Online Marijuana Sales a Burgeoning Market in North America

The North American e-Commerce market for marijuana products is gaining momentum as Canada legalized the sale of recreational marijuana across the country in October 2018 and more states in the U.S. legalize the sale of both medical and recreational marijuana. However, a number of obstacles will impede online sales of cannabis products at least for the next few years.

Impediments to Online Sales

Sending marijuana through the mail is illegal in the United States, even for medical purposes. The prohibition applies to the United States Postal Service as well as FedEx and UPS.

In contrast, medical marijuana has been sold online in Canada and delivered by Canada Post since 2013. Late last year the Canadian government legalized the purchase of up to 30 grams of recreational marijuana. Most of these sales are occurring online, as retail stores have been slow to open. The provinces must enact their own rules so there may be differences in regulations among them.

In addition to the flower that is usually smoked, recreational marijuana includes edibles and CBD, or cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound found in the hemp plant. CBD oil and cream are used as a treatment for many medical conditions, and CBD sales are widespread in the United States.

CBD is now being added to beauty products and THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that causes the feeling of being high, is being added to beverages. CBD beer is also on the market.

While the sale of CBD and edibles has not been legalized in Canada, about a dozen Canadian websites are openly selling these goods. The Canadian government is supposed to consider legalization later this year.

Shipping marijuana from Canada to the United States is illegal, regardless of whether a state has legalized medical or recreational marijuana purchases. Some Canadian sites have opened American subsidiaries that operate in states that have legalized marijuana sales. It is likely that they want to get in on the CBD and edibles market.

Global Market

According to Arcview Market Research and its partner BDS Analytics, total worldwide spending on legal marijuana will reach $57 billion by 2027. The largest market will be North America, growing from $9.2 billion in 2017 to $47.3 billion in 2027. The recreational market will be the largest segment in North America, contributing 67 percent of the amount, with medical cannabis making up the remainder.

In contrast, in Europe medical cannabis will dominate and it will become the largest medical marijuana market in the world.

U.S. Market

The District of Columbia and 10 states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington — have adopted laws legalizing marijuana for recreational and medical use. Twenty-one states have legalized medical marijuana only.

Nevertheless, at the federal level it is still a crime to possess, buy, or sell marijuana. Marijuana cannot be transported across state lines, even if the states in question have medical or recreational marijuana programs. However, states that have programs provide sellers certain legal protections.

Federal law prohibits FDIC-insured institutions from making loans to or accepting deposits from a marijuana company. Marijuana businesses typically have to work with private, state-chartered banks. One such bank — GRN Funds, located in Bellevue Washington — handles over $500 million in deposits from CBD companies on the West Coast. Canadian marijuana firms enjoy a competitive advantage because they have access to the international banking system and can legally transfer funds into banks in the United States in states where marijuana programs exist.

Ecommerce Sites

Since the marijuana flower cannot be shipped through the mail in the U.S., online sales consist mostly of CBD products. Several American websites do not sell online but instead either link to medical marijuana or marketing and advertising opportunities for dispensaries.

Following are a few American and Canadian sites that offer services and products.

  • Green Growth Brands in Columbus, Ohio, is a publicly traded company. It hosts a variety of brands on its site, and the CBD products can be ordered online and shipped to 35 states.
  • Leafly provides links to dispensaries around the country and serves as a marketing and advertising resource for brands that wish to introduce their products to customers.
  • CBD for Life is an American company that sells online a variety of CBD products including lotions, bath products, tinctures, and shampoos.
  • The Mega Marijuana Store appears to flout U.S. law. With a store in Vermont, it sells and ships marijuana flower and seeds as well as edibles and CBD products. Its website boasts that it offers, “…guaranteed stealth delivery to anywhere in the world at no extra cost.”
  • Quick Greens is a Canadian company that sells both edibles and marijuana flowers online.

Software Platforms

Several software platforms have sprung up to serve dispensaries and their customers. Among them are:

  • Weed Hero is an Oregon-based company that offers both free software that allows customers to place orders directly from a dispensary website. Some dispensaries offer delivery while others require customer pickup.
  • Green Marimba is a Boulder, Colorado-based company that hosts dispensary websites that include automated compliance reporting and tools for managing vendors, inventory, and customer relationships.
  • Shopify entered the marijuana market when recreational marijuana became legal in Canada. Some Canadian provinces have chosen Shopify to run their ecommerce websites. Shopify has also signed up marijuana companies.

Multiple Seattle Cannabis Companies Offer Largest Cannabis Deal in History

Over (10) 502 licensed retail cannabis business have entered into an arrangement to sell their retail shops on the open market here the State of Washington.

Justin Costello the CEO of Seattle, WA area Investment Bank; GRN Funds, LLC is the deal’s designer and architect. Mr. Costello who has over 80 cannabis related deals in completion has stated “It’s the largest deal ever offered in cannabis on the open market. There have been a few IPO deals up in Canada that were large but this is different it offers 10 working companies. Never before in the history of the cannabis industry has a deal like this been offered with this type of infrastructure, profitability, and revenues”.

GRN Funds is offering the deal as a private bid, “you will need to inquire and be qualified as a bidder” Costello stated. It has taken over 3 months for GRN Funds and Costello to put the deal together and have it offered in to meet compliance standards within the Washington State Liquor Control Board regulations. “This has been very challenging deal to design with many complexities revolving around license and regulatory laws. In the state of Washington you can only own so many retail licenses at one time” Costello stated.

Media inquiries may be directed to Justin Costello at (425) 830-1192 or media@grnfunds.com

This article was published by CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN), owner and operator of CFN Media, the industry’s leading agency and digital financial media network dedicated to the burgeoning CBD and legal cannabis industries. Call +1 (833) 420-CNFN for more information.


$75M Can Buy You 10 Marijuana Retail Stores in WA State

This will go down in cannabis history. We are looking at the largest deal ever, 10 Washington cannabis retail outlets have decided to collectively sell their business to the highest bidder. GRN Funds is heading up the sale that will attract major attention from large scale investment groups looking to become the new kings of cannabis.

The anticipated price tag for the acquisition will be in the 60 to 75 million dollar range for these marijuana dispensaries. The cannabis retail outlets are spaced around the state but the majority are centered around the Seattle metro area. Justin Costello, CEO at GRN Funds, is excited to head up this historic cannabis sale. As the industry continues to skyrocket, big-money players are running to the cash-rich industry. He told us “Cannabis is a very unique thing going on in America right now. You see a lot of hedge fund managers, portfolio managers, and private equity companies look at cannabis as an opportunity to add to their portfolio. It’s a really new industry so you don’t see a lot of industry-specific funds associated with it.”

Costello has been around the industry since the Washington State medical days. He originally came to Seattle to check on a $100,000 Medical Marijuana investment for two weeks and never left. Eventually owning 12 cultivation locations, Costello chose to enter the finance side of the cannabis industry when it moved to recreational. “When the industry went to 502 I knew that the industry would need a finance person, I knew it’d need a deal maker.” Already familiar working as a hedge fund manager responsible for identifying emerging markets, Costello gravitated to the speed of deal flow within the cannabis industry. Previous to cannabis, Justin Costello put his finance graduate degree to work internationally in Shanghai, Dubai, and Amsterdam. Finding success both abroad and domestically, the finance guru has always enjoyed “non-traditional” industries.

“THERE IS A RESET GOING ON IN THE INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW. A LOT OF BUSINESSES THAT AREN’T DOING GOOD BUSINESS ARE BEING PUSHED OUT OF THE INDUSTRY…ONE THING YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO BE COGNIZANT IN WASHINGTON IS, YOU HAVE TO PLAY BY THE RULES. I LIKE THAT, THERE IS A LOT OF STRUCTURE TO IT. IT’S NOT LIKE THE WILD WEST. GUYS WITH MBA’S DON’T REALLY HAVE AN EASY TIME DOING BUSINESS WITH CRIMINALS.”

The buyer(s) will need to be an investment group as the state of Washington only allows one individual to hold five retail licenses. Because of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, the buyers will also need to be suitable in the eyes of legislation.

As the industry continues to grow, there is a surrounding excitement around cannabis. More and more states are going legal and investors are bringing finances to “green” states. This sale is truly a milestone for the business within this field. “There is a lot of action going on in our industry right now. Some good, some bad. One thing I can guarantee is when I wake up in the morning, no day is ever the same for me,” Costello said.

Outside of raising capital for cannabis companies, acquiring new companies and brokering the largest transaction in cannabis history, Costello has also launched Canna-Exchange alongside ex-Amazon engineers. The company is bridging the communication gap between processors, producers, and retail outlets while bringing the industry into the technical level needed in 2017. Costello told us that cannabis has moved backwards in terms of the sales side. Without a lack of proper back end tools, so much of the process is centered around phone calls. Retail inventory managers can’t complete purchase orders handling on 6 phone calls an hour. The platform also aims to bridge the communication gap between producers and processors to move unsold inventory.

Through success and history, Justin Costello remains humble and excited for whats to come next. This deal means a great amount to the cannabis industry and the man behind it has seen this size of play coming since he first entered the industry.

“I’ve done a lot of license deals, a lot of purchases, a lot of capital raises and finance. This is obviously the largest deal period, so no one has done a deal in cannabis, at this level. I am very humbled and very blessed that these owners of these retail shops have entrusted the sale of their life’s dream to me.”