The Future of Multi-State Operators

Kris Krane, 4Front | August 2, 2019

Current cannabis cultivation, production, and distribution remains siloed state by state. As cannabis regulation is beginning to shift, we now have businesses and companies with access to fairly large amounts of capital operating in states across the United States. Multi-state operators (MSOs) are gaining momentum. From an advocacy perspective, that’s a good thing. Brand recognition is the path to the ultimate legitimization and legalization of cannabis. Citizens are going to start building affinities toward certain brands in the same way they do with soda or sneakers. Up until recently, large brands have remained contained to the states they’re in. Creating a Fair Future with MSOs There is a downside, however. Mom and pop or smaller operators are finding it harder to get a foothold in the industry. States are recognizing this and instituting policies to help. Social equity provisions ensure that there are licenses set aside for smaller      operators, communities of color, and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by prohibition. They’re also putting caps on the number of licenses any one company can own without capping the number of total licenses. Licensing isn’t the only barrier to entry. These smaller companies are competing with MSOs that have years of experience, more money, and that know what they’re doing. They’ve already gotten kicked in the teeth and learned hard lessons. As a new operator, it’s not easy to compete with that. In an attempt to protect mom and pops from MSOs, I worry that some states are taking things a little …

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