Keeping up with the laws can be very challenging. That is why it is important to seek professional advice from an attorney when it comes to doing your business. This also hold true for the cannabis industry. Today, Anthony Frischknecht shares with us some of his experiences and tips on hiring an attorney. It is valuable to have someone you can seek advice from any time you need it. Listen to the podcast to know more about what to watch out for on the legal side of things in your cannabis business.
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Seeking Professional Advice For Your Cannabis Business
I am starting with a little topic that I like to call Professional Advice. If you are working on finding somebody, say an attorney to help you through your process with building your cannabis company, this is probably one of the most important parts of the entire process mainly because of the laws that are ever-changing in our industry. It’s very challenging to keep up with what’s going on because the lawmakers are always either creating brand new laws. Taking laws that have been passed, tweaking them and keeping up to date with all that information is a job in itself. It’s definitely one of the most challenging positions to find somebody qualified for. There are several people in the field that have been doing it for a while, but there are also a lot of newbies out there that are jumping in because it’s the next best thing like many other people. You’ve got to remember that you’re looking for some quality prospects to help represent you. I’ve learned in the time I started dealing with attorneys back in 2005. I met my first attorney through the National Weed Magazine. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to talk to an attorney about cannabis.
A friend of mine suggested, “Why don’t you call this guy?” I ended up calling a guy named Rob Corry. I would say he was one of those attorneys that listen to himself so much you started to believe everything he said. He tended to tell you what you wanted to hear. He’s more of a salesman, a salesman out there everybody’s dealt with. They’re good at selling. Some of them are amazing, but when it comes down to actually getting the quality you want, it’s not there. I called up Rob Corry and set an appointment. This would be the first time that I’ve had ever talked to an attorney especially about something so taboo as cannabis, it was back then. I was pretty nervous driving over to his office in downtown Denver. I pulled up and I paid for my parking space and spent a lot of time in Denver. It was essentially the big city to me at the time.
I walked up to a big office building and it was 17th Street Downtown Denver. I remember taking the elevator up to his office, trying to figure out what I was going to ask him. That’s where I had started. I figured out I have to interview him. I know there’s a lot of people that have already used attorneys that are probably reading, but this is relevant for the newbies out there. When I showed up to his floor, I got out and he didn’t even have a secretary. I should have told me one thing right there. He had a door and I knocked and he let me in. He opened the door, I shook his hand, introduced ourselves and we sat down. Rob started with some of his backgrounds and I was looking around his office at his credentials on the wall like most attorneys have. I began to interview him like I would somebody that I was hiring for a cooking position in a restaurant.
Rob says to me, “If you’re doing some medical marijuana, I can show you how to do that.” He began to go through the process of what I needed to do to put stuff in place. Back then it was simple to be a caregiver. If you guys don’t know what a caregiver is, that was somebody that was allowed to grow your plants for you and dispense your medicine to you and also charge you for the medicine. Whatever you negotiated with the caregiver as the patient is what you ended up paying. Being a new caregiver, I was wanting to make sure I was following all the guidelines and rules.Make sure that you hire the right person and put them in the right place. It’s very key to your success in the industry. Click To Tweet
As I tried to figure out how to lay this out through Rob’s description, he said, “Three big things: Don’t have any weapons in your home, make sure you have a list of all your patients and all your cards up on your door, wherever you’re growing and make sure you keep all your files of your patients. Have copies of them in two different places.” That’s how simple it was to become a caregiver back in 2000. Rob, as a salesman as he was, I went to ask him, “What is this charged?” He says, “I charge a $3,000 retainer,” which I found out a few years later, he was charging people $10,000 to $15,000 after the rush started coming in of people hiring him as an attorney. This was my first attorney experience and probably one of my biggest lessons learned, but I never really got to experience him as an attorney, he’s more of just a salesman.
He was able to give me enough information to get me started and going. It’s nice to have your attorney backing you when you are in a tough spot. In the medical and legalized market, having that bit of comfortability that somebody is there when you need them is worth more money than what you pay them 99% of the time. Sometimes it’s hard to stomach, I got to shell out $10,000, $20,000 for a retainer and then they pull off $300, $400, $500 an hour for their services. One of the biggest out of all these things that I learned is if you hire an attorney, make sure they’re going to pick up their phone and return your call or return your email right away. There are so many instances where you have to get in touch with them right away and you can’t wait 1 to 3 days to hear back from them, especially with the money you’re paying.
These retainers are serious but not only that, the number one thing, make sure they get back to you right away or it’s useless. Time can go by and you can be dealing with local officials and you need answers so that they don’t shut you down or close your doors on you for a certain amount of time and fine you. Look for somebody that’s eager to earn your business. I would say that for anything that you do, but especially this. Having that money set aside for this council is a big factor. You almost have to have an attorney fund that is sitting there waiting. Some of the bigger outfits that are building their cannabis empire, these guys have attorneys on retainer all the time or they have general counsel that’s representing them. I’m not talking to these guys as much as I am talking to the self-starters. Take some of this and use it to your advantage. Make sure that you do hire the right person and put them in the right place. It was very key to your success in this industry. That’s a little snippet of some great points that I hope you guys can take advantage of. I hope that starts off your day okay, get you guys some good motivation and take steps forward. I hope everything goes well for you. I will talk to you very soon. Bye for now.
About Tony Frischknecht
Born and raised in Colorado, Anthony always enjoyed the challenge of starting and building a business. That is why it became a natural progression at the age of 25, he became an entrepreneur, with two small construction companies. In 2005, he got his start in the medical marijuana industry in Fort Collins, Colorado, building a small MJ caregiving business, Highway to Healing.
By the time he was 35, he had two dispensaries with sales of $6.5MM annual revenue, including two indoor grow facilities, with a combined 20,000 square feet of production in Denver, Colorado. All four locations consisted of 19 city and state licenses. Anthony then joined a group of five industry leaders and started a successful cannabis brand O.penvape in late 2012. The maker of vaping products and edibles posted a top-line sales of $100 million in 2016 and sells a product every nine seconds. Its busy lab creates over 1 million grams of concentrated cannabis oil a year and it buys 10 tons of marijuana a year. Organa Brands is the only cannabis company with products on the market in 10 states, including at 1,200 dispensaries. Subsequently, Anthony has moved on to other ancillary businesses involving small scale extraction and commercial grow technologies.
If you ask Anthony about his favorite part of this industry? His response, “watching how fast it is evolving. It’s becoming a real industry and getting accepted by many, many of those who used to be skeptics. “ Due to this, we are seeing great leaps in innovation and technology. And this is exactly why Anthony says he is in admiration of this industry.
Anthony has been successful in the Cannabis industry for over 14 years and has been featured on the cover of Newsweek: October 29, 2012; The New Pot Barons and Cannabis Business Times: September/October 2016; Ten Questions