The legalization of marijuana is estimated to give the Canadian economy a boost of $12.7 – $22.6 BILLION, according to a study from business services firm Deloitte. While you’ll need millions of dollars to become a marijuana producer and you’ll need tens of thousands to open a retail location (See: Cannabis-ness Succeed? The Straight Dope), what’s left for the rest of us? While a lack of funds may have you flushing your marijuana business dreams down the toilet like you are being raided by the police, there are a lot of other great, low-cost opportunities that are still available and could be right for you. Let’s take a look south of the border and see what’s working in certain parts of the United States where marijuana is currently legalized.
Hashing out a Plan
When thinking about what type of business you want to start, consider this: new products and stores will be everywhere! Opportunities for companies to help service and set up those shops are going to be plentiful. There will be work in interior design and construction, including work for companies that can create custom displays and décor to make the business look professional. New products mean companies will need marketing material and sales staff to launch and gain traction in the soon-to-be crowded retail market.
One of the biggest opportunities is going to be in delivery and supply chain management. Booming right now in the U.S. are companies that are delivering products directly to consumers. There’s even an app for that—EAZE, the app that coordinates marijuana prescriptions and delivery, is one of the hottest startups around. The number of companies that have secured a contract to supply for EAZE has expanded rapidly.
For every industry, there are opportunities to assist with the technology required for business operations. Accounting programs, product management services, and other software are all going to be needed and it’s all going to have to be customized towards a Canadian-based marijuana market.
Do you have a passion and aptitude for science? There will be a need for labs to test products to ensure quality and purity and to confirm that labeling laws are met. Lab testing will also be required to make sure that THC (the principal psychoactive chemical compound of cannabis) levels are within the parameters set by the government. There will also be a real demand for labs that can create products like hash, wax, oils, and other derivatives. Once legalization comes into effect, consumers aren’t going to be satisfied with just smoking a joint.
Thinking Outside of the (Hot) Box
We can assume that the strong competition in the industry will lead to the creation of some really creative marijuana businesses. Look for marijuana tourism to take off. Want to smoke and tour Jasper or watch the Northern Lights? “Canna-Bus Tours” is begging to be launched (sorry, smoking in vehicles isn’t going to be allowed). There is even a company in the U.S. that launched Bud and Breakfast, a website similar to Airbnb, which offers instant access to safe and legal cannabis-friendly accommodations worldwide. Also look out for marijuana-based drinks—like teas, juices, and colas—and various foods to be launched sometime in the future (sorry again, edibles won’t be legal when the legislation is first enacted).
With so much uncertainty surrounding marijuana, people are going to need to turn to the experts for advice. While Business Link can provide advice on starting or running your business, you may need to consult with experts on legalities, security, compliance, human resources, and horticulture or other sciences. This will create a whole new industry of consultants and experts. If you have some relevant experience now, it would be a smart idea to start to capitalize on that by establishing yourself as an expert early.
The future of marijuana might be a little hazy now, but let’s be honest, that’s the fun part! I encourage you all to get off your sofa, and reach out and grab that opportunity away from the dude who’s been bogarting it. The party is just starting to pick up and you want to be ready to spark something up and be at the centre of it all.