Several governorships flipped as a result of the midterm elections, which can mean moving the needle on cannabis legislation. Here’s what we know about the new Governors Elect and how they are poised to change the cannabis landscape of their states:
Recognizing that Connecticut could see $30 million or more in tax revenue in year one of legalized recreational cannabis, Lamont has stated, “It is another source of revenue for the state. All of our neighbors have legalized marijuana. We [can] do this carefully [and] regulate it.”
The majority of Kansans support legal recreational cannabis, but Governor Elect Kelly wants to start with medicinal first. “I think that there is some momentum in the Legislature to pass, to legalize medical marijuana,” she said. “I think we would do it Kansas-style, where it would be well-regulated.”
Voters in Cook County supported recreational cannabis by a margin of 63 – 37 percent in a non-binding ballot referendum in March. It served only to gauge interest for the state, which has had a medicinal cannabis program since 2015. The day after winning the gubernatorial election, Pritzker noted that legalizing the sale and possession of cannabis for recreational use is “something we can work on nearly right away…We’ll restart those conversations with the leaders in both Houses, on both Republican and Democratic sides about our priorities, which will include legalization.”
The pro-cannabis Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party now controls the governorship, AG office and state House, which will help Governor Elect Walz with his recreational cannabis agenda. Earlier this year, he tweeted, “I support legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use by developing a system of taxation, guaranteeing that it is Minnesota grown, and expunging the records of Minnesotans convicted of marijuana crimes. #mngov #OneMinnesota”
Michelle Lujan Grisham
The Tax Foundation projects that New Mexico, a medical cannabis state, could raise up to $57 million in a year should it enact recreational legalization. Governor Elect Lujan Grisham appears to be onboard: “I am committed to working with the Legislature to move towards legalizing recreational cannabis in a way that improves public safety, boosts state revenues, and allows for New Mexico businesses to grow into this new market.”
Evers is in favor of medical cannabis and will leave it to voters to decide on adult-use legalization. If the midterm elections were any indication, Wisconsin should have a fully legalized program sooner than later. Non-binding referenda in 16 counties and two cities showed that an overwhelming majority of voters support recreational and medical cannabis.
Significant legislative changes are not expected by governors elect of states that have already enacted full adult legalization. Gavin Newsom (California), Jared Polis (Colorado), Steve Sisolak (Nevada), and Kate Brown (Oregon) will most likely continue advocating as Marijuana Policy Reform Allies. Gretchen Whitmer (Michigan), a consistent supporter, will assume office in the state to most recently pass adult legalization.
Check out our other 2018 election post Green Wave: Cannabis is Midterm Elections Winner.
While Democrats won back the House of Representatives and Republicans retained control of the Senate, there was a third winner that emerged from the midterm elections: cannabis. Four states voted on legalization and medical marijuana, and cannabis appeared on ballots in 22 cities and counties. Here are the results:
Voters approved Proposal 1 by 56 – 44 percent to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for adult use. Michigan is now the 10th state to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and over, and it is the ninth state to establish a system for regulating commercial cultivation and sales for adult use. The new law, expected to be enacted this month, permits adults to possess, grow, and use small amounts of cannabis. Over the course of the next year, licensed businesses will be allowed to cultivate, process, and sell cannabis to consumers.
Amendment 2 passed by a margin of 66 – 34 percent, making Missouri the 31st state to legalize medical cannabis. The new law allows physicians to approve patients to receive ID cards from the state, permitting them and their registered caregivers to grow up to six marijuana plants and purchase at least four ounces of cannabis from dispensaries on a monthly basis. Qualified patients and caregivers will have to until late 2019 or early 2020 before they can enter a dispensary and buy medical cannabis.
Two other measures failed: Amendment 3, which would have authorized doctors to recommend medical marijuana for a specific list of conditions, and would not have allowed home cultivation. Proposition C did not pass and would have taxed medical cannabis sales at two percent and allow recommendations for a specific list of conditions.
Proposition 2 passed by a margin of 53 – 47 percent and will go into effect on December 1, making Utah the 32nd state (after Missouri) to legalize cannabis for medicinal use. In its current form, the ballot measure allows qualified patients to purchase two ounces of medical cannabis or products containing 10 grams of cannabidiol or tetrahydrocannabinol from a dispensary during any two-week period. Patients who don’t live within 100 miles of a dispensary would be able to cultivate six cannabis plants at home and could designate caregivers to assist with the growing, obtaining and administration cannabis. Additionally, the state can issue licenses for cultivation, processing, testing, and dispensing businesses
There is a caveat: The Utah State Legislature plans to approve a compromise bill by sponsors of Proposition 2, opponents of the citizen ballot initiative, and political leaders.
Cannabis lost in North Dakota. Though a medical cannabis state, full legalization failed by a margin of 41 – 59 percent. One could point to the very loose restrictions included in the measure. For example, no set limit was proposed on the amount of cannabis that people could possess or cultivate. The state would permit production and sales but would have to create its own rules and regulations for the industry a legislative session down the road. The measure also called for automatically expunging convictions for marijuana offenses.
Cannabis saw gains on the local level. In Ohio, voters passed local decriminalization initiatives in five of six cities. Voters in 16 counties and two cities in Wisconsin were asked non-binding, cannabis advisory questions. The results: At least 14 counties have approved cannabis advisory referendums in support of various legalization and decriminalization policies.
Check out our other 2018 election post New Governors See a Bright Future for Cannabis.
During the Q&A session at a recent cannabis conference event, an audience member described her experience visiting a dispensary in Palm Springs. It felt daunting and uncomfortable, she said. There were several layers of obtrusive security, including multiple armed guards, and customers could only enter single file and one-at-a-time. You were buzzed into the entrance, waiting area, product room, and then upon exit. More than anything, she felt tense and as though she were doing something wrong.
There’s a fine line between security and customer comfort. In a predominantly cash-only business, protecting your staff, customers, and assets is paramount, but so is creating a positive customer experience. The good news is that you can have it both ways. Follow our recommendations from on how to keep your dispensary safe without scaring off customers:
Show That You’re Serious About Security
Dispensary-burglary is a primary safety concern for cannabis consumers. As dispensary owners, you can make your security presence known without it being in the customer’s face. Customers are there to shop, but they want protection, too. Be open about your security system by hiring security guards, posting visible signage, installing cameras at eye-level, and detailing your security protocols on your website.
Describe the Store Layout at Reception
Customers want to know what they’re walking into, so tell them. Whether they’re first-time or repeat customers, understanding the lay of the retail land can strengthen the customer journey. Train reception staff to provide customers with an overview of each part of the dispensary: explain the store layout and what they can expect to find in each space from the reception and waiting areas to the different sections of the shop. This is also a good time to note what security measures are in place. Remind customers that there is video surveillance and onsite security staff.
Ensure Your Security Staff is Customer-Friendly
Mountains of cash move in and out of dispensaries, and armed guards are often employed to stand watch and protect staff and customers. Security personnel carrying firearms can be intimidating. The last thing you want is for the first point of customer contact to obstruct the point of sale. Evan Hicks, Marketing Coordinator for Senseon Secure Access, a product of Accuride International, notes, “Because of marijuana’s history and, still, the stigma that exists in many communities, seeing a security guard can make customers feel skittish or even avoid coming in entirely…Many businesses opt for plain-clothes guards or guards with uniforms that mimic the rest of the in-store team.” Work with security to understand customer engagement, so they help create an inviting environment that also conveys to customers that safety is a top priority.
Make Your Space Visually Appealing
A dispensary that feels like a maximum security penitentiary, like the one described above, will not inspire loyal customers. The right design-build is critical and can make all the difference for customers to feel welcomed and relaxed. The Greenhouse in Morris, Illinois and Caliva in San Jose, California are great examples. A former restaurant remodeled into a dispensary, the Greenhouse features a reclaimed, 150-year-old bar that serves as the centerpiece of an open and comfortable space where visitors interact with budtenders and learn about the products. At Caliva (Business Insider’s Top Rated Dispensary, 2016), there is no bulletproof glass between customers and staff in the entrance, and the shop itself is designed with earthy tones and natural wood paneling.
The Bottom Line
Security weighs heavily on dispensary owners. They are tasked with meeting federal, state, and local security compliance requirements, while protecting all elements of their retail operations. Balancing safety and customer-engagement is challenging but can be achieved utilizing the best practices listed above.
Four years ago, Mosaic Construction entered a new vertical in construction as we jumped feet first into the cannabis industry as a result of one of our loyal client asking for our help. Mosaic had previously built retail spaces and when we were approached to complete three design/build projects for their cannabis dispensaries in Illinois, we learned very quickly how fast the market was growing (pun intended!)
Cannabis Facility Construction was created to brand our efforts in the cannabis industry. We have grown to a nation-wide, industry leading design/build construction company. We have worked with design professionals to create unique spaces for our cannabis clients and have completed twelve Dispensary, Cultivation and/or Processing projects in six states totaling over 140,000 square feet. We have a loyal client base and have expanded our reach and talents within the cannabis industry to provide quality and highly functional facilities within this booming sector.
We are proud, sponsoring members of the National Cannabis Industry Association which represents nearly 2,000 member-businesses and tens-of-thousands of cannabis professionals. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry where they believe “Our industry is stronger, smarter, and more prosperous when we work together.” Recently, we attended the Midwest Quarterly Cannabis Caucus which is the premier B2B event series for making meaningful connections with the cannabis industry’s leading executives and policymakers while also getting the tools we need to advance the cannabis industry nationally. Recently, we spent a few days in Anaheim, CA at the California Cannabis Business Conference, the only industry association trade show preparing California cannabis businesses for success in the largest adult-use market in the world. The California Cannabis Business Conference unifies the Golden State and brought together seasoned industry leaders to convene on best business practices and operations.
Later next month, the Cannabis Facility Construction team will attend the MJBiz convention in Las Vegas. This event is the preeminent conference to drive business deals and forge valuable connections with cannabis professionals in business today. There will be over 20,000+ cannabis professionals and 1,000+ exhibitors attending. It is the networking event for anyone serious about networking in the cannabis industry.
Our Brand: We believe that everyone should enjoy the spaces where they work and live. We understand that the definition of beauty is unique to each owner. We create living and working environments that align with our clients’ wants and needs. Through our consultative approach, we focus on learning about our clients and their plans for their new spaces. Our goal is to make their vision into a reality. We promise that it will all come together to exceed client’s expectations and fulfill their vision!
What does “It All Comes Together” mean to some of the Mosaic team members?
“Every Mosaic Action must be implemented, executed, and working in unison for us to be successful and to be the company we want to be. It’s what makes us stand out from the crowd and establish ourselves.”
“It All Comes Together’ means combining all facets of the project into one efficient working machine. From design to construction to finish day, we work through every detail to make sure the project is completed flawlessly.”
“When we are focused on the Mosaic Actions, the result is ‘It All Comes Together’. We have happy team members, clients and trade partners.”
“Mosaic. Where we have many talents and much experience over many facets of construction; all integrated under once process driven enterprise.”
“The customer is more pleased with the work we did for them than they could have imagined.”
“At the completion of project, everyone is happy and satisfied with the journey.”
“It means everything from start to finish was completed on the job. We communicated who we are and what our company is capable of. We listened to the customer’s needs, we built a relationship with our client and understand exactly what they are looking for. We followed through on our commitments and ensured the work met their expectations. We followed up after the job was completed and made sure they still love the dream we created.”
When you walk into work for the day, the environment should be better by having you there. Treat your peers as your internal clients; this will result in a better work environment and an improved customer experience. Leave outside issues at the door and bring a positive attitude.
What does “Contribute to a Positive Environment” mean to some of the Mosaic team members?
” ‘Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.’ When you come to work and interact with a team member or a client, have a clear vision of the day ahead and avoid distractions, you will have a great day.”
“A positive environment is a place where people enjoy working and living. Contributing to a Positive Environment is doing your part to bring enthusiasm and charisma to all atmospheres of life.”
“Contribute to a Positive Environment means that we take interest in the lives of our team, clients and trade partners. We ask questions, we check in with them, we think of others and how we can be supportive and help them with their work.”
“Contributing to a Positive Environment means make the experience positive for the client. Construction is dirty, noisy and disruptive and we cannot change that. We can set realistic expectations for positive, achievable outcomes and do it with a smile!”
“Use language that is upbeat. Challenges, not problems, for example.”
“Respect everyone. Have fun.”
“Contribute to a Positive Environment means bringing a happy energy to the work place, leaving your problems at the door being a positive person and helping hand your team.”
It All Comes Together when we Close the Loop on all action items and communications. Follow through on what is promised internally and externally. Be accountable and complete tasks in their entirety.
What does “Close the Loop” mean to some of the Mosaic team members?
“Our timeline with clients is not a straight line. There can always be more opportunities to strengthen the relationship through outreach, communication, and interaction.”
“Closing the Loop means finishing out the project strong. We don’t just begin with a good start, yet we are there for every step of the project and will be there after the project is finished to help with anything they need.”
“Close the Loop means we are focused on open ended items that require our energies and commitments. Closing the Loop improves our client experience and is important to maintaining a great reputation.”
“Closing the Loop means we finish what we start. We set and meet the expectations and we walk the talk.”
“Make sure we finish the project with the same enthusiasm that we started with. Closing the Loop means keeping the client abreast of what we are doing after their project is completed.”
“Follow up. Make the phone call. Send the email.”
“Follow up! Completing a job from start to finish. Ensuring each step is done and nothing is missed. Following up with the client after the job is complete to make sure they are happy.“
In order to have It All Come Together, we must understand who the customer is and what is important to them. Building relationships creates loyalty, trust and a shared vision; it also creates a strong culture and work environment. Strong relationships with our office team, trade partners, and clients lead to a successful and focused company.
What does “Build Relationships” mean to some of the Mosaic team members?
“We are a relationship based company, not transactional. Our clients work with us again and make referrals because of the quality of our work we provide as well as the trust they feel and respect we show. Clients know that when they hire our team, we treat their project as if it were our own.”
“At Mosaic we build relationships with our clients, our trade partners and within our team. Building relationships requires trust. We want all of our clients to feel that trust and know they can rely on us 100%.”
“Building Relationships means we understand our prospect/client needs and what is important to them. We focus on the person and not on the project. We value transparent communication and loyalty. We work hard to create valuable relationships with our clients and trade partners.”
“The foundation of our business. We are not a transaction but an experience that is relatable and replicable through the course of many projects over many years. Building Relationships also means that our clients can count on us as a resource and consultant long after the projects have been completed.”
“Always be cognizant of what each relationship can bring to each participant. Communication is the key to building relationships.”
“Building Relationships means we are respectful to our clients and trade partners. We remember personal tidbits about our clients lives and ask about them when we speak again.”
We use our experience to incorporate consistency, quality and efficiency into our work. Be prepared and adhere to processes to eliminate mistakes and stick to timelines. Doing it the right way means ensuring we deliver on our client’s needs while working with integrity.
What does “Do It the Right Way” mean to some of the Mosaic team members?
“Listen to the client, address their needs, be professional. Respond to their concerns and questions.”
“Doing it the Right Way focuses on excellent client communication, industry leading construction standards, and exceptional customer service.”
“Do it the Right Way means we are consistent and efficient in all areas of our company both internally and externally. We focus on our promises and work to ensure a ‘client for life’ mentality. We accomplish this through timely communications, proper setting of expectations, completing the project successfully and earning any referrals from our relationships.”
“There are many right ways to accomplish the task at hand keeping in mind what is right for our specific client”
“No short cuts”
“Always follow through to ensure we are taking the steps needed to complete the job without short cuts.”
It must All Come Together internally to be able to deliver on our brand promise. Communicate our story, live the brand, and embody the Mosaic Actions; to create a stronger, more effective team that delivers on the customers’ expectations.
What does “Communicate Our Story” mean to some of the Mosaic team members?
“Communicating our story gives a transparent view into who we are as team members. Our story allows us to develop and engage in relationships, not initiate transactions.”
“Communicating our story means showing our clients how our past experiences have helped get us to where we are today. We are built on giving clients a better experience than they expected; with focus on communication and planning all the way to the finish line.”
“Communicating our story provides the history of our company and focuses on our client’s needs and the quality of our work. We strive to complete each project as if we personally owned the asset.”
“It means that we have to be relatable to our clients and trade partners. Our story and how we operate is not a pitch, yet a way of letting our clients know that we understand their needs and will help them articulate what they want to accomplish.”
“Explain who we are and what we do.”
“Listening to our client and when the timing is right describe our construction knowledge and abilities.”
“It means that we let our clients know how we got to where we are today, showing them how much we have grown and that we are a referral based company.”