MMJ Dispensaries in AZ, Drug Trends, and Government Monitoring

Dear Brian,
How do I open up a medical marijuana dispensary in Arizona?

My friends and I are thinking of moving to Arizona to open up a dispensary. We will get our cards and have about $200,000 worth of start-up capital. I’d just like to know the process of opening up one, where to, and any other relevant information. Thank you!

Do not. Start a grow op or processing center and work in that industry. Margins are better, taxes/start-up is cheaper, and you learn a lot more about the industry.

As a dispensary owner, you’ll be inundated with companies offering to sell you everything. Once you make it through the state licensing (which includes geographic limitations, city/county restrictions, and a lot of costly paperwork lawyers typically do in every state), you’ll also have to register your LLC, etc. and end up on a cannabis business registry. It’s not BP or law enforcement that you have to worry about anymore.

Now you’ll have B2B consultants trying to offer you security, lighting, signage, packaging, retail POS software platforms, inventory/warehouse platforms, accounting (still federally illegal, so you can’t deposit earnings in an FDIC-insured bank, though the reservations and local credit unions may be willing to help), insurance of all kinds (regular business and cannabis-specific), HVAC, security, and products of every kind.

You’ll also need investors. Come to the Southwest Cannabis Conference in Phoenix in a couple weeks: Southwest Cannabis Conference and Expo

Besides me and other media, there will be professionals in every line of business in the industry, along with educational seminars geared toward specific tracks like banking, investment, retail, growing, edibles, legal, etc.

Pay close attention to what the MPP and Safer AZ is doing with the cannabis ballots this year, because either will greatly impact you, and the MPP’s is most likely to go through.

Also in November, there’s an international investment conference at the Rio in Las Vegas: Register Now for This Year’s MUST-ATTEND Industry Conference! – Marijuana Business Conference & Expo

If you want to meet up at either conference, I’d be happy to show you the ropes. Bring business cards and a tablet or laptop to take notes. You can make a lot of connections at either conference or of course the Cannabis Cup:

How I Snuck Into the Cannabis Cup (and Industry) – Thought for Your Penny

Dear Brian,
Why are so many people using ice as a drug when the side affects are violence?

In Australia we have had ice related killings and now have advertisements on TV as ice seems to make people extremely violent. Why has ice then become a drug of choice for many people who must be aware of the violent effects. I know you can shoot it up but you could shoot up methamphetamine. In my drug using gays I remeber a lesson I was taught while I was nursing. In a hospital patients had to have an autopsy when they died.  The lecturer told us they opened up a meth users skull and his brain slipped through their fingers – it was mush. So I never tried it even once. I have just read it is difficult to make, most of it comes from China.  Is it very addictive? What happened to MJ and ecstasy?  Because ice is such a strong form of methamphetamine, all the effects and side-effects will be (1) more likely to happen; and (2) more intense than normal speed. Ice is a dangerous drug, and we know from the experience of places like Hawaii that people who use it are going to experience a whole range of physical and emotional side-effects. Surely the high can’t be worth the low.

It’s probably a good mix of Breaking Bad being popular, it being to cheap and readily available. The fact that you can feel it working every time amping you up like you have superpowers, and that the world is a fucked up place. Everyone has a vice, and every vice has trends:

Dear Brian,
Can governments outside of USA  monitor their citizens who are using HTTPS websites?

For example can China monitor what I’m writing right now, assuming:
1- I’m not using a VPN
2- I’m not writing with my real name
What if I use Tor? or other VPNs?

If they wanted to find you, they’re fully capable. It’s all automated and uses search filters that will track your finances and everything about you to have a better idea of where/how you’ll hide before even you do.

If you plan on doing something you don’t want them to see, build your own computer that doesn’t have WiFi on it. Install Linux offline on an SD card or thumb drive. USB cards are better because they’re easier to swallow/destroy in a pinch.

Hide computer in an inconspicuous object and go somewhere public where you can find a WiFi signal that doesn’t implicate anyone specific in your neighborhood.

Then only perform the search you want from that public WiFi using an encrypted VPN/Tor/proxy connection.

How they’ll still track you is by looking up whoever bought parts to build a computer in that area, etc. (if you were to do something illegal that they consider a threat). So pay cash.

This is how you can download and read things without being identified too easily, though streaming is more difficult because it’s real-time.

Dear Brian,
Is there any social network for sharing document on mobile platform?

Google Docs integrates with all its other features, which includes Google Hangouts and Google Plus. A couple clients I work with use it pretty extensively. Microsoft has a version whose name I can’t remember, but it’s going cloud-based with Office/Outlook, etc., so it’ll be pushing that same direction soon.

Also keep an eye on Evernote.

Dear Brian,
Is there any decent book to quit smoking?

I’ve seen the Bible cure people of all sorts of addictions, though they’re really just trading them off for a more addictive substance like the Bible…

Dear Brian,
Did you smoke weed in high school?

How often, how did it impact your life (short and long term), do you still smoke?

Yes, maybe a dozen or so times in high school (got drunk at least 50 or so times – I had an older brother and we lived near a military base and Mexico, so a lot of things were available easily at a young age).

I also smoked weed (and experimented with a few other drugs) during my college years while continuing to drink and smoke regularly.

In my adult years, the only habit I stuck with was smoking cigarettes, though I smoke a lot more weed, drink on special occasions, and have experimented with a wider variety of drugs now that I’m beyond my developmental years.

At 35, I’m good at what I do, and I’m still as resourceful, energetic, moody, and focused as I ever was. I find I work the same whether sober or stoned, but I am able to think more creatively using cannabis.

Somewhere in life, you stop being a kid and your brain just reaches its capacity of information. You limit what you take in, and the things that stick with you are the things you spend the most time doing on a daily basis.

I was an expert in Calculus, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Trigonometry, Geometry, etc. in school, but I don’t use the skills every day, so I haven’t kept up with much beyond a high-level overview of whatever caught my eye of interest in those fields.

In the business world, production and quality was all that mattered, and I’ve worked at over two dozen corporations and small businesses in my life before venturing on to become an entrepreneur at 30.

Each of those jobs had at least a few computer platforms, procedures, processes, etc. to learn. I’ve learned a lot of what I know in life through my understanding of computer platforms, both consumer and enterprise.

I know my way around databases, queries, reports, and UI’s of all shapes and sizes, and it makes it easier to accomplish ideas.

When you get older, you learn a lot of people have ideas of what they’re gonna be. So much knowledge is available there’s nothing you can learn that hasn’t already been learned by enough people that are willing to call you a dumb noob for not knowing.

We’re defined by how we follow through on our words, and understanding software platforms is the key.

For example, anyone can post a video on YouTube of their band practicing in a garage playing an original song or cover of anything in any genre. But some people have talent, though nobody will ever know unless they have the right marketing.

Of course, to sound like you have talent, you need to use professional gear, which you’ll learn amounts to a microphone, USB or PCI preamp, and a software suite for professional audio recording like ProTools protools – Google Search

You’ll also need a webcam and professional video editing software like Avid Media Composer (what South Park was once created on before it switched to Maya 3D Animation) avid media composer – Google Search

And you’ll need SEMRush to promote it, yada, yada, yada, service for competitors research, shows organic and Ads keywords for any site or domain

So by understanding software (and universal business operations processes and procedures), I can hold an intelligent conversation with professionals, executives, and experts in a wide range of fields.

This allows me to get into all sorts of cool trade shows to meet the teams of people creating my favorite products:

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Overall, it’s hard to say what in my life has caused what long-term effects, but I’m happy with life and a fully functional adult with a pretty fun career.

Brian Penny WhistleblowerBrian Penny is a former business analyst and operations manager at Countrywide Home Loans turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. His work has appeared in Huffington Post, High Times, Fast Company, Quicken’s Small Business Resource, Cannabis Now, and Hardcore Droid.


Dr. Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. You can find his work in Cracked, High Times, HuffPost, Lifewire, Forbes, Fast Company, and dozens of other places, although much of it is no longer under his name. Dr. Penny loves annoying fake media.

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