From Wall Street to Weed Street
Snoop Dogg is just one of a number of celebrities and investors that have taken to putting their dollars into marijuana. As more states legalize cannabis for medicinal and recreational use, it’s fast-becoming the ideal industry to invest in. Within the U.S., the marijuana market grew over 70 percent from $1.5 billion to $2.7 billion in just one year – making it the fastest growing industry in America. With such a high amount of venture money pouring into the industry, companies that want to bring together legalized marijuana and technological innovations may be able to garner advancements never before thought of within the industry.
Companies like Canary, Grassp and Eaze are changing the way users get their cannabis by offering customers a way to connect and get their product delivered directly to them from legal marijuana dealers. These digital order and delivery platforms are likely the latest wave of marijuana start-ups to be invested in. As the online marijuana trade rises, ordering a quarter of OG Kush will be as easy as ordering pizza.
Dr. Adam Winstock, a consultant psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist at King’s College London recently told Mirror Online that the “cannabis industry is in its adolescence” and that it would change dramatically.
Peter Thiel’s Founder’s Fund recently pledged to invest $75 million into Privateer Holdings (PH), a Seattle-based private equity firm that invests solely in the marijuana industry. PH recently unveiled plans to create a global cannabis brand in conjunction with the family of famed musician Bob Marley. This brand, called Marley Natural, will offer numerous strains of marijuana that were popular with Marley, as well as cannabis and hemp-infused lotions and lip balms. PH also invests in popular marijuana website Leafly, which is expected to turn a profit in 2015. Thiel is hailed as an investment genius having been an early investor in Facebook, Spotify, AirBnB and space travel company Elon Musk. His investments into the legal cannabis industry have only prompted more like-minded individuals to follow his lead.
Support for the marijuana industry has grown rapidly and as individuals notorious for their cannabis usage and their celebrity bring funding, they also bring more ubiquity to the cause. If legislators continue to act on the benefits of marijuana legalization, more investors would be willing to fund cannabis entrepreneurship.
KC Stark, founder and CEO of MMJ Business Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado is one of many cannabis entrepreneurs unmoved by the prospect of marijuana’s celebrity branding.
“Laws did not change because of celebrities, it changed because average Americans… decided to stand up, speak up and show up to vote” stated Stark in an interview with the International Business Times.
Stark recognizes the need for more investors as the industry continues to grow, especially to help out smaller “mom and pop” companies, although it’s clear that he isn’t exactly thrilled about who is choosing to put their money into pot.
“It’s not a surprise,” stated Stark. “In the last five years, cannabis has gone from ‘weed street’ to Wall Street.”
Is celebrity endorsement of pot and pot business a good idea? Do you think it will lead to more change in legislation?