Canopy launches its fourth cohort of cannabis companies on August 29th – less than two weeks away. After two years in beautiful Boulder, we’ve pivoted to the Bay Area, launching the Fall 2016 class in our new Berkeley, CA, location. We’re often asked why. Why leave Colorado and its successful, booming recreational and medical marijuana industry?
Well, we’re not exactly leaving – we’re expanding. The CanopyBoulder business accelerator and cannabis investment fund officially launched in March of 2015 with 10 eager and energized cannabis entrepreneurs ready to put in the long hours necessary to launch their innovative cannabusinesses. Colorado was a natural place for the birth of CanopyBoulder, as the state had legalized recreational marijuana in 2012 and had seen relative success in implementation. At the time it was the marijuana industry’s capital, and was – and still is – a great place for any startup.
But we’ve always had our eye on California, for several reasons:
Expected expansion of legalization. California will vote on Proposition 64 (known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act) this November after 20 years of legal medical marijuana in the state. California was the first state to establish a medical marijuana program, recognizing the importance of medicinal alternatives. The predicted legalization of recreational marijuana, if it happens, will be a defining event for the cannabis industry and will undoubtedly be a catalyst for greater change nationwide. Canopy’s recent venture west is a unique opportunity to experience this historic event at its epicenter and ultimately, a chance for Canopy to be a resource to the movement and its continued progress. Canopy retains a deep well of respect for the state’s cannabis industry leadership and their accomplishments - it would be monumental to stand behind them at the moment when the culmination of work and energy put forth into legalization and the end of prohibition is finally realized.
The perfect blend of industry and culture. California offers a marijuana-friendly political environment and a solid population of cannabis businesses. The state is an open and functioning market, where Canopy’s startup founders can visit labs, dispensaries and grows that exist at the heart of the business. It is incredibly important for cannabis entrepreneurs to experience the industry from the inside out, and California allows plentiful access to the industry and these critical operations. The Bay Area also fosters a growing population of cannabis-curious investors. For Canopy and our companies, it’s important that our founders have access to an investment community willing to dip their toes – or yet, take a dive – into this rapidly-expanding industry.
A wealth of knowledgeable mentors. One of the pillars upon which Canopy’s accelerator program is built is the knowledge and expertise of our mentor network – and the willingness to pass it along. Since the beginning, Canopy has enjoyed a community of experienced professionals with a range of valuable expertise. For an accelerator of to be successful, you need a robust group with unlimited expertise and deep interest in helping hungry entrepreneurs reach their goals. Canopy has been lucky enough to cultivate a group of the best and brightest.
Strong partnerships. We also have an incredible partner in The Arcview Group. You can’t underestimate the value of community, and Arcview has supported CanopyBoulder from inception. We’re happy to be in closer proximity to this industry-changing collection of passionate and knowledgeable people.
Locating to Berkeley to be part of this new cannabis horizon furthers our vision to support a sustainable cannabis industry; as well, we are believers that business can be a great agent of social change. Join us on August 29th for our Launch Party & Drug Policy Alliance Fundraiser for food, beverages and a State if the MJ Union address by marijuana advocate and activist Steve DeAngelo to kick off the Fall 2016 cohort. Get your tickets – we’ll see you there!