Scottsdale Community College recently announced a certification program aimed at cannabis entrepreneurs that focuses on cannabis business fundamentals. Cannabis has been legal in Arizona medicinally for 12 years, and recreationally for almost two years. Throughout Arizona, it has become a multibillion-dollar industry that many entrepreneurs are getting involved in.

READ ALSO: Here’s why Arizona cannabis sales are expected to blossom

The cannabis business fundamentals program at SCC provides a great opportunity for students to learn the ins and outs of the industry by the time they graduate college.

Everyone has to start somewhere and learning the fundamentals of the cannabis industry is crucial to thriving in a rapidly booming environment. As the industry changes your business goals and expectations, the core fundamentals. l will provide the foundation to build a successful business.

Marie Saloum is the owner and founder of GreenPharms.

Before starting a cannabis business, learn and ensure that you are following all orders of compliance and state law. There are many legal parameters and guidelines that should be strictly followed when operating. The Arizona Department of Revenue is a great place to get started, visit

Here are four pieces of advice I would give students who are interested in the cannabis industry:

Figure out your business model

As a dispensary owner, I have made the decision to create a “deli-style” dispensary. At deli-style dispensaries, customers select their product from a wide selection of buds. After conversing with a “budtender,” they can pick which bud(s) they want to purchase for the desired effect. Then, the budtender grabs that jar of marijuana and measures out the amount they want to purchase, right in front of them to ensure they are getting the full volume of weed they pay for.

Some dispensaries sell prepackaged marijuana, but when customers take their weed home to measure, sometimes due to transportation and heat, the bud will shrink in size, so what may originally be one gram, ends up weighing less. To build the trust of your customers, you might want to consider a deli-style dispensary.

This is just one example of how you can format your dispensary. Try out different tactics to see what works best for your clientele.

Build a loyal customer base

To establish a successful cannabis business, you must form a loyal customer base. Having loyal clients will provide repeat business, as well as business through referrals. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. Educate your employees about the importance of high-quality customer service and encourage them to get to know the names and product preferences for repeat customers. During your grand opening, create daily deals, sales and promotions. You want to make sure the customer has a memorable transaction.

Invest in quality product

Budgeting your expenses is another key step to having a growing and successful business. Invest your capital into areas that will help your business grow, especially your products. The product you sell is a top priority. Investing in the highest quality cannabis will help you meet and exceed the standards of consumers. Having the best product available will give you an advantage in your local area. Bring in different and attractive products to offer a wide variety for all types of consumers for both recreational and medical consumption. Also, know your product. Be the best expert you can be and provide your knowledge as a service to customers. You will earn their trust and business. Quality product is another great way to draw customer loyalty.

Acquiring a prime retail spot that has plenty of foot and vehicular traffic, is easy to access, and is inviting is another area worth investing in. Incorporate efficient selling methods such as drive-up or curbside pickup services. Many cannabis retailers are also beginning to test out drive-thru windows.

Market your company

Marketing your business is crucial to success within the cannabis industry. Launch a website or social media accounts to market and sell your product. Engage with your target audience through social media posts, comments and videos. A vast online presence is an efficient way to boost your brand, products, and customer base. Use your online presence to host in-store events while promoting a sale. Show how your business is different from local or online competitors.

Getting into the cannabis industry may look glamorous from the outside, but hard work and determination are needed to thrive. Do your research, promote yourself and build a business that would impress anyone who walks through your doors.


Author: Marie Saloum is the owner and founder of GreenPharms. Founded in 2013, GreenPharms is a signature “deli-style” dispensary with a large hybrid cultivation facility and extraction laboratory onsite. GreenPharms helps familiarize their hundreds of thousands of patients and customers with top-quality products. Proudly providing only the best products and unparalleled customer service, GreenPharms has received numerous Cannabis Industry Awards and recognitions as well as local accolades such as New Times Best of Phoenix Winner. GreenPharms has a location in Mesa and one in Flagstaff. For more, please visit