Legal weed: good for society and great for the economy. In 2017, United States cannabis sales were well over $8 billion. This year, researchers project they’ll be just shy of 12 billion. These staggering figures have translated to mountains of state and federal tax money, as well as a cannabis job boom. The richest people in the cannabis industry illustrate the merit of legal cannabis.
Though legalization is still in the earliest stages, these pioneers have already made fortunes through product design, cultivation and investments. As cannabis expands into new and existing markets, the richest people in the cannabis industry are set to make much more.
Justin Gover, CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals
Though you may not know GW Pharmaceuticals by name, you’ve probably heard of Epidiolex, the first FDA approved drug derived from weed. This approval came after studies confirmed that Epidiolex could treat children and adults with severe epilepsy. The larger the dose of the CBD-derived drug each patient took, the most limited their seizures.
Thought the drug isn’t on the market yet, experts are predicting huge sales. According to EvaluatePharma, Epidiolex will make an estimated $960 million by 2022. This would make it one of the 10 most successful drugs in the world. Following Epidiolex’s FDA approval, they currently have a market cap of 4.11 billion.
Justin Gover has been the CEO since 1999. Since then, the company has gone public on the London and New York Stock Exchanges. This puts Gover at the helm of the most profitable cannabis drug company to date.
Snoop Dogg, Partner at Casa Verde Capital
The man who needs no introduction, Snoop Dogg has reinvested his hip-hop fortune into legal weed. According to Forbes, Snoop is one of the richest people in the cannabis industry with a net worth of around $124 million, and this number keeps going up.
Back in 2015, Snoop Dogg partnered with other investors to start Casa Verda Capital, a cannabis venture capital fund. So far, they’ve made multi-million dollar investments in Vangst, a cannabis employment database, Eaze, a weed delivery app and Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies, a British research company. Additionally, their debut fund reached $45 million in May of this year.
Aside from his venture capital company, the D-O-G-G has a host of other cannabis investments. Leafs by Snoop, his weed line, recently partnered up with Canadian marijuana producer Canopy Growth in an exclusive branding and sales deal. By using his OG reputation—Snoop Dogg invented to term ‘chronic’, after all—and business acumen, Snoop has emerged as a financial and cultural force in legal weed.
Adam Bierman and Andrew Modlin, Co-Founders of MedMen
Whether MedMen as the Starbucks or the Apple of cannabis, one thing is for sure: This luxury cannabis retailer is making a lot of money. To date, MedMen has 18 marijuana licenses and 13 operational stores in California, Nevada and New York.
Last month, MedMen made headlines when they obtained one of Florida’s 13 marijuana licenses. And this means that the California-based company can open 25 dispensaries in one of the most populous states. In addition to their Florida deal, MedMen recently went public in Canada, valued at over $2 billion dollars.
Co-founders Bierman and Modlin are two of the richest people in the cannabis industry. Together, they’re reaping the benefits of having the highest valued publicly traded cannabis company. In a press release, Bierman explained, “Florida is the third most populous state in the country with a medical marijuana market estimated to reach $1 billion in annual sales by 2020.” Consequently, MedMen is poised to make a fortune from the Sunshine’s State’s emerging Mary J market.
As if all this wasn’t proof that MedMen’s co-founders are doing ridiculously well, check out the $4 million West Hollywood home Andrew Modlin just purchased.
Michael “Big Mike” Straumieitis, CEO of Advanced Nutrients
Not only does Big Mike have two million followers on his Dan Bilzerian-esque Instagram—think half-clothed women, mansions and a ridiculous amount of herb—but he’s one of the richest people in weed. Big Mike, started off with illegal grows and had to evade the law for years—a tough thing to do when you’re 6 ft 7.
Today, Big Mike owns and operates Advanced Nutrients, the best selling cannabis nutrients on the market, and High Times’ Best Nutrients of 2017. They did $107 million in sales in 2017 alone, and this number keeps going up with the emerging frontiers of legalization.
Want to be as big as Big Mike? Get a leg up in the Mary Jane business by starring on his new show, The Next Marijuana Millionnaire.
Terry Booth Founders of Aurora Cannabis
When you think of cannabis stocks, Canadian weed producer Aurora cannabis probably comes to mind. Aurora made $5.9 million CAD in 2017, but this number is set to skyrocket following the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Following the acquisition of MedReleaf for $2.5 billion USD, and the $1 billion Cannimed deal earlier this year, Aurora is one of the largest cannabis producers in the world. They also own the largest German weed distributor, Pedanios GmbH, Peloton Pharmaceuticals, a Texas weed producer, and almost 20 percent of Cann Group Limited, the first licensed weed producer in Australia.
The jury is out on whether Aurora’s rapid growth will translate to long-term benefits for its investors. But on the eve of Canadian legalization, Aurora is a giant to be reckoned with. And at the helm is co-founder and CEO Terry Booth. The Financial Post estimates that with fellow co-founder Steve Dobler, he holds majority shares worth $200 million.
Bruce Linton, Co-Founder and CEO of Canopy Growth
Another titan of Canadian cannabis, Bruce Linton founded Canopy Growth in 2014. Since then, Canopy Growth has become the largest marijuana producer in the world, producing 750,000 kg of weed annually. Per Forbes, they’re working towards 5 million square feet of marijuana grow space by the end of 2018.
Financial experts view Canopy Growth’s intense planning for recreational weed favorably. By the end of the year, Canopy Growth is expected to make $79 million CAD, combining recreational and medical sales. This is due to predictions that the price of weed will soar as supply fails to meet demand.
As the founder and CEO of Canada’s largest marijuana producer, Bruce Linton is set to make a massive profit following legalization. The Globe and Mail estimated that he’s currently worth about $75 million CAD in stocks.
Cole Cacciavillani and John Cervini, Co-Founders of Aphria
Cacciavillani and Cervini founded Aphria, the third biggest name in Canadian cannabis in 2014 with 100,000 square feet of marijuana cultivation space. Earlier this year, The Globe and Mail listed Aphria’s market cap as $3 billion. Furthermore, many have praised Aphria for their ability to produce quality weed at a low cost.
The company continues to make big moves prior to Canadian legalization. They recently penned a newsworthy deal with Southern Glazers, the largest liquor and wine distributor in North America. Now, the spirits company has exclusive rights to distribute Aphria’s cannabis across Canada per BNN Bloomberg.
Today, Cacciavillani and Cervini are VP of Growing Operations and Infrastructure & Technology, respectively. Though neither works as CEO, they remain active board members and shareholders.
Steve DeAngelo and Troy Dayton, Co-Founders of ArcView Group
One of the major behind the scenes forces in legal weed, ArcView Group has invested millions in cannabis businesses. This angel investment firm is based out of San Francisco and was founded by Troy Dayton and Steve DeAngelo.
According to their own figures, ArcView has raised $150 million for over 160 marijuana companies through an investment network. ArcView has funded successful companies like Medicine Man, one of Colorado’s best-known dispensaries, Mass Roots, a cannabis strain-focused social media platform, and Eaze.
DeAngelo passion’s for weed predates his investments. Years ago, DeAngelo founded one of America’s first medical marijuana dispensaries, Harborside Health Center in Oakland. According to Fortune Magazine, Harborside made $35 million from medical marijuana annually prior to recreational marijuana legalization.
Today, co-founder Dayton leads ArcView Group as its CEO. In addition to being a preeminent voice in weed investment, Dayton is also on the board of the National Cannabis Industry Association and the Marijuana Policy Project.
Nicholas Kovacevich, CEO of Kush Bottles
Kovacevich is a cannabis entrepreneur and influencer. He’s best known as the founder and CEO of Kush Bottles, a successful cannabis packaging company, that can design and package your line of concentrates, vapes, flower or accessories. In 2015, Kush Bottles was number 774 in Inc.‘s list of 5000 fastest growing companies. Overall, Kush Bottles has sold over 1 billion products.
Kovacevich often shares his take on the cannabis industry on Forbes, through his column. He’s considered an expert on finance, child-resistant packaging and, of course, all things weed.
Cannabis Becomes Big Business
Cannabis it the fastest growing industry in the United States. Though we’re only in the nascent stages of legalization, the richest people in the cannabis industry have already made a fortune giving the people what they want: really good weed. As legalization progresses in North America and abroad, these moguls, who in many cases risked everything on an uncertain industry, stand to benefit even more.