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Joe Ori

New York’s recent legalization may have been the straw to break the camel’s back.


Only 17 states have legalized cannabis on a recreational level. Since there are 50+ states, it suggests there’s a long way to go. But what that also means is that 43% of the US population lives in a state where they can readily access cannabis products. Ten years ago, such a thing would have been practically incomprehensible, but just this past April New York and New Mexico, shortly followed by Virginia, all legalized cannabis, and New York led the charge.

At the rate that change is sweeping the nation, the number of states where cannabis is legal is almost guaranteed…

There was no one to ask, as the industry was emerging. But we figured it out. Newbies, here’s my advice.


I’ve been an entrepreneur for most of my adult life. A desk job never felt right for me.

Over the years I have successfully started dozens of businesses, from restaurants to law firms and everything in between. But, recently I began an endeavor completely unique to anything I’ve done in the past: I started a cannabis company.

It’s been the adventure of a lifetime, and taking this journey with some people I really admire has been an incredible experience — but it hasn’t always been easy.

When starting restaurants, you ask restaurateurs for advice. When you start a law firm…

You could have the best idea, the most funds, and a faulty culture could mean the end of your promising startup

Not enough entrepreneurs consider, at least in the beginning, how to build the right organizational culture. Some entrepreneurs prioritize the idea, the product, or the technology. Others pump up the volume on sales, social media, or e-commerce. All of those things are important. What can trump almost everything, however, is culture.

The underlying beliefs, values and behaviors that make up a company’s unique social and psychological environment can mean the difference between winning and losing. Why? A winning organizational culture creates a positive employee experience where individuals are more engaged in, and passionate about, their work.

A highly collaborative, agile…

Don’t believe the hype. Entrepreneurs come in all shapes, sizes and ages — not just young and hip.

Joe Ori

Originally published at

The narrative in popular media is clear. With a few high profile exceptions, successful entrepreneurs are portrayed as young and hip. I could go further and say white and male, but that’s another article, so we’ll stick with young and hip.

It’s all hoodies and jeans, and skateboarding to “the office,” also known as a friend’s parents’ garage or guesthouse.

The cultural zeitgeist would have you believe the most revolutionary ideas are born in between games of Fortnite.

It’s just not true. I’m going to dust off a well-seasoned cliché and say that age really is…

If you can’t create a workable business plan and execute on it, even the best, most innovative ideas aren’t worth much.

Joe Ori

I have had so many people come to me with truly great ideas. I mean, market disruptors, things that people would gravitate to right now with open arms. But they end up dead in the water, so to speak, because I don’t have time to mold the clay, to be “the guy.” You know, the one who writes the business plan and does all that it takes to move that idea from a thought bubble over your head, to a finished product in your hand.

To be a successful entrepreneur you’ve got to be a do-er! Think about it. If…

You can talk your way into an opportunity, just be prepared to back it up.

A long time ago I read that Kevin Plank, founder of Under Armour, carried a stack of different business cards in his pocket when he was first starting out. He was the president, vice president, director of operations, R&D, he went into every meeting pretending to be someone else to make Under Armour look like more than what it really was, an idea. …

With focused attention, Michigan’s cannabis market can easily and quickly reach its full potential, and overcome the barriers hindering its growth.

Before I helped to found Six Labs, a Michigan-based cannabis company, I did a lot — I mean a lot — of research. I visited dispensaries all over the country. Those in northern and southern California vs those in Michigan and neighboring states like Illinois — well, let’s just say it was like the difference between going to your local convenience store to buy wine and going to a specialty store like Binny’s.

It’s the difference between the makeup counter at Walgreens and walking into Sephora. The former might provide what you need, but the overall experience and the endless…

Consumers deserve the highest safety and testing standards for cannabis across the board.

Joe Ori (left) at Six Labs

For those who are new to the cannabis industry, things might be confusing initially. For instance, is there a difference between medical and recreational cannabis? The answer is, yes and no. There are some distinct differences in use, affect, cost and in the standards related to cultivation, labeling, etc., but there is also some crossover when it comes to usefulness and application from a health and wellness perspective.

I think, however, it’s important to establish one thing. While there are some differences between medical and recreational cannabis…

Photography by Six Labs

It may not be the perfect comparison, but there are some striking similarities between the end of alcohol prohibition and the slow crawl to cannabis legalization nationally. Both industries were stymied by state legislatures that were hesitant to respond to changing circumstances, and both faced a similar challenge: how to sell to a new generation of consumers?

Legalizing cannabis was supposed to create a well-organized marketplace where consumers could easily buy products that they knew were safe and high-quality, and states could collect new tax revenues to fund their governments. However, the illegal market for cannabis continues to thrive, which…

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the cannabis industry with a huge opportunity — if companies can adapt quickly to marketplace shifts and consumer demands.

Photography by Six Labs

Recently I shared my perspective on what the coronavirus could mean for our industry, how the cannabis industry would fare during the pandemic, and how public attitudes might shift in response to the outbreak.

Obviously having state governments recognize cannabis as an essential business is proof that we’ve built an industry that’s recognized as a medical necessity. It’s a seismic shift in attitude and perception from 5–10 years ago. Fortunately, state leaders understand that cannabis is first and foremost medicine, and it plays a critical role in a patient’s health and well-being.

Now it’s important that we absorb this seismic…

Joe Ori

Trial Lawyer, Cannabis Advocate, Entrepreneur. Father of four. Doing “the right thing,” my way. 😎

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