The legalization of marijuana has been appearing on ballot initiatives across the country, and not just in marijuana-friendly blue states. North Dakota, Utah, and Oklahoma had marijuana on the ballot as recently as 2018. While some voters see this as a social, medical, or criminal justice issue, many companies are waking up to the potential economic benefits of legal marijuana. Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, has already seen those monetary benefits with a reported $247,368,473 in cannabis tax revenues in 2017 alone. That money has gone toward new school construction, mental health programs, and youth drug prevention.

The economic perks, however, go far beyond impressive tax revenues. According to New Frontier Data, the marijuana industry is expected to create 250,000 new jobs by 2020. The cannabis industry is creating jobs for dispensary owners, farmers, bakers, and security guards. Once a state legalizes recreational marijuana, a number of other industries benefit indirectly as well. Let's take a look at a few of the new business opportunities presented by recreational and medical marijuana.


As more legitimate businesses start selling marijuana, they need high-quality packaging to reflect that legitimacy. Plastic sandwich bags aren't going to cut it anymore. This demand gives graphic designers and packaging producers the opportunity to turn their talents towards secure marijuana packaging.These containers not only need to look as visually appealing as the average product you would see on the store shelf, but they also need to keep out curious little hands. With nearly 35 million American adults telling a Yahoo News survey that they are regular marijuana users, many of those users are bound to have children. To keep the little ones away from the adult fun, many companies are investing in kid-proof marijuana packaging. These child-safe containers keep children from harm while allowing parents to let loose when the kids go to grandma's for the night.


Plant nurseries and product dispensaries may be the two mainstays of the cannabis industry, but someone needs to get the trimmed greenery from one to the other. Recreational marijuana legalization has allowed cannabis transportation vehicles to join the 12 million trucks, rail cars, locomotives, and vessels that move freight over the U.S. transportation network. Even though these vehicles may not be traversing the entire network, as legal marijuana commerce is currently limited to a handful of states, transportation between the cities in a large state like California allows for many opportunities.

Travel & Tourism

In 2014, veteran lawyer Joel Schneider followed what seemed like a crazy pipe dream and opened a marijuana-themed bed and breakfast in Denver. The private home-based getaway, called Bud and Breakfast, welcomes guests aged 21 and over to smoke or vape their own legally-sourced cannabis products while on the premises. They can also enjoy THC-infused edibles in the living room, dining rooms, and patios.


The business has certainly proved to be profitable. Schneider now operates three of these locations in Colorado and earns about a million dollars every year in revenue. With 92% of American employees saying that vacation time is important to them, Schneider advises any budding entrepreneurs to open their own cannabis-friendly bed and breakfasts in tourist areas. Potential guests may not go out of their way to make a bed and breakfast a vacation destination, but if the location makes sense they just may take advantage of this chance to wake and bake while on vacation.


Someone needs to build the growing facilities, dispensaries, and secondary businesses that support the cultivation and sale of marijuana. Who better to do that than those in the existing construction industry? As of 2017, about 8.4 million people were employed in this industry in the United States. A boom in the marijuana industry can also mean a boom for the construction industry as cannabis entrepreneurs require new structures to house their businesses.

Consulting Firms

Startups in any industry often seek the help of consulting firms to help with product design, marketing, branding, and legal compliance. In fact, more than 700,000 consulting firms provide services like these in industries around the world. The cannabis industry is one of the latest to join the ranks of those in need of consulting. Many of the people wanting to break into the industry simply had a passion for cannabis long before it was legal. They need the expertise of business consultants to ensure that their businesses succeed.

If marijuana legalization continues to spread across the country, the ideas for businesses in the cannabis industry will continue to grow. Barring a dramatic change in federal policy, entrepreneurs will continue to profit from this previously taboo product. So until marijuana is fully legalized at the national level, those in states where it is legal are continuing to cultivate their budding concepts in industries of all kinds.

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