I work with international cannabis companies outside the U.S. and regularly field inquiries from others who want to enter the U.S. market or are already selling into the U.S. market through an intermediary like a broker or a sales agent. In the United States, there are four main ways to enter the market to do business, all of which have different pros and cons.
Before I dig into those, I need to flag the issue of U.S. immigration for non-U.S. citizens who are somehow involved or thinking about getting involved in a U.S. cannabis marijuana business, whether from their home country or while you are in the U.S. My colleague Akshat Divatia wrote a cautionary blog post discussing how involvement could cause foreign individuals to have significant problems with USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) and USCBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection). In that post, Akshat wrote:
Even a foreign national who has never consumed marijuana could be declared inadmissible under the INA [Immigration and Nationality Act] based on his or her involvement in a [U.S.] legal cannabis [marijuana] business, either as ‘a knowing aider, abettor, assister, conspirator, or colluder with others’ or ‘an illicit trafficker’ of a controlled