Posted: November 16, 2012
Got pot? More on the pitfalls and profits
Colorado is to marijuana as Napa Valley is to wineBy Thomas Frey
Entrepreneurs tend to be very optimistic and many are already working the angles to uncover new business opportunities with the presumption that the Feds will okay it. Once the showdown dust settles, the new legalization era will officially begin.
We already know about the number of businesses launched and jobs created through the 17 states that have legalized medical marijuana. If we assume an exponentially larger industry to emerge from outright legalization, the number of jobs created could easily be over a million.
Ironically, a huge percentage of the new jobs won’t involve the consumption of pot, but will instead involve peripheral industries.
Here is a sampling of some of the new industries this will spawn:
- New Products – With a growing aversion to “smoking,” the style and form of marijuana will need to be shifted into edible and drinkable products. This will include everything from sodas, to candies, to cookies, to inhalers, to lotions, and much more.
- Conventions & Events – Seattle’s Hempfest is already the world’s largest pot gathering with over 250,000 people getting together, smoking dope, and discussing the stoners view of the world ahead. Look for the number of conventions, Meetups, and other kinds of events to expand greatly.
- Associations – Many new associations will come out of the woodwork including retailers associations, growers association, standards associations, etc.
- Testing Laboratories – The alcohol industry is already tightly controlled, but marijuana brings with it a thousand times as many variables as booze. Testing will be the centerpiece of control for this industry.
- Ratings Organizations – We hear a lot of hype about which kind of pot is the best, but this will open the doors for new companies to do a thorough ranking of the industry options.
- Newspapers & Magazines – There is already an underground newspaper and magazine industry for the weed world, but this will grow dramatically.
- News Specials – The first wave of opportunity will develop around news organizations, as this will become a rich vein of news programming.
- Education, Training & How To Guides – Everyone looking to enter the field will be searching for quick ways to bring themselves up to speed. This type of training will become more formalized over the coming years, and some of the coming legislation will likely require it.
- Movies, Documentaries & TV Shows – Look for industry-related new sitcoms, comedies, documentaries, and other ingenious “potlines” to involve an entirely new set of good guys and bad guys.
- Patents – Expect a rush to patent new marijuana devices, gadgets, formulas, processes, and much more.
- Support Groups – There will be many negative issues resulting from legalization and each one will likely create the need for support groups to help people work through them.
- Pharmaceuticals & Alternative Medicines – Suddenly THC will be finding its way into a variety of stress relieving, pain controlling, and sleep enhancing pills. Big Pharma is already licking their lips on this one.
- Farmers Markets – Get it right from the source. Farmers markets will welcome the new weed dealers with open arms.
- Marijuana Tourism – While this seems to be the primary focus of the news media, marijuana tourism will only be a tiny piece of a much larger industry.
- Many More Look for additional opportunities in agriculture, processing plants, transportation, distribution, marketing, advertising, training, certification, regulators, and much more.
As Napa valley is to the wine industry, Colorado and Washington will be to the emerging marijuana industries.
The biggest early-stage opportunities will be to invent the industry itself. Elected officials and policymakers are usually pretty inept at visualizing all the possibilities ahead, so those who can help them think through the possibilities will be in huge demand. The early stage people who shape this industry will also help define the kinds of opportunities that it creates.
We are entering chartered territory and the Obama administration will be heavily scrutinized for virtually every decision they make. In the end, marijuana will become legalized, and this movement will them transform into a movement to reinvent the justice system.
America now imprisons more of its own citizens than any other nation on Earth. The first step will be to release all of the prisoners convicted of marijuana possession. The next step will be far more dramatic, to reform the heart and soul of American-style justice and rein in the system that has grown wildly out of control.
Most people thought the election was about selecting our next President. While that selection will affect people for the next four year, the legalization of marijuana will affect the future of world from here on out.
Thomas Frey is the executive director and senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute and currently Google’s top-rated futurist speaker. At the Institute, he has developed original research studies, enabling him to speak on unusual topics, translating trends into unique opportunities. Tom continually pushes the envelope of understanding, creating fascinating images of the world to come. His talks on futurist topics have captivated people ranging from high level of government officials to executives in Fortune 500 companies including NASA, IBM, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Unilever, GE, Blackmont Capital, Lucent Technologies, First Data, Boeing, Ford Motor Company, Qwest, Allied Signal, Hunter Douglas, Direct TV, Capital One, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, STAMATS, Bell Canada, American Chemical Society, Times of India, Leaders in Dubai, and many more. Before launching the DaVinci Institute, Tom spent 15 years at IBM as an engineer and designer where he received over 270 awards, more than any other IBM engineer.