A Wilmington-based company wants to help entrepreneurs tap into Delaware's potential legal cannabis market if legislation creating such a framework ultimately passes.
"What we've found in working in other states is that, it's one thing to create a license category and set aside licenses [for equity], but what's really needed is a lot of training, education, experience, so that those businesses can be successful." said Peter Murphy of American Fiber. "That usually either comes too late or doesn't come at all. So what we thought was, let's take the benefit of our experience, share that with the people in Delaware looking to get into this, and give them a better chance at actually succeeding once licensed."
On May 27th, 2021, Murphy and the others on the team will begin introducing hopeful entrepreneurs to the ins-and-outs of all of Delaware's regulatory details in an effort to put them on better footing as they establish themselves. The first round of candidates were referred by local activists, state representatives, and communities leaders across Delaware.
The decision to help these foundling companies was an easy decision from a lot of angles, he said. For starters, more successful businesses in the area creates a stronger market for everyone.
"It does seem counterintuitive to a lot of people, but really, the way we look at this industry is, it's incredibly hard, no matter who you are," Murphy said. "It is a very highly regulated, labor-intensive industry, and you can take the approach of being very protective--and, yeah, that's definitely done--but we found that we get a lot further when we actually build relationships with people and and foster competition...We find that in bringing more people into this and actually building relationships among different industry participants, it creates a better overall environment."
And then there's also a moral imperative, he noted. With a history of communities disproportionately impacted by the laws surrounding cannabis, Murphy said it was important for them to provide as much assistance as possible to create a strong foundation for potential businesses that could lift these communities up.
"This comes from a personal perspective, but also from a company values perspective...There are many white males like myself who have entered this industry and are growing and trying to be successful at something that, not too long ago and even in some places right now, you can go to jail for," he said. "The numbers don't lie; the people who are going to jail primarily are not white males like me. So, if we don't recognize that disparity, and have some sort of responsibility to not only recognize it and talk about it, but then do something about it--it's just something that we need to do. That's the way I've always looked at it. You can draft laws that have certain provisions, but when it comes to acting on those--we find and this is true in a lot of states that have these programs--the action lags way behind the the rhetoric."
The weekly classes kick off May 27th and, while they've had a half-dozen attendees recommended to them, there's still COVID-safe space available for another half-dozen or so interested in the education program. They'll be reviewing the application process, technical aspects, fundraising efforts, and "arming people with information that will help them more in making the decision whether this is something they should invest a lot of time and money into, or if there are other opportunities or ways for them to get into the industry."
"Really demystify a lot of this," he said. "Right now, we're doing four of these classes and we do anticipate that we'll keep continuing to do this, if there's a demand. But there's so much information that we have to be careful as we pick and choose what's the most critical."
Those interested can head to AmericanFiber.com to submit an inquiry.