Buzz Kill: Turns Out Selling Pot Fails as a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme

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All of those spreadsheets, business models, and marketing ideas you’ve been poring over in your parent’s basement—perhaps between video games and bong hits—may have been a waste of time.

In Colorado, where selling marijuana is now a legal for-profit enterprise, entre-pot-neurs are learning a stone-cold truth: It’s a really tough business. Why? Mostly because of The Man.

Government regulations stipulating where marijuana is grown, how and where it is stored and distributed, how money is collected, and so on make for an industry that’s difficult to navigate, let alone turn a profit, reports a big story in the NY Times that’ll probably make you chuckle—whether you’re stoned or not while reading it. (Do people read when they’re stoned?) Some humorous excerpts:

The people behind those cases, known as “budtenders,” like to think of themselves as sommeliers, although the names of the strains for sale will never be confused with chardonnay: Bubble Gum, Sour Kush, God’s Gift, Grand Daddy Purp and Blue Skunk.

… interviewing pot sellers is unlike interviewing anyone else in business. Simple yes-or-no questions yield 10-minute soliloquies. Words are coined on the spot, like “refudiate,” and regular words are used in ways that make sense only in context. One guy kept saying “rue” as though it meant “reluctant,” as in “I think the state was rue to act.”

The overall point of the story is that, as a business, selling pot has more than its share of problems. Beyond regulation, there’s a ton of competition for what’s expected to be a rapidly growing field, though something tells me a fat, Blunt-sized percentage of the competitors aren’t going to be the most motivated and driven of workers. One pot dispensary manager has this to say of the business:

“No M.B.A. program could have prepared me for this experience … People have this misconception that you just jump into it and start making money hand over fist, and that is not the case.”