The market for weed is growing like, well, a weed.
Marijuana sales worldwide are expected to hit nearly $17 billion in 2019, according to Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics, which track the industry. That growth has been helped by the legalization of cannabis in Canada and a lengthening list of states.
For those who are looking to profit from pot, either through investing or other means, the time is now. Here are four ways to make money from legal marijuana.
The marijuana business is no longer an underground network. Instead, you now find marijuana-related companies listed on major stock exchanges in the U.S and Canada.
That's right: You can roll pot into your portfolio.
Several larger marijuana companies in the U.S. have been attracting venture capital money, and the world's first marijuana exchange-traded fund, or ETF, now includes more than four dozen stocks related to weed.
Not sure how to get into investing? An automated investment service like Wealthsimple makes it easy.
2. Crypto and blockchain
The weed industry is looking past the hysteria and speculation over bitcoin and other digital currencies and is seeing important uses for the underlying blockchain technology.
For marijuana dispensaries that have been shunned by the traditional banking system, blockchain provides an alternative to doing business only in cash.
Budbo, an app for finding pot products at local dispensaries, has wanted to offer a blockchain-powered seed-to-sale system for marijuana companies and even launched its own cryptocurrency through an initial coin offering.
Legal marijuana offers practically endless startup opportunities for those with the drive to innovate.
If pot can be sold legally where you are, you could explore opening a retail store focusing on cannabis oils or edibles, or a paraphernalia shop offering the right tools for getting a recreational high.
Note that state application and licensing fees for a new dispensary operator typically surpass $10,000, and your state also may require you to have hundreds of thousands of dollars in working capital on hand.
How much is pot selling for these day? These guys can help you figure it out.
4. Lucrative jobs in the industry
Weed is a new sector with lots of new jobs. A report from the cannabis website Leafly and Whitney Economics says the U.S. now has 211,000 full-time legal cannabis jobs, including more than 64,000 that were added in 2018.
The positions vary, but you can find something that pays well if you are driven, have the right skills and know how to market yourself.
For example, Canada's national health department had to create quality control analyst positions across the country, with an average starting salary of $72,000 (U.S.).
Jobs available within the private sector easily pay twice as much, in business development and government relations for marijuana-related firms.