Some Silicon Valley venture capitalists are high on the profit potential of pot, reports USA Today. Entrepreneurs of the quasi-legal marijuana trade sat down for two days this week in San Francisco with high tech moguls looking to get in on the ground floor of the booming, multibillion-dollar business of selling marijuana in states where it is permitted. “This is the fastest growing industry in America,” says Troy Dayton, CEO of ArcView Group, an investor network focused on the cannabis business. “Despite all the stigma, people are recognizing this could be the next great American industry.”
With institutional investors and big corporations scared away by continuing federal prohibitions on marijuana, the growing list of states allowing marijuana for medical or recreational use has created opportunity for smaller investors willing to take the risks of investing in a business whose legality is far from settled. “This is a basement industry looking to put on its big-boy pants,” says Tom Bollich, CEO of Surna, a Colorado-based company that provides climate-control hardware and software for marijuana growers and management systems to track the product from seed to sale. The estimated size of the marijuana market nationally is $2.7 billion, almost half of that in California, which passed the first legal medical use law in 1996.