” approach to the pot business. I discuss issues like regulatory compliance, security, serious business planning and try to take people through a risk assessment exercise before they dive into the marijuana business. Successful retail businesses are all about planning and minimizing risk. Marijuana is not a lot different save for the added complication of intrusive regulation.
Why did you write this book?
It is an interesting topic and bringing a business risk approach to the subject struck me as worthwhile. There is a lot of hype surrounding the marijuana business and taking a businesslike approach to the subject seemed important.
Who will be most interested in your new book?
I’ve written the book as a general guide to marijuana retailing. If you are thinking of getting into the retail end of the marijuana business this book gives you the business and regulatory questions to ask. I’ve tried to be very objective and very realistic. If you are smart, watch your costs like a hawk and understand how your jurisdiction’s marijuana regulations will affect your business, there is money to be made selling pot. But it is a business and needs to be treated as a business right from the most preliminary planning stage. I think this book will help people who are serious about selling marijuana at retail.
Is this your first book? What else have you written?
This is my first book. I have written literally hundreds of published articles, a couple of dozen business plans, marketing plans and all manner of other material; but this is my first book.
How did you find the writing process?
I very much enjoyed the process. I was lucky enough to be able to write a good working outline in a couple of days at the very beginning and when I get stuck, and writers nearly always get stuck, I was able to skip to another, less stuck, section and keep working.
I was really delighted with how the business planning chapter came together. I had been looking for a good guide to writing a business plan for years and, 7000 words later, I think I have written one.
For sheer entertainment – though my wife might disagree – dinner table talk with my two teen sons about the unbelievably crazy world of marijuana regulation is hard to beat. They still can’t believe that pot advertising on bumper stickers is not permitted in Washington State in case the car drives within 1000 feet of a school. Seriously.
Many writers are also readers. What are you top three reads of all times?
I am voracious. But top three? Tough question. #1 is easy Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time. All twelve volumes. #2 could be any one of about fifty literary biographies but I will go with Nicholas Shakespeare’s Chatwin simply because I had a memorable (barely) afternoon of beers with Nick and enjoy his deep connection to Brit Lit. #3 Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love. Heinlein was a wonderfully cranky libertarian, a successful pulp writer and the inspiration for many of today’s private space ventures. Plus he entertains.
Are you thinking of writing another book? On what topic?
Definitely. I have a few topics rolling around. One is a simple, effective guide to how to run and participate in meetings. Both the formal and the informal elements of what makes a meeting successful and how people can make this happen. People have a love/hate relationship with meetings and public speaking and I think I have something to say to make the process less daunting and more productive.
The other book I am seriously looking at is an expansion of the business planning section of this book. As I said, I looked for years for a decent guide to writing a business plan. Part of the problem is that most guides will tell you “how-to” but not “why” you should. So people either do very cursory plans to get the process out of the way or they write deep, elaborate, plans which they never look at again. There is a better way.