As marijuana prohibition falls in one state after another, cannabis sales are shifting from street corners to storefronts as opportunists line up to cash in on what optimists say is the biggest investment opportunity since the dot-com boom of the turn of the century.
Investors of all varieties are starting to look at marijuana as less of a stoner’s fad and more of a serious business venture. The industry totaled $2.66 billion in U.S. sales in 2014, up 74 percent from $1.53 billion the year before, according to the ArcView Group, a cannabis industry investment network.
Business insiders said they expect the market to expand to many times its present size as more states legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational use.
Already the cannabis trade has not only brought in millions for dispensary owners and cultivators, it’s also created a thriving ancillary market, driven job growth and boosted property values, marijuana advocates claim.
Still, the challenges are many for the kind of high-risk, high-reward investment that cannabis calls for. No industry since post-Prohibition alcohol has come close to having had a harder time getting off the ground, from strict regulation and heavy taxation to a lack of investors and banking services.
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