The Green Rush has expanded, reaching from coast to coast and all the way to the North Pole now. Massachusetts and Maine (along with Nevada and California) passed voter-driven ballot initiatives last November, joining Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. The booming recreational and medical marijuana sectors, including the newly expanded Canadian counterparts to American sellers, crested the $6.7 billion mark in 2016, with Colorado accounting for a cool billion of that total.
SIX POINT SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS!!! That is a shit-ton of money, huh? It is, right up until the moment when you continue down your Google search results and realize that the total amount generated by cannabis purchased by both Americans and our poutine-eating, exceedingly polite neighbors to the north is estimated to be somewhere in the region of $53 billion – that’s a 5 and a 3 followed by nine zeroes dollars. That, my friends, is an actual shit-ton of money; and the huge majority of it is bought and sold illegally.
These staggering numbers raise the question of what is next to come for the cannabis industry. The cashola wizards at Forbes compared the growth of the cannabis industry (30 percent during the last calendar year) to the booms experienced by the dot-coms and the cable television and broadband internet industries during the last couple decades.
So, what does this mean for you and me and Joe and JoAnn McBlaze? Twenty-dollar eighths all day, every day? Marlboro joints? Even more delicious edibles? No idea, really, but if you are inclined to put your hard-earned dollars into an investment sector that still carries the stigma of federal prohibition, cannabis might be the place for you.
Think about it for a minute. There exists out there in Moneyworld a business sector that has a solid 50-year track record of exponential growth, currently operates in the billions legally (projected to top $20 billion annually by 2021) with many multiples of that number in the black and gray markets, has expanded to include two-thirds of the country in two decades, and includes production, distribution, service, and various avenues for innovation within its boundaries. I can’t be the only one following this to a certain conclusion. It might be wise to turn an eye toward the north for a gaze into the future; Canada is legalizing more quickly than we are in the States with less interference from their federal government and could be a harbinger of how things proceed in the U.S. over the next decade or so.
Investment in cannabis will be a broad affair – in the Gold Rushes, some people bought gold and others sold picks and pans – with specialty areas within the purviews of production, preparation, distribution, equipment, packaging, advertising, and all the other myriad things that it takes to make multi-billion-dollar industries remain multi-billion-dollar industries.
Some people will get rich investing in cannabis. Some will get very rich. And some will lose their shirts, just like any other industry. This might be something you want to look into.
Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.