Medical Marijuana’s Impact on Entrepreneurs

December 14th, 2010 by admin Leave a reply »

TIM SMALE SPENT MONTHS RAISING the capital to start his business—but he sees himself as more than simply an entrepreneur. For Smale, 51, making money is beside the point. He and his wife, Jennifer, were selected last summer by state authorities to open one of eight medical marijuana facilities in Maine. When Smale got word, he says, he fell on his knees and “cried like a baby.” As a migraine sufferer for years, Smale found marijuana to be his only relief. “This is not just a business,” he says, “it’s a calling.”

Smale had worked most of his life in automotive manufacturing. But when Maine approved the sale of what Smale will only call “the medicine,” he and his wife, a born-and-raised New Englander, moved back and applied. “We are middle America and need and want to serve,” he says.

Smale’s nonprofit spirit is typical of the pioneers behind today’s 2,400 medical cannabis dispensaries. But it probably won’t be forever. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have made medical marijuana legal. Three more are near approval. Federal law outlaws marijuana possession, and any steps toward legalization, of course, remain controversial. Still, last year U.S. enforcers said they would leave medical operations alone if they complied with state law, and a surge of entrepreneurial interest has followed.

But while selling brownies to ease pain is legal in some states, profiting, for the most part, is not. Thus far, in every state except Colorado, dispensaries must be structured as not-for-profits. Steve DeAngelo, founder of

Article source: