Arizona has become the land of opportunity when it comes to businesses surrounding the cannabis and maijuana industry, and that includes companies that don’t even grow or handle marijuana. GreenPharms in Mesa shares some expert insight about the burgeoning cannabis industry and how local entrepreneurs can get in on it.

Marie Paredes Saloum is the owner of GreenPharms Dispensaries with locations in Mesa and Flagstaff, as well as The Marijuana Doctor, with several locations across the Valley.

There are many ways to become a part of the cannabis industry — and in ways that don’t even involve the handling of marijuana — such as dispensaries, which are mainly retail and customer service. There are also cannabis brands (such as concentrate brands, edible brands, skincare brands, CBD brands, and more) that don’t have a brick and mortar store but that wholesale to other dispensaries and are recognized as a local brand. Then there are venues that are marketed specifically as being cannabis-friendly and host parties and events where medicating onsite is permitted. There are also yearly conventions and festivals for the cannabis industry, and these are fairly large productions employing many people to help put the events together. 

The cannabis industry has certainly made an economic impact it just a short time. The U.S. and Arizona economies have benefited from cannabis-related businesses by way of the creation of thousands of jobs. For states that allow recreational use, there is an abundance of tax revenue that is then directed into the local economy in ways that benefit the community. And a report from cannabis analytics company New Frontier suggests that federally legal pot could generate an additional $131.8 billion in aggregate federal tax revenue by 2025.

For those looking to get in on a piece of that pie, one of the challenges of starting a cannabis-related business can be funding. The GreenPharms experts reveal that stocks are the easiest way to fund a cannabusiness. However, another challenge is the extensive process it takes but to become an owner of a cannabusiness in Arizona, which is spelled out on the AZDHS website. In Arizona, there are also legal restrictions and requirements that potential cannabusiness entrepreneurs should be aware of including application and registration fees, obtaining a Dispensary Agent card and more. Another challenge is simply working to eliminate the stigma surrounding cannabis that remains today.

Knowledge is power (when getting into any industry!) and there are a number of ways potential cannabusiness owners can educate themselves about cannabis and its various strains (Indica flower, Sativa flower, and hybrid flower — and their differences, for example). There are certain colleges in recreational states that are forming classes to provide a degree that can be useful in the cannabis industry such as botany/agriculture or sustainable marijuana farming. There are also networking events where people wanting to get into the industry can learn more about the business side of cannabis. Online resources also provide a lot of educational information about cannabis itself, and the AZDHS is also a helpful website to learn more about how to start a cannabusiness and the laws surrounding medical cannabis.

The professionals at GreenPharms advise that being informed about the different types of products out there on the market and the different ways to consume cannabis are crucial as well. Because the industry is still so new and ever-evolving, it’s beneficial to learn as much as possible — but also be ready to learn more and roll with the punches as change inevitably happens quickly in this industry.


Marie Paredes Saloum is the owner of GreenPharms Dispensaries with locations in Mesa and Flagstaff, as well as The Marijuana Doctor, with several locations across the Valley. Since 2013, GreenPharms has developed an award-winning reputation for purveying the highest quality cannabis and CBD commodities in the state. Marie represents the passionate mom-and-pop local businesses in Arizona, providing patients across the state with medical marijuana in a safe, welcoming environment.