Marijuana Business Factbook 2016

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In most industries, business owners and investors have access to a wealth of financial
information, benchmark data and in-depth market insight to help them make decisions, assess
the competition, target new investments and tackle new opportunities. That unfortunately is not
the case in the cannabis industry, where there’s comparatively very little historical or market data.


• Each state that has legalized medical or recreational marijuana tracks and reports
information in different ways. Some only keep tabs on the number of registered patients,
while others provide in-depth reports on tax revenues, number of licensed businesses
and the amount of cannabis sold. Several states – particularly those with little or no
regulations – don’t track anything. No federal agencies oversee any aspect of the industry,
meaning there’s no official national data either. So getting any type of reliable information
within and across state markets can be an immense challenge.

• Entrepreneurs can typically glean useful information by examining the filings and
financial statements of publicly traded companies. However, the vast majority of cannabis
companies are privately held, while most publicly traded marijuana firms are listed on
the over-the-counter markets, where the reporting and disclosure requirements are light.
While some insights can be gained from documents filed by publicly traded cannabis
companies, these reports are generally unaudited and only represent a sliver of the

• Tax returns for nonprofit organizations are in the public domain, and many medical
dispensaries must operate in a not-for-profit manner. However, their status as such is not
formally recognized by the IRS, and therefore their tax returns are not publicly available.
In short, basic metrics such as annual revenue, profit margins and monthly operating expenses
for cannabis businesses are difficult to come by. This book provides exclusive data and insight into
these areas, relying on information gleaned from our annual survey of cannabis professionals,
our third-party data partners, and interviews with marijuana executives and experts (refer to the
methodology section of the Appendix for details).
Marijuana Business Daily continuously evaluates opportunities to enhance the quality and
accuracy of the data in this book. While our annual survey of cannabis executives still forms the
backbone of the research, data-sharing partnerships with industry leaders afford the opportunity
to gain detailed insights into the industry.

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