This is a multi-part series. Check out: “The Economics of Marijuana Reform”
Since 1996, when California approved the sale of medical marijuana, the state has opened at least 2100 medical marijuana dispensaries. Today, medical marijuana sales in California are estimated at $700 million to $2 billion per year. In 2004, Oakland, CA became the first city to license medical cannabis outlets; those four licensed dispensaries reported $26 million in revenue.
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) estimates that California alone consumes nearly $6 billion of marijuana annually.
Here are just a few of the tax-paying businesses that could crop up if medical marijuana was decriminalized in your state:
- Medical marijuana dispensaries & pot clubs (these places pay rent and hire employees)
- Marijuana food product businesses
- Marijuana themed publications
- Grow stores (stores that sell hi-tech growing equipment)
- Clinics which specialize in medical marijuana recommendations
With the ongoing recession and double digit unemployment numbers, the potential for new jobs and more money shouldn’t be overlooked. Cities and states that are having a hard time can look toward decriminalization as a way to raise money. Take Detroit, while the city is suffering, its new medical marijuana business is flourishing. Med Grow Cannabis College recently opened; entrepreneurs hope that the pot school promotes related industries and economic development. That’s not a pipe dream—there are many opportunities for spin-off businesses in this growth industry.
Here are some jobs you can get or businesses you can start in the growing hempire:
- Dispensaries – jobs at Medical Marijuana dispensaries are out there, everything from “bud tenders” to coffee shop waitresses, most require applicants to carry medical marijuana cards
- Growers – find out how many plants you are legally allowed to grow for the county where you currently reside
- Equipment – stores that sell hydroponics, lights, organic soil and more could definitely profit
- Doctors – some doctors charge up to $200 per consultation for medical marijuana prescriptions
- Legal – lawyers, paralegals
- Lobbyists and political consultants – these groups are popping up all over D.C.
- Delivery services – private delivery to sick patients, if legalized these could become like pizza delivery places
- Advertising – anything sold can be advertised
- Media – books on how to grow are thriving; there are a number of magazines that focus on marijuana, including High Times, Cannibas Culture Magazine, 420 Magazine, Hempire Magazine, and Humboldt Grow Magazine
- Pharmacology – standardizing the safety and strength of pot consumed in every day products
- Laboratories – become a pot tester; for example: Full Spectrum Labs offer Medical Cannabis Certificates ensuring the quality of the marijuana
- Packaging & design – designing special packages for marijuana products
- Tourism – hotels, coffee shop tours, merchandise, conventions, and more. There is already a thriving THC Expo
- Websites – weedmaps.com helps patients find dispensaries all over the country
- iPhone Apps – put the word “pot” into your iPhone app, there’s a free pot locator app, a “legalize it” app and more
- Education – pot universities are sprouting up, with seminars costing $50 and upwards a pop
- Coffee shops – California could become the new Amsterdam, with pot shops becoming tourist magnets
- Paraphernalia – glass pipes, bongs, and other products for ingesting pot
- Industrial hemp – industrial hemp could rival the $3.4 billion per year cotton industry
- Cooking – brownies, chocolate, olive oil, and anything else you can think of to put pot into
Cara Bruce is the author of six books. She’s published articles in the San Francisco Bay Guaridan, Playgirl, While You Were Sleeping and more. She’s currently co-editing a series of anthologies. For more information visit www.carabruce.com.