Now that marijuana has been legalized in two more states in 2014 – Maryland and Minnesota – there are now 22 states where varying amounts of the drug are now legal. Entrepreneurs and investors are going extra green. Many believe a boom is about to take place and that the industry is about to explode. Indeed, an Englishman of my acquaintance who is rather a big shot at Goldman-Sachs Observers believes the industry will grow rapidly, outdoing the Dot.Com boom of the 1990s. Indeed, the beneficiaries of the Dot.Com boom who didn’t crash and burn in 2008 and the usual Russian fat cats, along with the sons and daughters of the Chinese Communist Party are all over Humboldt County, Hawaii, Seattle, Portland, Chicago and Montreal, carrying sacks full of U.S. currency, looking for reefertechies.
The first major American city to engage in the brand-new marijuana stakes is Denver, Colorado. First there’s the 3D Cannabis Center where you can pick your favorite flavored pot for every taste – mints, gummy bears, sour fruits, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and even blend experiments like truffles and pralines, cookies & cream or tangerine-chocolate. And all of it is between 40 to 80 milligrams strong in THC content. THC is the abbreviation of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive agent in cannabis. This reefer is about twenty to thirty times stronger than anything available at the turn of the millennium. It is indeed like smoking dynamite.
Types of pot? There’s earthy-smelling ‘Silverback Gorilla.’ A blend called ‘Sky.’ An old associate of mine, based in Berlin, Gerhard Goldman, who is what he likes to call a ‘Dream Vacation Broker’—who arranges, amongst other things, designer sex vacations in Thailand, and porn film participation in Berlin and Munich—thinks that Denver will soon be the new Amsterdam on steroids. With marijuana having already been approved for medicinal purposes in more than 20 states, people with minor complaints like depression and chronic headaches are having no trouble getting prescriptions from physicians.
Marijuana entrepreneurs, a/k/a reefertechies like 3D’s 42-year-old founder, Toni Fox, are going gangbusters. Business is so good, yet supplies limited enough that sometimes she has been forced to only do business at weekends, according to Der Spiegel. Meanwhile, there are ads popping up on Craig’s List and in the classified sections of alternative newspapers all over the U.S. seeking ‘experienced horticulturalists.’ New marijuana cultivators are opening up indoor and outdoor-based businesses all over the state to cater to enormous consumer demand, to the point where the state’s Fair Housing agency and the Better Business Bureau are receiving a battery of complaints where landlords are suddenly charging four to five times the going rate for large buildings where pot can be cultivated and stored.
The plant DNA business is also undergoing a boom as the aforementioned horticulturalists—especially part-time college faculty members, a la Walter White—are investing in deep-sequencing DNA work with businesses like Qiagen, MPI and Pilos genetic laboratories. Elsewhere, also in places where marijuana has yet to be legalized, food plants are popping up in the middle of nowhere as companies prepare to cater to what is only thus far a projected market as Tech start-ups are offering apps for consumers and technicians are developing diverse vaporizers— essentially e-cigarettes for marijuana that can be purchased as single-use devices—all of which will be good to go when the time comes.
With so much unwashed cash around, even legitimate financial investors smell massive earning potential and want to raise money to enter the giant market early. Analysts told Crain’s Chicago Business that there is a potential market for cannabis that could reach $110 billion, which is four times the revenue generated each year by the cigarette industry. Comparatives are easy to draw with the end of prohibition in the 1930s, which saw massive growth in the alcohol industry. Everyone with cash, it seems, wants to get into the game.