With almost half the country having passed legislation that legalizes marijuana to one extent or another, the pot economy has bred a new wave of entrepreneurs looking to cash in on America’s newest legal cash crop.
Last year alone, marijuana brought in about $2.7 billion to states that have legalized it, whether medicinally, recreationally or both. The projection for 2015 is $3.5 billion, according to Arcview Group, a cannabis investment fund that tracks industry numbers.
CNBC got an inside look into the new, innovative ways people are trying to profit from pot; with serious businessmen and women shifting their sights from the typical pot lounges and edibles companies to the truly mainstream: real estate, finance, technology, robotics and farming.
Twenty-nine-year-old Nick Kovacevich went from college basketball star to CEO of Kush Bottles, a company he said is solving a major problem for the marijuana industry: Where should people keep their “bud,” especially if they want to keep it away from children?
The emergence of legal cannabis has also led to massive increases in property values. Because of zoning regulations in cities such as Seattle and San Jose, marijuana businesses are legally allowed to be in about only 1 percent of the city’s surface area. With so little supply and such high demand, prices for properties in the areas where marijuana businesses are approved are skyrocketing.
Serial entrepreneur and former Microsoft executive Martin Tobias found a way to profit from marijuana real estate and believes that he and other investors will one day see marijuana-related real estate investment trusts (REITs). (WATCH BELOW)
To answer the questions of how much marijuana one should consume and what it really does to the brain, a father-son team created a company called “Potbotics,” which combines technology, weed, robotics and medicine. (WATCH BELOW)
Sexual health expert Mathew Gerson saw an opening in “pleasure-enhancing products” for women, so he created Foria, which is a marijuana-based sexual lubricant spray.
And consumers are not just going to dispensaries anymore. Marijuana is now coming to them, thanks to on-demand marijuana-delivery companies such as Eaze, “the Uber for pot.”
Marijuana connoisseurs Dane Pieri and Derek Dahmer, who both come from the tech industry, founded Marvina, which they liken to a wine club for cannabis. Medical marijuana patients subscribe to receive different strains of cannabis each month.
And naturally, with all those “canna” businesses springing up, demand for accountants has been on the rise. That inspired CPA Jim Marty to start a firm solely dedicated to servicing marijuana clients.
So where can one find a job in the marijuana industry? There’s a company for job seekers now as well, weedhire.com.