Marijuana Industry Will See Major Changes in 2017
On Election Day, most eyes were focused on the outcome of the presidential race; but, marijuana made several small victories of its own. There are now eight new green states in America—four that legalized recreational marijuana and another four that legalized or expanded medical marijuana programs.
With the addition of California, Massachusetts, Nevada, Maine, Florida, Arkansas, Montana, and North Dakota, close to 60 percent of Americans now live in a state where marijuana is legal in at least one form.
“Support for legal cannabis was one of the few mandates voters in both red and blue states delivered,” said Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Privateer Holdings.
Kennedy has kept a close eye on investor activity since eight new markets emerged on Nov. 8. He said the interest in legal marijuana has increased considerably from investors “who recognize that the end of cannabis prohibition is inevitable.”
The marijuana industry is attractive to investors for one key reason: its unprecedented growth. Despite marijuana’s distinction as a federally illegal substance, the budding legal market is currently worth about $7 billion. Including its illegal sales, the market is worth close to $50 billion overall. As the legalization trend spreads and the black market continues to shrink, investors and entrepreneurs are flocking to the legal marijuana industry.
While the marijuana industry’s growth has been impressive, its federal illegality has created some bumps in the road. Not only is marijuana illegal at the federal level, it is also a Schedule I drug, considered as dangerous as heroin and LSD. For this reason, marijuana and marijuana-related businesses have largely been excluded from the banking system.
Funding complications have not seemed to discourage the growing pool of marijuana entrepreneurs, though. One marijuana business owner, Olivia Mannix of Denver-based Cannabrand, said the “phone has been ringing off the hook” since Election Day. She has plans to quadruple her company’s staff in the coming months.
“I’m not only hiring more employees, but strategic leadership level positions, a strategic advisor for quick growth,” Mannix said.
As businesses like Cannabrand are able to expand due to marijuana’s growing popularity in the US, the industry is becoming increasingly more professionalized. As a result, more experienced professionals and executives are stepping into the industry and offering their expertise.
“The support around the industry is growing,” Adam Bierman, CEO of MedMen, a marijuana investment firm, said. “Accounting firms, legal firms. All the different professional services that because of the position we were in a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, with the stigma around the industry, those people wouldn’t work for us.”
2017 will be quite different for the marijuana industry, Bierman projects. A growing legal market, attention from Wall Street investors, and advancements in funding and technologies, will change the way the market operates, hopefully for the better. For more information regarding marijuana’s industry, [Click Here].