9 Business Ideas for People Looking to Cash in on the Marijuana Boom

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1. Cannabis-friendly bed and breakfast

Startup costs: $30,000 to $40,000
Equipment needed: Private residence to rent or buy, reservations software system, computers, phones, furniture, linens

The idea for a cannabis-friendly bed and breakfast came to Joel Schneider in the bathroom — a hotel bathroom. “I was hiding in there, smoking a joint, blowing the smoke into the toilet and constantly flushing,” he says. “I knew I was far from the only one doing this and I didn’t want to hide anymore, so I started my own lodging business where it’s OK — and legal — to smoke pot on the premises.”

In 2014, the veteran lawyer and New York native made his pipe dream a reality with Bud and Breakfast. It’s a rented private home-based bed and breakfast in Denver. There, guests aged 21 and older can puff or vape cannabis products or nibble on THC-infused edibles from their own legally-sourced stashes, he says, in living and dining rooms and patios.

Bud and Breakfast isn’t Schneider’s first marijuana-focused business. Before diving into the lodging arena, he published his own marijuana-focused newspaper, the now defunct Mile-High Times. He’s confident he’ll have a much longer, stronger run with his latest cannabis venture.

“I believe in what we’re doing,” he says. “We’re helping people come out of hiding and, believe me, they’re ready to.”

2. Cannabis-friendly painting classes

Startup costs: $2,000
Equipment needed: Paint, paint brushes, canvases, easels, marketing materials

Sometimes the best business ideas begin as a joke. Such was the case with Heidi Keyes’s Puff Pass and Paint. Launched in 2014, the Denver-based painting class lets customers, you guessed it, puff and pass a joint, or a bowl or a bong or what have you, while getting in touch with their inner Picasso, one brushstroke at a time.

“My friend joked and said to me, ‘You know those wine and painting places?’ You should do that with cannabis,’” says Keyes, who has a degree in fine arts and has long worked as a professional artist. She mulled the kush concept over, then conducted an informal poll on her Facebook page asking who might be interested in taking a pot-friendly painting class.  The response was overwhelming, she says. “Classes booked up immediately and before I knew it we had a huge waiting list.”

3. Cannabis florist

Startup costs: $1,500
Equipment needed: Flowers, vases, floral wire, tape, foam and other floral design tools and embellishments

Bec Koop never planned to turn her love of bud and blooms into a business. It just sort of happened organically.

Her eco-friendly startup, Buds and Blossoms, was born in 2014 out of what she calls an “aha moment.” The entrepreneurial lightbulb originally went off in 2013, when the Centennial, Colo.-based florist was trimming her personal marijuana plant. “I had some leftover flowers from a floral event, and I thought, ‘If I put roses around some of the cannabis, it could work,’ and it did,” she says. “It was one of those creative stoner moments that actually panned out.”

The result: Buds and Blossoms, a “wedding weed” and special event florist run out of Koop’s home design studio. She specializes in marijuana-enhanced floral arrangements. The pot nugs she artfully tucks in and around delicate sprays of flowers, table centerpieces and “bud-tonnieres” are provided by clients and can be smoked.

4. Cannabis-themed bike tours

Business type: Cannabis-themed bike tours

Startup costs: $20,000

Equipment needed: Rental bikes and helmets, bike locks, bike maintenance tools, office equipment, rain capes

For outdoorsy types who enjoy biking and cannabis-counterculture, leading marijuana-themed bike tours can be a fun, active way to exercise, do what you love and make money doing it. With marijuana legalization and use on the rise throughout the U.S., more and more pot-themed bicycle tours are winding their way through locales where the drug is legal. (Bear in mind, though, that neither medical nor recreational pot is legal at the federal level).

Avid bicyclist Todd Roll launched a cannabis-focused bike tour in Portland, Ore., in October 2015 through his company, Pedal Bike Tours. The $69 three-hour Portland Pot Tour tour is led by a trained guide familiar with the City of Roses and its flowering cannabis culture. The fee includes a rental bike and an ice cream cone at the end of the tour, but no nugs. Though Pedal’s cannabis tours once featured joints for passing around amongst riders, marijuana is no longer provided or consumed during the laidback spins through one of America’s most bike-friendly cities.

5. On-demand medical marijuana delivery service

Startup costs: $400,000 to $600,000
Equipment needed: App development software, office supplies, computers

In the fall of 2012, former Microsoft executive Keith McCarty saw a “once in a lifetime opportunity” coming into view and taking shape, like smoke on the horizon.

On-demand transportation services such as Uber and Lyft were rising in popularity, as was mainstream acceptance of medical marijuana. By July 2014, the Silicon Valley tech startup veteran took the green leap. He launched Eaze, an app-driven medical pot dispensary-to-door service. His goal: to become “the Uber of marijuana delivery.” Since then, the San Francisco-based company, now flush with upwards of an estimated $20 million in venture capital, has chauffeured bud to more than 100,000 card-carrying medical marijuana patients in “roughly 100” California cities.

6. Cannabis industry consulting

Startup costs: $5,000
Equipment needed: Varies depending on your skill set and the services you offer.

Corey Hollister is co-founder and CEO of American Cannabis Company, a Denver-based consulting firm that helps commercial cannabis cultivation startups with everything from design and build-out, branding and marketing, to regulatory compliance and beyond. Formerly a corporate advertising professional, Hollister segued to greener pastures when he felt it was “the right time, the right place.”

7. Cannabis extraction processing lab equipment sales

Startup costs: $165,000
Equipment needed: Order tracking software, warehouse space, shelving, various lab equipment, shipping supplies

Burt Linnetz says he never planned to break into the cannabis business. He just sort of fell into it. The longtime entrepreneur had been humming along with his first business, Pacific Combustion Engineering, a Torrance, Calif.-based laboratory equipment supplier that he has owned for 15 years, when he started receiving interesting calls from prospective clients. They were nothing like the big-name, traditional clients he routinely services, such as NASA, Tesla, SpaceX and several colleges and universities. They were cannabis entrepreneurs specifically in the market for marijuana extraction processing equipment.

8. Marijuana dispensary space designer

Startup costs: $15,000
Equipment needed: Website, client-tracking software, graphic design and CAD software, computers, printers, standard office equipment, portfolio equipment

Megan Stone has long had designs on becoming involved in the cannabis industry. In 2007, she became a medical marijuana patient. In 2010, she started working as a budtender at a Southern California dispensary. Between shifts at the shop, she pursued her dream and went to school for interior design.

9. Cannabis cuisine pairing and catering

Startup costs: $100,000
Equipment needed: Kitchen and dining supplies, website, client management, transportation and booking software

To many, cannabis pairs just as finely with food as wine, and we’re not just talking about munchies grub here. Think about fancier fare, such as tender, slow-roasted duck breast nestled on a crisp bed of aromatic arugula that’s been tossed in fresh-squeezed lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Imagine treating your tummy to such tasty goodness, then easing back into a fat joint rolled with top-shelf Grand Daddy Purple indica strain marijuana.

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