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By Joseph Peña (This is an abridged version of a story that appears in the March issue of Marijuana Business Magazine.) Whether you’re operating in a medical or recreational marijuana market, illicit cannabis sales are an ever-present threat to the legal industry. Marijuana entrepreneurs can’t control how the black market operates, but there are ways to encourage customers to buy from a licensed, regulated business instead. Put simply, it requires going above and beyond what black-market operators can offer by way of service and products. From rewards programs and corporate giving campaigns to education, there area many ways cannabis business owners can win – and keep – customers. Many cannabis retailers have turned to rewards programs to build brand loyalty and incentivize customers to choose the regulated market over the black market. Dockside Cannabis in Washington state uses a points-based loyalty program from Baker Technologies, a Denver-based marketing automation software company that serves MJ retailers. How marijuana entrepreneurs can outsmart black-market competitors

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