Shannon Hattan is the co-founder and CEO of Fiddler’s Greens, a California cannabis tincture maker, and as an entrepreneur she should be feeling great. Her ten-person company, based in Santa Rosa, got one the first adult-use licenses to grow cannabis in the state. Fiddler’s award-winning products are on hundreds of store shelves. The company is quickly approaching profitability.
Instead, Hattan lives every day on edge. She emptied her 401(k) and plowed all of her late parents’ retirement savings into transitioning Fiddler’s Greens, a former medical cannabis collective, into a licensed adult-use company. She and co-founder Cameron Hattan, her husband, work 100-hour weeks without pay.
The Hattans need to raise $5-7 million for expansion, but Shannon is too busy complying with onerous state regulations to take meetings with investors. At this stage of the company’s life, a small business loan or line of credit is what makes the most sense for Fiddler’s Greens. But because this is cannabis, bank loans are not an option. If Hattan were to even raise the possibility with her own local branch manager, she might lose her checking account for mentioning cannabis.
Meanwhile, some of her competitors are rolling in money. They don’t have bank loans—they have several hundred million dollars in investment capital to burn. They can afford to take losses for years as they gain market share.