Joint Ventures Bring More Green for ‘Ganjapreneurs’

  • Regulated cannabis industry expected to soar to $75 billion by 2030
  • California is a major battleground for black owned dispensaries

Nine states and Washington, D.C. legalized recreational marijuana this year as of Jan. 1. This marks the first time the substance will be legally available to some adults on 4/20. African American ‘Ganjapreneurs’ looking to capitalize on this green influx are riddled with challenges. Just how much money is at stake for these black business owners?

Why This Matters: As the saying goes ‘Cannabis Only Sees Green’, so we just need to clear out the smoke. The regulated cannabis industry had sales of $6 billion in 2016, which is expected to soar to $75 billion by 2030, according to Cowen & Co. Outside of Hollywood veterans like Whoopi Goldberg along with hip hop stars Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg, the everyday black cannabis business owner seeking to become growers or retailers faces a host of hurdles. Many states bar convicted drug felons from the industry, disproportionately hurting minorities because of historically higher conviction rates.

The market opportunity is not just huge for black entrepreneurs but also major corporations. Amid changing legislation, IBISWorld reports that the medical and recreational marijuana retail industry rose 18.4% in 2017 to $8.1 billion, while growers increased 21.4% to $4.6 billion. These figures have captured the attention of HP (HPQ +0.37%) which has hopped on the cannabis bandwagon. The computer maker created a more official way to process all the money dispensaries are collecting, through its Flowhub cash register system. Perhaps, this will come in handy in 2018 with weed retailers projected to grow 40.2% and growers to expand by 43.6%, all of which plays into HP’s strategy.

What’s Next: California is a major battleground for black owned dispensaries. The Los Angeles City Council’s social equity bill says most of the people who receive licenses for retail marijuana dispensaries will have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. This means people of color and underserved communities are given priority to join the field. Stay on the lookout to see if other cities enact these same type of bills.

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