Marijuana Business Magazine - February 2018

TRENDS AND HOT TOP¬CS W hile 2017 was another good year for cannabis, it also marked a negative milestone for some well-established Colorado marijuana companies. Their stumbles serve as a reminder of just how far the marijuana business has to go as it matures as a full-fledged industry. Consider these developments: Sweet Leaf: In December, the marijuana retail chain operator’s Denver-area stores were shuttered as part of police raids. Thirteen bud- tenders were arrested. In addition, 26 of Sweet Leaf’s Colorado busi- ness licenses were suspended. As of early 2018, 10 of the budtenders faced charges for allegedly selling too much cannabis in repeated sales to High-Profile Stumbles Some notable names in the marijuana industry suffered setbacks in 2017 By John Schroyer the same customers. The affair – the result of a yearlong sting operation by Denver police – has thrown Sweet Leaf’s future into doubt. MassRoots: The Denver-based social media platform for cannabis enthusiasts has been in a tailspin. Its sales and stock price plunged last year. A high-profile battle also erupted that pitted MassRoots founder Isaac Dietrich against the company’s board and the CEO who replaced him. Dietrich emerged victo- rious in December, while three board members and the CEO departed. The question now is whether Dietrich can right the ship. Tradiv: The once-promising online cannabis marketplace closed its doors at the end of 2017 after some notable mishaps and the departure of the Boulder company’s co-founder and former CEO, Aeron Sullivan. In 2016, Inc. magazine named Sullivan as one of its 30 under 30 founders for “taking on some of the world’s biggest challenges.” At the time, the company had 21 employees and $1.1 million in raised funds. MJ Freeway: The Denver software company spent a significant chunk of 2017 battling negative press that stemmed from security hacks and system outages that left thousands of cannabis retail clients scrambling. It began with an alleged “attack” last January that caused a shutdown for MJ Freeway’s point-of-sale system’s retail clients. The problems persisted with additional outages in June, October 34 • Marijuana Business Magazine • February 2018