VP Justin Livingston Details the Benefits and Challenges of Owning a Cannabis Business
Now that cannabis is legal in many states, there is a world of opportunity for entrepreneurs to get in on a booming industry. LA Weekly reports that the cannabis industry could reach $100 billion in sales by 2030. But navigating the complex cannabis industry is no easy task. The highly-regulated industry is constantly evolving and changing. Thanks to franchising and Unity Rd., it’s easier to start a cannabis business with a proven model and the support of an experienced franchise team.
Justin Livingston is the vice president of franchise development for Unity Rd., the nation’s first cannabis dispensary franchisor. He is passionate about giving trailblazing entrepreneurs the opportunity to build wealth and find financial independence through Unity Rd.’s one-of-a-kind opportunity. Here, he discusses the challenges and rewards of navigating the exciting new world of cannabis.
What Does Financial Freedom Mean to You?
In a word — freedom. Freedom means different things to different people but choosing a path to financial independence is a life-changing, and often a legacy-changing, decision. Financial independence can give folks the chance to pursue passions, be a more present parent and/or spouse, get involved in their community, travel or whatever is important to the individual. For me, I see financial independence as a ticket to live your best life, to work towards the very pursuit of happiness. To me, financial independence means finding your calling and living life in an intentional way that’s not reliant on others to give you their permission to live out your dream.
How Does it Feel to Help Others Reach Financial Independence through Unity Rd.?
It is incredibly fulfilling. We first launched our franchise opportunity in January 2018 [then as ONE Cannabis] and have worked tirelessly to develop a dispensary franchise model strong enough to achieve what others haven’t been able to do — grow across the U.S. Today, we have shops across Colorado, South Dakota, and our first New Jersey location will be opening this summer. It has been truly gratifying to see our franchise partners confidently operate dispensaries in their local communities. Seeing their success and the life they can live as well as hearing their positive customer interactions makes this all worth it.
How Does Unity Rd. Set Franchisees Up for Financial Independence?
The cannabis industry is high stakes. Missteps may not only impact your bottom line — they can put you out of business. As a franchisor, we are not just guiding our franchisees, we make them an expert in their business, giving them the confidence to make decisions on the spot and the security in knowing their questions can be answered at the push of a button.
We’ve gathered some of the brightest individuals from cannabis and franchising to create a comprehensive road map that’s backed by our knowledge gained from years of hard work and encountering obstacle after obstacle to map out the safest route to success.
What are the Biggest Challenges and Rewards for Unity Rd. Franchisees?
Unlike a traditional brick-and-mortar franchise, prospective Unity Rd. shop owners don’t dive immediately into sites selection and the construction process; they first need to go through licensing to secure a dispensary license in their targeted area.
Our dedicated licensing team holds your hand throughout the entire process, which can take anywhere from nine to 18 months. While we have a solid track record of success in securing dispensary licenses, the outcome of being awarded a license is ultimately outside our control. But it’s not a one-shot opportunity — if a state or municipality turns down a prospective franchisee, we’re right there by their side finding the next best opportunity for a future Unity Rd. shop.
To enter a market more quickly, we have several franchise partners who are looking at acquiring an existing dispensary, like our Unity Rd. Boulder shop owner did back in 2021. Since converting the existing dispensary into Unity Rd. and reopening in June 2021, the Unity Rd. Boulder shop has increased sales 48% and the number of transactions by 77%.
How Does the Unity Rd. Team Support Franchisees through the Obstacles of Cannabis Regulations?
Complex regulations make for expensive business operations in cannabis, which is why many dispensaries are operated by large corporations with the funds to have an all-star team on their bench. We’re regularly connecting with our franchisees’ local cannabis regulatory bodies to confirm we understand the rules and have an external party we work with as an added layer to ensure compliance. With our Unity Rd. support team guiding franchise partners on how to compliantly adapt operations, marketing, etc. to meet requirements, they’re able to focus their time and energy on supporting their team and community.
For more information about Unity Rd., visit https://www.franchise.unityrd.com/.