It has been the subject of many debates. Originally grown to create ropes, sails and clothing, and later used medicinally, this hotly contested crop has been a part of human civilization for centuries. The use of marijuana was legally outlawed in the 1930s but in recent years Americans have been rethinking their views on this subject. It has become increasingly acceptable for people who are ill to use the drug for medical purposes. Further, people have begun to question whether marijuana should be treated any different than alcohol, cigarettes or any other item used for relaxation. The changing views on marijuana have led to a movement that’s resulted in a wave of changes in the law across America. Marijuana is now legalized for medical use in roughly 28 states and recreational use in another 9. Clearly we have come a long way from the days where the association with propaganda such as “Reefer Madness” was the norm. Users of the popular drug are rejoicing at their ‘win’ but in my opinion entrepreneurs are the sub-group who should be even more excited.
The marijuana industry currently brings in an estimated $1.6 billion, according to a report from Forbes and the potential only gets higher— no pun intended—with the industry expected to generate approximately $8 billion in revenue by 2018. As more states adopt the modern view towards cannabis and as pressure mounts for legalization at the federal level the opportunity to develop scalable businesses is greater than it has ever been.
The burgeoning industry has become so popular that marijuana-based startups are popping up around the country and niche sources of financing are being developed to support them. The boom has been noticed by respected publications such as Inc. and Entrepreneur which have created ‘Top 10’ lists and similar categorizations to track some of these young companies. This steady influx of intrigued entrepreneurs has even earned itself a catchy nickname: “The Green Rush.”
The business of marijuana may seem like fun and operators may think they can go about it as they would any other business however that if often not usually the case. This is why one attorney has taken the initiative to teach the young, eager entrepreneurs of today about laws relating to this sector. Attorney Marc Ross teaches a Business and Law of Marijuana class at Hofstra University Law School in Hempstead, Long Island.
According to a report from FOX 5 News, Ross started the class in order to teach the students the “legalities and issues attorneys face.” Ross also teaches the class because he sees the possibilities that this new industry offers.
“It is a burgeoning multi-billion dollar industry and these students don’t see that many possibilities in their lifetime where you have a multi-billion dollar industry,” said Ross. Essentially, he would like these students to be able to capitalize on the emergence of a new market.
What’s another sign that this industry has arrived? The desire for data analytics. People are not simply opening ‘mom and pop’ shops to sell a bundle of bush grown in secret in their backyard. The industry has a plethora of brands and products and a few firms have been started to help market participants to develop and leverage market intelligence. One of our clients at The Opes Group has founded one of the leading firms that provides point of sale data of what, where, when, how much and at what prices products are being sold in various states. One can almost think of their service as Bloomberg for Cannabis.
How have subscribers used this service? A certain company was doing very well in one state and decided to launch operations in California. Just as they were about to launch the CEO subscribed to our client’s service and learned that the product he was about to launch in California, which was thriving in his home state, was not in high demand in California. He continued with his plan to launch operations in California, but with a different product mix. His launch was successful. Please feel free to contact any of us at The Opes Group if you would like to learn more about this emerging market.
Check out this Washington Post article that provide statistical evidence that marijuana is becoming “mainstream.”