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Introducing, “Contributor Spotlights”, a campaign aimed at highlighting our contributors who add their voice to DCN’s platform in order to educate and connect with other entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry.

Meet Max Meade, he shares with DCN readers his knowledge on how having the proper insurance coverage can save your business on a rainy day. His passion for advising cannabis business owners is inspired by an experience that happened to a close family friend that enlightened Max to the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

DCN: What obstacles have you faced on your journey?

Max Meade: The biggest obstacle is breaking the stigma that surrounds cannabis. The insurance business is a very conservative Industry so to be one of the first insurance professionals to work with the Cannabis Industry triggers certain stereotypical responses i.e. “you must just like to smoke weed” or “what are those meetings like? Just sitting around Indian-style passing around a joint singing kumbaya?”

For most, this stigma alone is enough to prevent them from wanting to work with the Cannabis industry. Most insurance professionals don’t want to risk upsetting current or potential clients if they are opposed to the use of medical/recreational cannabis.  But for me, I take it as a challenge.  I know that when we look back in 5, 10, 20 years those same naysayers will be kicking themselves for not taking the risk to work with and help this industry prosper and grow.  This is especially significant with the Cannabis Industry being a brand new insurance segment. The owners need guidance as to how best protect their unique businesses, whether they’re  a cultivator, dispensary, extractor, trimming company, edible-maker, etc.

DCN: Why did you get into cannabis industry?

Max Meade: What led me to the Cannabis Industry, like most, was seeing just how helpful cannabis can be to treat medical conditions.  A very close family friend was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and it was a complete shock to us all. Initially, he was going through conventional medicine to try and alleviate his symptoms but his wife noticed that they weren’t working as effectively as they were hoping. That’s when they decided they wanted to try something else and were introduced to cannabis.

They weren’t anticipating any kind of magical results but wanted to exhaust all options to see what would work best. They never thought that cannabis would end up being the best medicine for him – but it was. His symptoms were much less aggressive than normal as he was able to function and speak with no impairment.  To actually see it in person was one of the most amazing things I have ever witnessed.

Seeing the positive effects that Cannabis had on him lit a fire in me to use my knowledge of the insurance industry and assist as many people as I can.  My goal is for more patients to access safe and high-quality medicine along with having a reliable establishment to get it from. My end goal is to make sure that the cannabis businesses that I work with are completely covered so that if a loss occurs we can get them back to operating business as usual much quicker than if they had to pay out of their own pockets.  Having traditional insurance tailored to meet the needs of the industry is paramount so that in the event of a loss patient care will not be compromised.

DCN: What was your opinion of cannabis growing up? How has it changed?

Max Meade: Growing up, like most kids I was always told to never smoke “weed” and to always “say no” if I was ever offered it at a party or some other gathering. I also grew up in a time when D.A.R.E. was extremely prevalent in schools and was constantly stressed to the students.  Add the fact that where I grew up (Lancaster County, PA) was an extremely conservative town, you can say that Cannabis was never something that a lot of people did.

Fast forward to when I attended college at Temple University. This is when I was first really introduced to cannabis and when I realized that this “drug” that I have always been told would “destroy your life” wasn’t even close to as bad as they depicted it to be. In fact, I had friends who actually did better with certain schoolwork after partaking (most common example that everyone said was writing papers was much easier as it helped them to focus on the topic and task at hand).

Now, with all of the data and research that’s been done into all of the benefits that cannabis has on different ailments, my perception of it has completely changed from when I grew up being force-fed the medicine of cannabis being a “gateway drug” to much worse things. I now know that this is a viable medicine that can make a tremendous difference in people’s lives.

DCN: How has your involvement with cannabis changed personal and career relationships?

Max Meade: Personal Relationships – In reality, my personal relationships haven’t changed that much due to cannabis. The only difference is seeing the reaction of friends when I tell them that I work with the Cannabis Industry, which is always followed with either “no way, that’s awesome!”, “are you serious?” or “do they send you free stuff?”

Even my family, who is also very conservative, was so supportive when I told them that this is the Industry that I am working with. A few of my family members are in the medical field and it was pretty amazing to have a conversation with them about the industry and cannabis in general as I would never have thought in a million years that I would be discussing cannabis with anyone in my family.

Career Relationships – Because of cannabis, I have found myself working in an amazing industry where every day I get to talk with and help out business owners protect their most valuable assets. Whether it’s their actual store, their equipment, their crops, their employees, or any other insurance-related matter, it makes coming into work every day that much better because I know I’m helping to make a difference and protect the livelihoods of these business owners.

Not only do I get to work with and assist business owners, but working in this industry has led me to form some great relationships with other cannabis professionals and has led to some fantastic opportunities (with one being the opportunity to contribute to DCN!) that I would have missed out on if it wasn’t for the Cannabis Industry.

DCN: What are your hopes for entrepreneurship in the cannabis industry?

Max Meade: I hope that this industry continues the upward trajectory that it is currently on and eventually see each and every state have some sort of laws in place, whether medically or recreationally, so that those who need it for medicine or those who enjoy partaking recreationally are able to without the fear of a cop knocking on their door and taking them to jail for smoking one joint or having a gram on them.

You see it every day: studies coming out discussing new ailments that cannabis can help alleviate, new products for consumers or for businesses, new software platforms to help business owners track their products, law firms beginning to implement cannabis law teams, etc. This industry has opened the door for entrepreneurs to get in on the ground floor of an industry that doesn’t appear to even have a ceiling at the moment. Look at Colorado and Washington – both states have surpassed $1,000,000,000 in sales in less than a year! And that’s just two states.

Imagine what this country will look like when more and more states begin replicating these models and allowing Cannabis businesses to open. It’s only going to create more jobs, generate more tax revenue and more opportunity for entrepreneurs to create new and innovative products for businesses and consumers to adapt.

To learn more about Max and what he’s up to in the cannabis industry, check out Max’s page.

Interested in being a contributor? Click here.

To stay updated on the latest tech, entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the cannabis industry, click here.