5 Ways to Profit From Legal Marijuana

Legal marijuana raked in $700 million for the state of Colorado last year. By 2016, it's expected to flourish into a billion dollar business. That doesn't even begin to scratch the surface, though, since bong and pipes sales and tourist spending at hotels and restaurants are absent from that figure. And as marijuana is legalized in more states and jurisdictions, the opportunity to profit will only grow.

So how can you capitalize on weed?

1. Land Bank Prime Tracts of Farmland

Marijuana doesn't grow on trees. It grows in the ground, and as the legal weed business blossoms, growers will be looking for real estate on which to sow their seeds. Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and the Carolinas are popular states for tobacco growers. If you're in a position to increase your land holdings, you might want to consider investing in farmland in one of these states, since experts say it's likely many weed growers will look to former tobacco farms for their land holdings. California's another good bet. As weed growers look to expand their acreage, the value of land for growing operations is expected to soar.

2. Invest in Marijuana Stocks

In 2014, publically traded marijuana companies experienced double digit gains. That's a good indication that the time is right to invest your green in the weed industry. The ArcView Group, a cannabis industry investment and research firm, predicts a 33% rise in marijuana sales this year — from $2.7 billion in 2014 to $3.5 billion in 2015. The potential for future growth is huge. "Big tobacco, big pharma, even big agriculture companies are starting to kick the tires to see where the opportunities are," said Chris Walsh, managing editor of Marijuana Business Daily. "If full legalization happens, you'll see a surge of companies from other industries get involved."

3. Land a Job in the Cannabis Industry

There are an estimated 7,500 to 10,000 marijuana industry jobs right now in Colorado — it's the fastest growing industry in the state. This rapid growth is generating hundreds of new jobs a year. In addition to weed trimming and store clerk gigs, there are managerial roles, information science opportunities, and event promotion jobs. You can easily peruse the opportunities at 420 Careers. Working in the weed business may be more highbrow than you think.

4. Become a Weed Entrepreneur

Apart from the growing and selling of marijuana, there's endless opportunity to cash in on the weed business as an entrepreneur. Legalization has sprouted a burgeoning marijuana packaging and accessories industry. Demand is high for new and innovative projects. A company named Pottles, for example, makes airtight, smell-proof pot containers. Stink Sack vends child-resistant pot packaging.

The Bureau — a self-funded start-up founded in 2012 with $60,000 and a $500,000 angel investment — sells stylish, design-driven weed packaging with features like embossed glass, treated wood, and secret compartments. Yahoo! Finance reports that the founders expect their company, which launched this year, to be profitable by the end of its first 12 months in business. "I was, and still am, surprised to see that cannabis is sold in plastic baggies, repurposed plastic pop-top containers, and other methods that more closely mirror the days where cannabis was only available on a street corner," The Bureau founder Josh Gordon says.

5. Become a Legalization Lobbyist

Michael Correia is the marijuana industry's first full-time lobbyist. He certainly won't be the last. In 1969, only 12% of the country supported the legalization of marijuana, the Washington Post reports. Last year, that number was 58%. The growing desire for legalization, coupled with the small number of places within the U.S. where the drug is legal, is creating a new niche for folks with the skill to persuade lawmakers to support America's newest industry boon. "It's really a legitimate and respected force now," says Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), one of the leading voices on marijuana legalization in the House.

Have you considered a job in the pot industry? How about an investment?

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