A Green Alternative: Leading the Change in San Diego’s Transforming Cannabis Industry
A Green Alternative is the first permitted dispensary in San Diego County, and also the first in San Diego to partner
with Meadow. They deliver all over the city and set themselves apart by the high quality of their products, their
concern for patients, and their focus on customer service. We sat down with AGA’s COO Zach Lazarus to talk about
our favorite plant and the future of the cannabis industry.
Meadow: Hey Zach, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. Let’s jump right in: can you tell us a bit about how
you got started in the industry? Why cannabis?
Zach: After I met my partners, I saw the good they were providing in the community and wanted to participate in
that. I got to see first hand how they were helping people, especially cancer patients, and I wanted to get involved.
“I got to see first hand how cannabis was
helping people, especially cancer patients.”
Meadow: So what were some of the challenges that you faced while building and growing your dispensary?
Zach: One of the biggest was definitely the lack of traditional banking. There are no small loans to help grow
operations or smooth cash flow. Then there are the issues with taxation: the unfairness around 280E and not
letting businesses claim their expenses means we get taxed multiple times on the same dollar. Also there are
concerns about safety when serving our community. Unlike pharmacies, we have an armed guard to make sure
our patients are protected.
There is a big split between the operators of lawful and unlawful dispensaries: on issues of safety, taxation, and
serving the community the differences are huge. We have to consider issues of general liability and workers comp
insurance, while unlicensed dispensaries cut corners and pay employees under the table. This has made the
market pretty saturated, but it’s just a matter of time before municipalities, counties and the state are all
aggressively closing unlawful dispensaries. This has already started happening in Chula Vista, where they are
switching from civil to criminal penalties.
“There is a big split between the operators of lawful
and unlawful dispensaries: on issues of safety, taxation,
and serving the community the differences are huge.”
Looking at the future of cannabis
Meadow: Big changes are under way. Can you tell us a little bit about how you found Meadow?
Zach: Well, [Meadow CEO David] Hua gets it. Meadow is educating people about cannabis, and their founders have
the vision for a medicinal revolution of cannabis. Others will try to copy and fail, but Meadow’s platform and
business model will set them up to be like the General Electric of cannabis, the go-to provider for licensed
dispensaries and delivery services serving patients.
Meadow: That’s very flattering! We do have a big vision, but so do our partners, exceptional people like you. So
what advice would you give budding cannabis entrepreneurs? What does it take to be successful in the cannabis
Zach: Look at all the future licensing opportunities, and find one that fits your mold or where you believe you could
pursue a business model that would be successful. Next, operate legitimately at the municipal level, and be ready
for state licensing by 2018. There are opportunities out there, you just have to find them. I think Humboldt may be
saturated right now, but we’ll have to wait and see.
“Meadow’s founders have the vision for a medicinal
revolution of cannabis… [They will be] the go-to provider
for licensed dispensaries and delivery services.”
Meadow: That’s an interesting thought. Right now land prices there are rising quickly, and possibly unsustainably.
What do you see as the future of cannabis, say in the next 5–10 years?
Zach: My personal take is that Proposition 64 [the Adult Use of Marijuana Act] will pass in November. After that
happens we have a year of compliance before recreational sales start. I expect that prices will spike, leading to
bubble, and we may see a typical gram go up to $40 even. This will lead to a a larger black market forming, until it all
comes crashing down to maybe as low as $6 a gram once new facilities are licensed and come online. This will make
cannabis far more accessible than under prohibition.
“Proposition 64 will pass in November. After that happens
we have a year of compliance before recreational sales start.”
Meadow: Well, it sounds like we have an interesting time ahead of us! Thank so much for taking the time to speak
with us Zach.
Zach: Thank you! Looking forward to continuing our partnership to bring cannabis to the world.
Meadow builds software for the medical cannabis industry in California.
To learn more about turnkey software for your storefront, delivery, and back office, visit www.meadowplatform.com
Article reposted from:
Musings from the Meadow
on Medium.com here