The accidental cannabis entrepreneur is a 58 year-old mother of two and when you actually see how she approached her business, you might think instead that she has excellent business sense. Cannabis edibles are very popular and Nancy Whiteman, the accidental marijuana entrepreneur, makes confectionery thc laced edibles that are top sellers in Colorado.
Nancy might refer to herself as an accidental cannabis entrepreneur but in truth she identified an opportunity eight years ago and capitalized on it. The real moral of the accidental cannabis entrepreneur is that the cannabis industry is young and evolving and that all equates to opportunity. Have you thought about how you could apply your expertise and business acumen to the cannabis industry?
Wana Brands is now Colorado’s largest cannabis-infused confectionary company. Courtesy of Wana Brands
Nancy Whiteman’s marijuana confectionary company makes millions of dollars a year, but she considers herself an “accidental cannabis entrepreneur.”
That’s how she felt in 2010 when starting Wana Brands (shortened from marijuana), now Colorado’s leading company for cannabis-infused confectionary products.
Back then, her home state had just begun opening the doors to a legalized marijuana market. Whiteman saw a niche ready to be filled.
She thought that edibles could be the next big thing in legal marijuana trends. Her confectionary concoctions include mouthwatering creations like loaded sour fruit gummies, salted caramels, hot cocoa, and bright lozenge “jewels” infused with different levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
“I really didn’t understand the power of what we were doing or creating,” Whiteman told Business Insider.
By the end of 2017, she expects Wana Brands to bring in more than $12 million in revenue.
Seven years ago, Whiteman, along with her ex-husband and co-founder John Whiteman, started experimenting with different candy-making techniques and, with time, developed a product ready for the market: marijuana-infused gummies.
In Colorado, anybody over 21 can walk into a dispensary and buy up to one ounce of marijuana since the state legalized weed in 2012. The industry grew so fast that it brought the state more than $1 billion in profits in 2016. Wana Brands made more than $8 million that year.
What she first saw mainly as a major business opportunity later turned into a passion for bringing the relaxing effects of marijuana to others in nonstandard ways. Although she had used marijuana in the past, Whiteman said she wasn’t at the time she started the company. She now partakes in her own products.
At 59, Whiteman might not fit the stereotype of a marijuana entrepreneur. She has two adult kids, a science degree, and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. But she also says she hasn’t spent too much time worrying about others’ preconceptions because of how quickly she’s seen attitudes toward cannabis change.
“The stereotype of a young man in his 20s is not really a thing if you look at consumer demographics now,” Whiteman said. She believes that, in the coming years, cannabis use will start shifting toward older women like herself, and she plans to create products that appeal to them.
A Wana Brands employee displays the sugar base for the sweet, THC-infused edibles. Courtesy of Wana Brands
The gummies and suckers for adults took off. Today, Wana Brands sells its products in Colorado, Oregon, and Nevada, but plans to branch out to states that have recently legalized or could soon, including Massachusetts, Arizona, and Illinois.
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