America’s marijuana sector is booming, with expected sales of $11 billion this year. By 2021, those already impressive sales figures should jump to $21 billion. Strong growth should continue as more American states legalize medicinal and recreational marijuana use. While businesses working in medicinal and recreational marijuana are varied, they typically have the following things in common.

1. They comply with appropriate regulations

Compliance is the most important factor in determining success for a cannabis business. Fail to comply with local, municipal, state, and federal regulations and your business risks a hefty fine or even closure. That’s why compliance measures should be part of your business planning process. You should also develop plans and procedures for remaining compliant, which should be reviewed regularly with any industry policy changes.

Adhering to the regulations of so many different bodies can be difficult. However, organizations like the U.S. Cannabis Compliance Corp., a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association, can review all your processes, documents, and transactions. It can also suggest remedies for any problems it detects and develop policies to ensure future compliance.

2. They have strong investor networks

A strong network of investors gives marijuana companies the finances they need for continued growth. Attending conferences, business expos, and other networking events can help a marijuana company connect with potential investors.

Listing stocks on the stock exchange is another great way to attract an investor base. Stocks on the U.S. Marijuana Index are currently outperforming the S&P 500, with the growth of more than 71 percent between June 2017 and June 2018. Some of the best marijuana stocks even enjoyed triple-figure growth during that period.

3. They make strategic partnerships

The most successful marijuana companies understand that they can’t do everything themselves. Through strategic partnerships, these businesses benefit from the expertise and contacts of other companies. For example, CannTrust Holdings Inc., Canada’s sixth-largest marijuana facility, recently forged an exclusive partnership with Canada’s largest generic pharmaceutical company Apotex Inc.

Through this partnership, the companies are researching and developing alternative dosage formats for medicinal cannabis, including quick- and sustained-release forms for THC and CBD. These new formats will provide more options for healthcare practitioners prescribing cannabis products to their patients.

4. They put customers first

The efforts of CannTrust Holdings Inc. and Apotex Inc. point to the desire marijuana companies have to deliver what customers want. Modern marijuana consumers are savvy. They expect high-quality products available in a variety of formats.

The companies that separate themselves from the competition by delivering something different are the ones who typically succeed. While product matters, other elements that enhance the user experience, such as customer loyalty offers, can also be powerful ways of encouraging brand loyalty.

5. They’re flexible

The marijuana industry is a new sector that’s changing all the time. That presents a unique challenge for businesses trying to position themselves for success. The ones who ultimately rise to the top have a flexible approach that lets them adapt to industry changes without losing their identities.

As a growing industry, the marijuana sector presents great opportunities for start-up businesses. Consider what other successful marijuana businesses have in common to give your new enterprise the best chance of thriving in this booming industry.

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