One Cannabis aims for soccer moms
Founder and CEO Christian Hageseth says One Cannabis has worked through a large range of issues in the marijuana business and is ready to franchise.
One Cannabis is franchising the marijuana business with a homegrown mission of making the industry as welcoming to soccer moms as it is to old hippies and college-age tokers.
Originally founded as Green Man Cannabis nearly 10 years ago, Denver-based One Cannabis is focusing on both the retail and cultivation sides of the pot business, and first franchised the concept at the start of the year as legalization efforts accelerated throughout the United States.
Founder and CEO Christian Hageseth said state and federal regulations have reached a point where it’s possible to stay within the letter of the law in many parts of the country, even while several hurdles stand between the present and a future where pot shops are as plentiful as coffee houses.
“We’ve been through IRS audits, had to switch banks a number of times, work out of cash and deal with changes in regulations,” Hageseth said. “Having worked through all of those and having the same people in the company that have dealt with it, we have a lot of institutional knowledge on how to deal with some of the unique challenges of the cannabis space.”
As part of the company’s high-level planning for a greener, franchised future, One Cannabis launched Project Soccer Mom, an internal campaign focused on creating a brand of marijuana and related products that are acceptable to the stereotypical suburban mom.
“That might mean her body lotion has CBD in it or maybe she’s more OK with her kids smoking a joint than drinking alcohol, or maybe she would rather exchange her chardonnay for a vape pen, or maybe she feels OK having a little edible before a dinner party with friends,” Hageseth said of his target audience. (CBD stands for cannabinoids.) “When soccer moms find acceptance with cannabis in all of these different forms, the market for cannabis is going to grow from a currently $50 billion a year market to $100 billion or $300 billion.”
Even though joints remain the best-selling item at Hageseth’s already-established Green Man-branded dispensaries in the Denver metro, he’s expecting the new One Cannabis locations to hang hats on the new wave of cannabis-packed products that range from sweet treats to pain-relieving creams.
With a slogan of “come grow with us,” One’s products will also include what it claims to be the best cannabis in the world. Aside from its nearly 10 years in the pot business, its franchisee landing page tells prospective owners that its thousands of product options, larger-scale buying power and real-time inventory tracking justify its $100,000 franchise fee compared with going it alone.
Weeding out anyone less than serious, the brand requires a net worth north of $1 million on a total investment that ranges from $330,000 up to $1.1 million.
Because there’s only so much cultivation capacity required in each region, Hageseth said the brand’s intent is franchising vertically integrated operations that include retail, cultivation, as well as the extraction and infusion that creates the array of creative products common in modern dispensaries. Green Man stores sell nearly 30 marijuana strains—everything from Red Headed Stranger to Ghost Train Haze, which won a first-place award at the THC Championship two years back in the more energizing sativa strain category.
Unlike virtually every other franchise category, marijuana dispensaries and grow operations are still “capital constrained,” which means funding avenues like Small Business Administration loans are off limits, increasing the barrier to entry, limiting the pool of prospective candidates and increasing the security requirements for businesses that deal entirely with cash.
After starting the franchise operation in January, no One Cannabis franchise locations are operating, but Hageseth said two stores are operating under management agreements, with the expectations of three new franchises opening near the end of 2018.
In the wake of Canada legalizing recreational marijuana, the U.S. is still expanding rights on a piecemeal basis with recreational use allowed in nine states, plus Washington, D.C., and medicinal applications legal in 29 states.
“There’s more people coming into it every day as it continues to grow around the country,” he said. “There’s finally companies like ours that have enough relevant experience to share something valuable with potential franchisees, which I think are both very important.”