Pot is changing the (business) landscape in the state of Colorado. Should marijuana entrepreneurs hitch their wagons and head west?Regardless of how you feel about legalizing marijuana, it’s a booming industry in Colorado, where I live. To the tune of  $1 billion in marijuana goods sold last year. Put that in your entrepreneurial pipe and smoke it. For real. Marijuana entrepreneurs are cashing in.

The business itself suffers from a bad image, especially if you’ve never been to Colorado or to an establishment that sells pot. Most people perceive these abodes to be seedy, scary, and dirty. But come to Colorado, and you might view it differently.

More often than not, the shops are immaculate. Many have minimalist touches of decorative wood and display the pot in attractive glass containers.

The employees are usually incredibly helpful and friendly. And the customers?  Well, they look like your next-door neighbor, and they likely are. 

Crop is King

Both local consumption and marijuana tourism have led to mushrooming  businesses that deal in all things mary jane.

Ironically, the owners of these establishments are not all potheads themselves. Many are just in it for the money.

One business offshoot is the “cannabis tour,” such as those run by Colorado Cannabis Tours. Participants have a wide range of activities that they can choose from, and they can leave the driving to the tour operators.

In fact, transportation services keeping people off the road while high is a huge business opportunity for people who either have a commercial driving license or would be interested in getting a driving certification (in addition to any certifications needed to run a pot-related business).

The 411 on Security

The pot industry is actually not that safe for one huge reason – it’s basically a cash-only business. Because pot is a Schedule I drug, and is still illegal federally, all money in these businesses is earned in cash. Businesses experience huge difficulties opening up bank accounts, and because of their money can’t be deposited in banks, there is a ton of cash floating around at any given time.

Naturally, armed security, vaults, and security systems are some of the first things that a smart cannabis entrepreneur will invest in. If you’re a security professional, you will have more than enough work helping these businesses stay secure.

Resume Item: Bud Trimmer

There are some crops that you need to tend to by hand: saffron, vanilla beans, and… pot. People actually trim the buds of the plant so that they are attractive to the customer. Apparently this is a real thing. Maybe it’s time to get your side hustle on!

‘Munchies’ Make a Great Side Hustle

There is a huge demand for edibles, ranging from pastries to meals for enthusiasts who may indulge at the end of their meal.

We’re not talking about your parents’ pot brownies from the ’70s.

There is a skill and knowledge base that pot bakers need to meet regulations and packaging guidelines, even beyond just making delicious food.

A Final Thought

This is just a short-list of businesses opening up in the cannabis industry. While it’s hard to say how much each business is making, my guess is that there is plenty of money to be made, even after paying all those taxes and licensing fees.

While it seems like getting involved in the cannabis industry may sound pretty lucrative, there are some downsides:

  • The industry is vulnerable to political changes.
  • There are high levels of regulation could potentially cut into your long-term earnings.
  • You can’t deposit your cash into a bank account, leaving you and your business vulnerable to theft.

Some of you probably are on the net looking for tickets to Denver, but not so fast. This might look like a new gold rush, but it’s strictly for the local citizens. In order to get a license in Colorado, you have to establish at least two years of residency prior to making your request.