Sowing The Seeds of Entrepreneurship: An Interview with a Cannabis Financial Planner

The financial side of the cannabis industry can be difficult to traverse. Because the business aspect of the steadily-legalized plant is so new to so many people, it’s vital to know everything you can before entering the space. Luckily, there are financial planners who are committed to guiding potential investors through the complicated world of commercial cannabis.

We spoke with Certified Financial Planner, Norman S. Chevlin, creator of Plant Your Financial Seed®️, about advice for entrepreneurs, the effects of stigma on the cannabusiness, and the overall future of the industry.

Cannabis & Tech Today: What originally inspired you to extend your financial services to the cannabis industry?

Norman S. Chevlin: I attended the CWEBOexpo last year at the Javits Center in New York just out of curiosity and was amazed at how many business there were, but also saw that there were no exhibitors in the financial planning space there. Understanding that the federal laws that restricted federally chartered banks, insurance companies, and investment firms, I also knew those laws would eventually change and I wanted to be the go to CFP®️when that happened.

C&T Today: What makes the cannabis industry unique from a financial perspective?

NSC: Well, right now it is unique because of the large amounts of cash being generated with no safe, secure place to save it or invest it. That, however, is quickly changing with state non-chartered banks and other types of payroll companies coming up with various solutions.

That’s where I think I can now bring value to the cannabusiness owner – using planning techniques and having life insurance products that are legal and work in the current environment.

C&T Today: Have you found that most financial information you provide regarding cannabis needs to be more mainstream?

NSC: The needs of the cannabis entrepreneur are no different than any other business owners. Unfortunately, many business owners are unaware of the planning techniques that exist today to protect and invest for now and the future. I am starting to have more business owners reach out to me from as far as California to here in New Jersey.

C&T Today: What mistakes do cannabis businesses often make financially?

NSC: Well, given that it’s still in its infancy in the U.S., there have not been enough opportunities to make mistakes in regards to financial planning. However, key-man and buy-sell life and disability insurance are available to protect business owners, partners, and those that invest money with them. Having legal documents like buy-sell agreements without the funding provided by insurance to fund them often make them expensive and useless legal documents.

There are those that think that they can just simply open a dispensary or related business, not having any idea of the up-front capital and stringent licensing that they will need just to get started.

For those who are able to build a successful business, I plan to be there when today’s and tomorrow’s cannabis/hemp entrepreneurs want a trusted, knowledgeable professional firm to advise them as their businesses grow.

C&T Today: What advice would you give to someone looking to get into the financial side of cannabis?

NSC: Well they say, “the early bird gets the worm,” but I am already very involved and educated myself by working on my Master’s in cannabis education and participating in many cannabis expos. I see this as an investment in the incredible growth and needs that it will create for expertise such as mine.

I expect the federal government – with continued education, legislative pressures, and as more states legalize cannabis based on its medicinal benefits – to allow for legalization within certain limits. Eventually, recreational usage could follow, but I think federal approval will take much longer.

Currently, investors need to do their due diligence on any investments that they make, whether it be cannabis or not.

C&T Today: Tell me about what might be holding back people from investing in cannabis. Is the stigma still a large issue? 

NSC: Well, there are social issues, legalization issues, and still a lot of people that are not aware or able to separate marijuana recreationally vs. cannabis/hemp medicinally. In addition, most people need competent advisers to make them aware of the risk versus rewards of the cannabis space.

That being said, there are plenty of people that have become and will continue to become very wealthy for the foreseeable future if they invest wisely. Investors must also be aware of natural disasters that can affect a particular sector of the market (aka, land fires.)

C&T Today: With legalized cannabis becoming such a booming industry recently, is there fear of a “bubble” developing?

NSC: That’s a very interesting question. I have actually heard that, in some states, there is already such an abundance of cannabis to be sold – due to limitations barring shipments across state lines – that prices have dropped significantly.

Ultimately, I would say that it will behave the same as cigarettes and alcohol over time and be dependent on the ultimate consumers of the product. As far as companies that produce or manufacture cannabis, you are already seeing the consolidation happening amongst them.

C&T Today: Where do you see the cannabis space growing in the next few years?

NSC: Well, it seems quite obvious to me, the public, and the investment world that, in all aspects of the cannabis and hemp space, there is nowhere to go but higher. In my opinion, it is quite obvious that we are still in the infancy stage of its potential.

Recreationally, it seems that if products like cigarettes, cigars, and alcohol are federally legal and proven to be much more dangerous, then cannabis used responsibly should be decriminalized in small quantities and legal above age 21.

We’re already seeing significant investments by the beverage and alcohol industries in the cannabis market – Coca Cola’s potential alignment with one of Canada’s largest cannabis companies and the advent of CBD infused beer, just to name a few. And if we can get the same momentum in terms of even more research in the U.S. by the FDA, it would give even more credibility to why this plant has been such an appealing, all-natural alternative to traditional synthetic pharmaceuticals.


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