(This is an abridged version of a column that appears in the May-June issue of Marijuana Business Magazine.)
Frustrated by all the hoops you and your partners have been jumping through in hopes of getting the myriad licenses required to open a cannabis business – no matter which state you’re in?
Then you need to know Rusty Wilenkin’s story.
When Wilenkin opened Old Pal – a marijuana flower and oil brand based in California – in 2018, he structured the company so he didn’t have to acquire a single license.
In putting his own spin on white labeling, he avoided the licensing hurdles that plant-touching companies typically must navigate to open their doors.
Old Pal, which has 10 business partners, contracts with roughly 100 cultivators licensed to grow or manufacture marijuana in the markets where the company operates.
The company supplies its producers with packaging for flower and vape cartridges, then promotes the Old Pal flower and oil brands it sells through cannabis retail stores.
Old Pal’s approach has been successful enough that, less than two years after its launch, the company expanded beyond California to Nevada and Washington state and now has partners in Florida and Michigan. All told, Old Pal has products in roughly 350 cannabis stores.
Wilenkin spoke with Marijuana Business Magazine about the ins and outs Old Pal’s business model, broaching topics such as:
- Operating legally in the marijuana industry without state or local licenses.
- The upsides to not possessing state or local licenses.
- The downsides to not possessing state or local licenses.
- How the no-license business model has worked out so far.
- The likelihood other companies will try to emulate the Old Pal model.