People in Seattle like to talk about pot. All the time. Whether it’s discussing what strains they like or debating our understanding of the current laws and various loopholes, the chronic seems to be a chronic topic of conversation around these parts.

I have a fairly informed take on the business side of cannabusiness. (For those out of the loop, “cannabusinesss” is the catch-all term for the business of all cannabis products and services – medical marijuana, recreational, retail, production, processing, edibles, etc.)  I was involved in managing a medical cooperative grow (totally legal) prior to and during the transition in Washington State to recreational and state-licensed facilities. What I learned from being involved in the industry is that in many cases, the stereotype of the “passionate stoner” seems to really fit. From businesses operating without any understanding of their costs to those operators who were putting in 18 hours a day, 365 days a year, many of the pre-state-licensed facilities were operating without even the most basic understanding of how businesses should work.

With the passage of i-502, Washington enforced a degree of professionalism on the state-licensed facilities, but even so, anecdotal stories of poor management and lack of planning abound. In April, a grower’s facility suffered massive damages when their local firefighters couldn’t get thru the security quickly enough.

Applying sound business and operations management principles at the beginning of an enterprise can save thousands down the road. Conducting regular risk assessments can be worth a heck of a lot more than the time and effort to undertake that effort.