David Rhein: The Chamber of Commerce for the Cannabis Industry

David Rheins: MJBA

The business world is no stranger to him – He’s been the face of countless empires, namely Rolling Stone, AOL, SPIN magazine, and Time Warner to name a few. He’s plowed his way through the weave of the corporate world, but where will we find him now? Look no further than the evolving cannabis industry. When an entrepreneur like David Rheins, founder of MJBA, is focusing his efforts on our industry, we know we’re on the right track.

What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?

This is a unique point in time when we’re being given the opportunity to create an entire new American industry from scratch. It is our mission to establish integrity and legitimacy, create common market standards, provide market intelligence, and develop the best ethical business practices for participants in the emerging legal marijuana industries.

What were you doing before the green rush?

I spent my professional life at the intersection of technology, alternative culture, and commerce. I grew up at Rolling Stone, later became Associate Publisher and President of SPIN magazine, where I moved from the magazine world to the interactivity world. I became Senior Vice President at Time Warner Cable and later AOL, where I served as Senior Vice President of Interactive Marketing. I moved out to Seattle in the late 90s to work for Bill Gates, running the consumer products division of his Corbis visual content company. I love Washington and especially enjoy working with the entrepreneurs and small business communities here.

I moved out to Seattle in the late 90s to work for Bill Gates

What are you doing to impact the industry?

The MJBA’s three value propositions are proving Business Intelligence; through our media network MJNewsNetwork.com, Marijuana Channel One on Youtube, and our extensive Social Media network; Through the Community; Through our regular meetups in Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver and Spokane, and our many Vendor Fairs, Job Fairs, and Professional Education Seminars; and Business Opportunity via our extensive referral and lead generation programs.

Describe your work ethic to me in one word.


Tell me about a time in your career that didn’t go as planned and what you did about that? How did you handle it?

I was reorganized out of a senior executive role at AOL Time Warner, and despite my personal achievements, found myself out of a job. It was a wake up call that made me realize I didn’t love corporate culture as much as I loved my entrepreneurial publishing roots. So, I went out on my own as a consultant and have never looked back. That was more than a decade ago.

What book have you read that you’ve been inspired by? Any particular read we should put on our list?

I am constantly inspired by the classics and re-read Steinbeck, Whitman, and Twain. As far as recommendations for professionals in the cannabis industry, I’d recommend “Smoke Signals, A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific” by Martin A. Lee as a good historical overview of the co-evolution of man and the miraculous cannabis plant.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?

We are only limited by our own imagination.

How would you advise someone who wants to join the industry?

If you are interested in becoming a part of this industry – or really any industry – there are two things you must do:

  1. Get Informed. Learn your subject matter; Read; Go online; Attend seminars and lectures. Read some more. Listen more than you speak.
  2. Get Connected. The best way to explore the industry is by meeting the players. Attend your local MJBA meetup or event; Get involved in community events; Volunteer.

What is a skill or trait that you think is necessary to make an impact in this industry?

Dedication. The legal cannabis industry is being created as we speak. There will be many challenges and risks for the business pioneer who is part of this first Green Rush. However, if you are nimble, committed, and dedicated to being a part of the new economy, the potential rewards are enormous.

What is the most important thing for us to know now about the legal marijuana industry?

Legal marijuana is a very broad economic revolution that will touch all sectors of society. Participants include tens of thousands of mom and pop growers, processors and retailers – as well as many more professional service professionals upon whom they rely. Legal marijuana will reinvigorate our local economies by putting folks back to work and through aggressive taxation. It will also reduce the need for additional prisons and eliminate the cost of unnecessary drug war enforcement.

Legal marijuana is a very broad economic revolution that will touch all sectors of society

If we are sitting across from each other a year from now, how will our conversation about the ‘green rush’ be going?

In a year, we will be reflecting on just how far legalization has grown in the past year. Legalization in Washington and Colorado will have generated tens of millions in taxes and thousands of new jobs. Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia will be in the early stages of rolling out their recreational markets, and California, Nevada, and several other states will be looking at legalizing in 2016. 2015 will be an historic year for the MJBA and the budding legal marijuana industry.

  • How are you? I would like to introduce myself, my name is Maryanne Zucal and I own The Ganja Group. We are a Group Purchasing Daily Deals company for marijuana in Colorado. Basically, we are Groupon or Living Social for marijuana.

    I have been in the marijuana industry marketing two businesses and I have decided to focus on one business idea and that is to save consumers money on their purchases, bring new customers and foot traffic to dispensaries and helping wholesalers market and sell their products to the marijuana marketplace.

    I was in the telecommunications industry for almost 30 years and I have been a cannabis consumer for over 31 years so I decided to get out of IT and into POT!!!

    I am one of very few women in this industry in Colorado who doesn’t own a dispensary and I also have made a lot of connections through attending marijuana events.. I am super excited to finally roll out our website, we are having a soft launch in February and then the official launch in March.. So I would love love to chat with you about how we can work together and how we can help each other in this industry.

    Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.


    Maryanne Zucal

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