Monday June 22, 2015
The cannabis industry is taking the country by storm. In its first year alone, the legal marijuana industry grew by almost 75% according to The ArcView Group, and is expected to continue to grow as more and more states push for marijuana reform.
Although the numbers tend to fluxuate depending on who you talk to, within the next five years the industry could be worth multiple billions annually. Naturally, this new market has created ample opportunity for residents of marijuana-friendly states, but they're not the only ones who can profit from pot.
Here are three (legal) ways to earn an income in the business:
Get a job in the marijuana industry
The easiest way to get a job in the marijuana industry is to have a valuable skill set. This could include accounting, technology, design, marketing, sales; basically anything that any other business might need but with a marijuana spin. Ancillary positions are also in high demand as the strict regulation of the marijuana market has created multiple new positions.
If you want to work directly with marijuana in Colorado, you'll have to get a Support Badge. The application currently costs $150 which is good for a year, and basically certifies that you're at least 21 and not a felon or a cop. To work in a managerial position (to be allowed to touch the product without anyone else supervising you), you'll need a Key Badge which costs about twice as much and involves a more extensive application.
Though there are many high-level positions available that work with the product, there are a lot entry-level positions available, too, including budtenders, trimmers, growers and manufacturers.
To learn more about the kind of jobs available (and to start placing your resume), check out some cannabis-related career sites like Hemp Temps, THC Jobs and 420 Careers to see what you can find. There are also multiple cannabis-friendly events in the area to help you network with the right people prior to even setting your foot in the door.
Become an affiliate marketer
Even if you don't live in a weed-friendly state, you can still make a profit off of the industry by becoming an affiliate marketer, or simply offering to promote someone else's product in exchange for something else. Typically, the pay-off is a percentage of the proceeds, but could be discounts or other offers instead, so be sure to read the fine print.
To become an affiliate, you'll need a website (preferably one catering to a specific niche like marijuana) where you can post blogs, videos and -- most importantly -- reviews of the products you will be selling. There are numerous free blogging sites to get you started including Blogger, Weebly and Wordpress, each of which should have just about everything you need to start writing, sharing, and making money online.
To find brands to promote, search for companies that have an affiliate marketing program and apply with your name, site address and brief description. Once approved, you'll have access to links and statistics that you can use to track purchases and other important information.
With your blog up and running, you'll be able to add banner ads and videos to increase revenue on a cost per click basis, too. Though traditional advertising networks like Google Adsense and Yahoo! Bing Network have restrictions on cannabis sites, a brand-new start-up company called Adistry is wide open and offers the same benefits as other advertising networks, but with a marijuana twist.
Finally, you'll need to promote your blog through social media sites, emails and forum discussions. Though you can do this from your personal accounts, you might be better off using a business profile, especially if you plan on appealing to a large audience and want to maintain your privacy.
Invest in the stock market
If you've got a little money that you'd like to try to turn into more money, marijuana stocks may be the way to go. Though there are more financial risks involved given that the federal government could technically still pull the plug on the industry, the payoff could potentially be huge -- if you do your research first.
The thing is, there are a lot of people interested in throwing money down into the ring in hopes of striking it big, and there are a lot of scam artists that know this. In an attempt to snag investor money, these people will create "companies" with flashy names and big promises to tempt novice investors into buying. Once share prices peak, these cons will sell for a huge profit leaving unsuspecting investors with worthless stocks.
There are a few companies that make marijuana trades easier, though, including MarijuanaStocks.com where you'll find an extensive list of cannabis-related stocks including stock history, news and insights into the market. You'll also get up-to-date information about stock positions and opportunities to submit publications for payment.
You can also use this portal to visit company websites which is an important step in determining if they are worth your investment in the first place. To increase the odds of your stocks thriving, be sure to research the background of the companies you plan on investing in first, including their history, mission statements and company values. If you like them based on these principles (and, of course, believe they offer a quality product), then others will, too.
Also be sure to check each company's EDGAR report for information about financial history, investor history and more. Known as the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Recovery system, this federally-operated data collection system provides a transparent view of most stocks available through the national trade market. Some smaller companies are not required to file their information due to financial restrictions, but most companies should have an EDGAR report.
The marijuana industry is just starting to bloom and there are plenty of opportunities to grow right along with it. If you'd like to make a profit off of pot, then now is the time to do it. Join in the "Green Rush" and claim your piece of American History.
What does the future of marijuana have in store for you? We’d love to hear about it.
Photo Credit: Brennan Linsley, AP