The marijuana industry is proving to be a pot of gold for entrepreneurs in the US.
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Start-up businesses are capitalising on law changes making the medical and recreational use of marijuana legal in the states of Washington and Colorado, while voters in Washington DC will have their chance of joining the revolution in November.
Legalising marijuana has triggered a bonanza of start-up businesses – some legal and some not quite so legal in both states.
The boom is nationwide as companies in other states are cashing in on the boom by supplying hydroponics systems for growing cannabis on an industrial scale.
Other smaller enterprises are exploiting the new market by getting in on the ground floor of a new industry with the potential of multi-million dollar profits.
Start-ups are prospering because bigger corporates are edgy about stepping in. They fear involvement in supplying cannabis will taint their brand in conservative states and because the industry is governed by state laws, nationals have problems with complying with the rules.
Small-scale operations are supplying air-proof bags for selling cannabis, delivery services and even vending machines.
Some of the ventures are working in a legal grey area – selling cannabis other from a licensed store is illegal. Instead they offer a free delivery in return for a donation to their funds.
Police are cracking down on these services, labelling them as chancers trying to turn a quick buck.
But gradually, a new industry is being forged in the flames.
Crowdfunding pot projects
“The problem is everything is created from scratch from a market that was dominated by criminals,” said Craig Ellins, CEO of GrowBlox Sciences, a Las Vegas company manufacturing cannabis-growing equipment.
“Anyone who grew cannabis was a crook in the eyes of the law and many of these people are trying to step up and convert their illegal operations into a proper business.”
However, the green gold rush seems here to stay and investors the chance to take a stake in five marijuana projects on crowdfunding site Kickstarter.
They range from cannabis testers to check the strength of marijuana supplies, an iPhone vaporiser case that lets someone take a toke on the move, a cannabis vending machine maker and a new online social network for cannabis users.
“Some of the projects have the feel of being put together by someone who’s already smoked some weed,” said a spokesman. “Others are more thought-through business opportunities that might have some legs on them for investors willing to take the risk.”
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