Big Weed Summary and Review

by Christian Hageseth

Has Big Weed by Christian Hageseth been sitting on your reading list? Pick up the key ideas in the book with this quick summary.

What do you think of, when you think of marijuana? Stoners, hippies, or unemployed dropouts? Very few people would consider of the growth and sale of

In this summary of Big Weed by Christian Hageseth,Cannabis sativa

as a worthwhile business opportunity, let alone a legal one, but as marijuana has been steadily decriminalized in a growing number of U.S. states, that’s exactly what it is. A motivated entrepreneur can find great success in the pot industry, if they have the right plan. Looking at the experience of businessman Christian Hageseth, this book summary tells us the story of how he leapt into the business of weed and continues on to explain how you can turn the plant in to a profitable business. In this book summary, you will see:
  • why you can't expect a business account at a bank just because you sell marijuana;
  • why product research is more than just smoking as often as possible;
  • how knowing the facts about weed will turn you into a better businessman.

Big Weed Key Idea #1: Summary Pt 1

Prohibition in the 1920's made the sale and consumption of alcohol illegal. But prohibition was a failure; the laws were repealed after the government lost thousands and thousands in tax revenue and the public flaunted their disregard for the law. Marijuana could be considered modern day bathtub gin. Public support for legalization continues to increase, even though law enforcement still prosecutes those found in possession or using weed. Even though there are widespread warnings of the extreme dangers of drugs, it’s obvious that the self-proclaimed war on drugs in America has not been successful. Drug policies have destroyed lives and families, and thousands of people are imprisoned for non-violent drug related crimes. And the positive benefits of marijuana are plentiful. Marijuana can be used for pain relief, easing the suffering of the severely ill. Supporters say that pot should be legal and provided for people in these positions. Why should cancer patients be kept from something that could ease their pain? Additionally, it’s becoming increasingly clear to politicians how much money can be made off of the legalization of marijuana. In the states where the drug has been legalized, tax revenues are pouring in. For example, in Colorado, the first state to legalize, over $3 million was collected in taxes, fees, and associated costs in 2009 alone. The support of certain politicians, and public pressure, has been the catalyst for big changes in policies regarding marijuana. Most states are starting to consider marijuana for medicinal uses, but other states, like Colorado, have legalized for recreational use as well. This attitude of openness towards legalization is going to increase, leading the way to a “new world of marijuana.” But instead of an industry run by cartels and gang members, it will become a straightforward business venture that will require branding, marketing, strategy, and accounting.

Big Weed Key Idea #2: Summary Pt 2

Opinions on marijuana use in the United States have eased and become more progressive in recent years. This doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone thinks it should become legal; there are still large groups of people that believe all drugs should remain illegal. Why has this negative view towards marijuana continued? It could be thought that a main reason for this is that marijuana is closely associated with criminals, gang members, and street crimes, since it has been classified as an illegal drug for so many years. If you or your friends have ever used marijuana, it’s highly likely that it was purchased from a dealer. Additionally, there is a persistent fear that marijuana is a gateway drug. If someone using it is willing to purchase from criminals, what is there to prevent them from experimenting with more dangerous drugs and doing even more business with drug dealers? These are a few of the arguments that many people against legalization use. The author himself experienced those with these opinions when he opened his own, legal marijuana business. Many of his friends and associates were doubtful. They questioned him, because isn’t marijuana just the habit of stoners and addicts? Even more interestingly, the fact that marijuana is listed as an illegal substance is purely political. Although marijuana has been in use for hundreds of years, politicians in the twentieth century began to look for reasons to stop its use. (A marijuana pipe was seen in the gardens of renowned playwright William Shakespeare!) But politicians were looking for something to blame societal problems on, and as they sought to preserve their own interests, they campaigned to make marijuana illegal. They thought that they could win votes and make money by convincing the public that marijuana use was evil and used   propaganda to encourage its criminalization. Surprisingly, these campaigns found success in spite of scientific research that showed otherwise. Marijuana was, in fact, not the harmful substance the politicians claimed it was. In 1972, a Senate commissioned report showed that there was no physical dependence associated with marijuana use. Additionally, the study found that the majority of marijuana users never pursued the use of harder drugs. However, this report was conveniently ignored.

Big Weed Key Idea #3: Summary Pt 3

Because marijuana has been illegal for so long, many attempts to profit from its legalization have been questionable. A large amount of would-be marijuana sellers open a shop, stock it, attempt to sell their product, and fail. Finding success in this industry is no different than any other, you still need to come up with an effective strategy and find your niche. The author started his business venture with a defined goal: to make pot a consumer product, branded and marketed like any other product on the market. Besides just marketing, it’s also important to maintain a tight control on your growing process. Marijuana plants need a lot of light, and they are not the easiest plant to cultivate. All this light that is needed also means lots of humidity is produced, which is bad for the plants. Because of this, air conditioners are needed for the grow space, and this means there is a lot of energy use! To decrease energy costs, it’s better to approach the strategy in broad terms. It’s more expensive to run multiple smaller units than it is to run one large one, but to make the expense worth it, you will need a lot of plants. The author learned this lesson the hard way. His initial three harvests were failures, but he soon found the right balance and was able to make his business profitable. Because marijuana still receives a very suspicious reaction, as someone starting in the industry, it’s important that you contribute to creating a culture that accepts it as a normal product. The author experienced this on a trip to the Netherlands, where marijuana is legal but the drug laws are stricter than in the United States.

Big Weed Key Idea #4: Summary Pt 4

So you think you’re ready to get in to the weed business. Maybe you imagine how awesome it would be to “test” your product, all day and every day! But slow down. Before you light up, think about your business. You need to stay informed on every single aspect of the market if you even want to think about making money in this industry. Start out by educating yourself on everything you can about your product. Marijuana is used in a variety of ways. Smoking is the most common method, but it isn’t really the best method. Inhaling smoke from burning materials can cause toxins to go straight to your lungs. More healthful alternatives include things like vaporizers, that can heat up the pot until the plant’s cannabinoids become airborne and are then inhaled. Another option is to bake it in to brownies or other food items, which produces a delayed reaction. But this option is more difficult to dose. Next, explore your market and create your brand. Just like any other industry, if you want to find success and create return customers, you need to develop trust and recognition. The author formed his brand, Green Man Cannabis. Because of his goal to become a market leader, he made sure that every branch and aspect of his business was branded and recognizable. After that, you need to know your customer base. The author wanted to educate people on the product and make marijuana available to a larger audience. To accomplish this goal, he’s creating a massive growth facility and education center that others can visit. The Green Man Cannabis Ranch will be a place where customers can come and learn about the brand and product, and will have a terrace, atrium, open greenhouse and a store. And finally, once you’ve put the work in, developed your sustainable business and invested the hours, it’s ok to kick back and enjoy your product!

Big Weed Key Idea #5: Summary Pt 5

The legal marijuana business is just like every other business. Except legal marijuana sellers are prevented from participating in one area that might otherwise be considered a normal part of running a business. Business owners of a legal marijuana business cannot open a bank account to store the money they make from their business. Because marijuana is still illegal federally and also in many states, and because that money deposited in U.S. banks is backed by the federal government, the are legally allowed to prevent anyone involved in a business they consider illegal from storing and depositing money in a bank account. This is obviously a huge complication for anyone doing business with legal marijuana. Cash is used for almost anything and everything, including things like utilities, rent, and taxes. It’s a big risk for anyone in this industry, since they will be carrying around cash with them. It will take some time, but this obstacle in the way of the legal marijuana business will not be around forever. Almost everyone in law enforcement and the justice system has been taught that marijuana is bad. Because of this, it will also take some time before these groups will move past their prejudices, even when marijuana is legal everywhere. However, continuing to keep marijuana illegal isn’t solving any problems. The so-called war on drugs inflated the number of law enforcement officers and prisons needed in the country. Some 800,000 Americans are arrested and incarcerated or fined for marijuana crimes every year, and it’s starting to become a problem for overloaded prisons. Sadly, keeping marijuana illegal is very profitable for some industries, and powerful lobbyists have financial motivations to maintain the status quo. Be prepared for obstacles and challenges if you pursue business in legal marijuana.

Big Weed Key Idea #6: Summary Pt 6

The legal marijuana industry is just now being formed and will experience rapid and significant changes in the coming years. While tte tobacco industry is currently prevented from selling legal marijuana, it won’t always be that way. Big agriculture will also get involved in the future, making the cultivation process even more efficient and ready to be mass-marketed. This only means that the day when you can walk in to a gas station or convenience store and buy a pack of marijuana cigarettes is not so far in the distant future! However, it is hard to say if that pack will be natural or organic. Once capitalism hits this industry, and as bigger, better organized firms step in to the market, you will see the smaller, local brands pushed to the side. A comeback for hemp is also a possibility. German car manufacturers BMW and Mercedes-Benz use hemp for car door panels; this is coming soon to the United States. As hemp becomes more ubiquitous, marijuana’s bad rep may also fade. And while average-quality pot will be easy to obtain for everyday consumers in the expanded market, serious connoisseurs might want to look for higher-quality products – which creates another future business opportunity. Pot that is being smoked today is much stronger than the weed of the 1960s. Marijuana then had about 3% THC (the psychoactive component in pot) in comparison to the up to 25 % found in pot today. It’s unlikely that we will see a market for even stronger marijuana, but instead the market will be for consistently dosed levels of THC. For example, when we drink vodka, we know that one ounce has the same alcoholic effect as five ounces of wine and twelve ounces of beer, but it’s hard to have a comparison like that for weed in today’s market. You can’t compare one joint to another. This will definitely change, even if it’s just to make the recreational use of weed more predictable and manageable. We can also expect to see a change in U.S. federal policy. As we see the increase for demand and the need for greater tax revenues, we can expect to also see the need for faster legalization at the federal level to increase as well.

Big Weed Key Idea #7: In Review

The main message in the book is this: The need for legalization will become more prevalent in the United States. The perception of marijuana culture is already changing and improving in the mind of the public; law enforcement is also seeing changing attitudes and changing laws. As marijuana continues to morph in to a legal business opportunity, society will take a more lenient viewpoint towards the drug. Advice to act on: Think about what a tax on marijuana could do for your city. The next time you find yourself discussing legalization, consider the dollars and cents of each side of the argument. Is it more expensive for your city to keep marijuana illegal, or are there benefits your community could reap if it were to collect taxes on legal marijuana use? Suggested further reading: Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari Chasing the Scream (2015) tells the fascinating story of the first hundred years of the disastrous War on Drugs. Piecing together interesting anecdotes, statistics and fervent argumentation, Hari looks closely at the history of the War on Drugs and tells the reader why it’s time to rethink addiction, rehabilitation and drug enforcement.