Monday, June 3, 2013

Why would-be marijuana moguls have their work cut out for them


When you think economic opportunity, do you think of a heavily regulated, highly-competitive consumer goods sector where prices are set to drop? No? Maybe we should dial back the excitement around the potential of the US marijuana industry.

With the legalization of recreational marijuana in the American states of Colorado and Washington last year, along with growing support for legalization among the public and in 18 states, there’s a sense that it may be time for businesses and investors to enter a market dominated by criminal and semi-legal operations. (Not for the first time, however: recreational drug sales were common in the 19th and early 20th century).

The potential for a legal marijuana market has manifested itself in dot-com comparisons: A Microsoft employee turned pot entrepreneur is “the Bill Gates of Weed,” while a Colorado businessman mused aloud, ”do I want to be the next Google or Facebook of marijuana?”

These comparisons are premature.
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