Marijuana Business Magazine - Issue 09, Oct 2017

70 • Marijuana Business Magazine • October 2017 Ancillary companies serving marijuana clients and mainstream customers must tread carefully – and take steps to prevent potential snafus BALANC¬NG A national sales director for a lighting company trans- mitted an email blast telling clients she’d be attending a marijuana business conference. One of her emails landed with a thud in the inbox of a client in a state where marijuana sales are illegal, resulting in a complaint that the message was inappropriate. As this professional and others have discovered, running an ancillary business can be more challenging if you’re juggling both marijuana and non-marijuana clients. “Unfortunately, until marijuana is legalized at the federal level, there is still a stigma to it and you just have to deal with it,” said William Askinazi, a Maryland lawyer who serves mainstream clients as well as those in the cannabis industry. Seeking to capitalize on the marijuana industry’s growth, ancillary companies that are involved in other industries increasingly are providing goods and services to cannabis growers, retailers and makers of infused products. Executives from some of these companies say it’s a good idea to keep the two sides of the business separate but equal. That could mean, for example, setting up a website specifically for your marijuana clients or devoting a portion of your staff to handle cannabis businesses exclusively. Below is a more detailed look at three ancillary companies and how they balance their marijuana and non-MJ clients. by John Rebchook