In anticipation for cannabis legalization in California on January 1, big name investors are pouring millions into weed. While the medicinal cannabis market in California has been around for over two decades, the legalization of recreational weed in the state is causing entrepreneurs to flock to startups in the market in the dawning age of the Green Rush. And for the first time, whether it’s for medicinal or non-medicinal use is not a deciding factor for what or who to finance.
Golden Age of the Green Rush
So big name investors are pouring millions into weed, but why now? The answer is simple: Silicon Valley giants know an opportunity when they see one. With a projected$6.5 billion revenue for the industry by 2020, entrepreneurs are looking to make their moves in time for legalization in California comes to pass, and ultimately get in early to make big gains.
And while there’s been money in medicinal marijuana for years—medicinal cannabis use passed in California in1996—recreational weed is a whole other kettle of fish. And it’s not just weed retailers that are getting the good money.
Silicon Valley Giants
As Stat News reported, a number of venture companies have begun to recognize the financial possibilities of getting in relatively early on the green ground floor. Take Benchmark, for instance, a firm that recently invested $8 million in Hound Labs, a Bay Area startup whose focus is to make sure weed consumers aren’t driving under the influence by essentially developing a breathalyzer for cannabis. Considering that Benchmark previously put their money into companies like Twitter, Uber, and Instagram, to say that they have an eye for predicting which companies will be successful in the long term is an understatement.
Likewise, some of the emerging major players leading the charge in cannabis investment, both medicinal and non-medicinal, are bonafide captains of industry. Take PayPal founder Peter Thiel, who notably contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the California ballot initiative to legalize recreational cannabis in 2016. The entrepreneur and venture capitalist also put millions into the Seattle-based Privateer Holdings, a private equity firm that funds research for medicinal cannabis products.
Other Silicon Valley investors are sticking to what they know best: the tech industry. For example, PotBot—an app which pairs users with their ideal strain out of 750 different varieties using DNA analysis and lab research—has garnered millions in funding.
Final Hit: Big Name Investors Are Pouring Millions Into Weed
While investors are recognizing the potentially lucrative gains of putting their money into the cannabis industry, many of them also recognize that their investments lend a legitimacy to it that others pre-legalization are still paying the price for.
With legalization, many of these companies will be able to trade openly on the market. And with investors from companies like Facebook, SpaceX, and others showing interest, the evolution of the cannabis industry in California is only the beginning.