A couple of decades ago, marijuana was very, very illegal all across the United States. Strict drug laws meant jail time for even small amounts of the drug, and the idea of legalization seemed laughably distant.
Now, not so much. Marijuana has been widely decriminalized, meaning that many states now treat possession as worthy of nothing more than a speeding ticket-style fine. Other states have recognized the medicinal value of marijuana and have legalized it for medical purposes. And a few more have seen that marijuana is perfectly safe and is a potential source of huge revenues – so they’ve legalized it entirely.
The result is an industry that is growing as fast as the plant that is at the center of it. More and more states are legalizing marijuana, and more and more businessmen and women are starting dispensaries, farms, and companies that make edibles and accessories.
The legal side of legal cannabis
Of course, as a freshly legal drug, marijuana is heavily regulated. In fact, it’s still illegal at the federal level! States that have legalized marijuana have put all sorts of restrictions on it, from where it can be sold and smoked to how many dispensaries can exist in the state or in a given space.
But this, too, has increased the size of the industry. What marijuana has lost in dispensaries it has gained in the legal departments. Cannabis business lawyers now advise customers in California and other states with legal medicinal or recreational marijuana. Businessmen and women carefully track their ventures to stay on the right side of the law.
The professionalization of marijuana
All of this is a far cry from the black markets and street-corner dealers that used to embody the marijuana business. Nowadays, this is a space dominated by smart professionals who know the zeitgeist as well as they know the dollars and cents of good business. Marijuana is becoming a massive industry in key regions. Undergraduate and graduate business programs out west are sending some of their top graduates into the business. Getting a California-based degree like Oakland City’s online business administration degree isn’t just a way to join a suit-and-tie firm in Los Angeles or a tech company in San Francisco – it can mean getting into the marijuana industry, too. And that makes perfect sense! After all, a smart MBA graduate wants to look for opportunities in an industry that is growing fast. And few industries are growing faster than the marijuana business.
And don’t expect that growth to slow down anytime soon. With legal marijuana so successful in its current homes, look for more states to legalize the drug – and more businesses to enter the fray.