One of our favorite unofficial holidays, 4/20, is a day of celebration, an opportunity to eat, toke, cop, and watch any and everything around our favorite medicinal herb. If you are looking for edible recipes, on the hunt for new gear, or are simply trying to find the best stoner movies, be sure to check out our Highsnobiety Stoner's Guide.

It’s crazy to think just how far the cannabis industry has come in a few short years. Just over a decade ago, the concept of legal recreational and even medical weed was still taboo; a pipe dream reserved for burnt out hippies and Cypress Hill fans.

But here we are, in 2024, and as the luxury weed market is now booming, even a state like Germany, has now officially legalized weed consumption. As of today, In the US cannabis is legal in 38 of 50 states for medical use and 24 states for recreational use, and more are on the way.

We see states like Colorado, where recreational cannabis is not only legalized, but regulated and taxed, making out like total bandits. The adult-use market in the US alone is forecast to grow further and reach over 37 billion dollars in value by 2026, and almost 57 billion by 2028.

More importantly, astute entrepreneurs and businessmen and women all over the world are taking advantage of what is essentially a relatively new and unexplored frontier. Edibles, clothing, dispensaries, grow-ops, restaurants and lifestyle brands are popping up like wildfire, which means it’s becoming more and more difficult to not see the appeal of the cannabis industry.

But how are they doing it? How easy is it to start an actual cannabis company? What kind of legal loopholes or potential caveats are there?

Pick Your Angle Wisely

The most important aspect of starting your own cannabis-related business is actually the most important aspect of starting any kind of business: picking the angle you’re most happy with.

Luckily, there’re a lot of industries and products that fall under the cannabis umbrella. Are you interested in the lifestyle aspect of it? Do you like clothing? Do you really care about the science behind creating the perfect strain? Do you have a green thumb? Are you fascinated by consumption apparatuses (bongs, papers, vapes, etc.)? Do you really like the way weed smells? Do you want to simply reach the perfect high?

The possibilities are endless, because you can literally think of all the normal, everyday stuff you like, and then, like in one of the best movies about weed, you can do like the enhancement smoker Jon Stewart in Half Baked, add “with weed” to it. Bed and breakfasts are great. But have you ever tried a cannabis-friendly bed and breakfast? We love Uber eats, but could you imagine a delivery app for weed? Yoga, too. You know what makes yoga better? Weed. Scented candles? Cool. But scented weed candles? Fuck yeah.

The point is, the first step toward planting some roots in the cannabis industry is finding fertile soil. Take what you love most about weed and decide whether or not you think it’s a viable industry. If it is, roll with it. If it isn’t, move on and keep plugging away until something worthwhile pops out.

Figure out the Footwork

When you find an idea you think works, it’s not as simple as nailing it down and running straight to the bank with it — especially not in an industry as volatile and unpredictable as cannabis. The unfortunate truth is that there are a lot of financial and even legal hoops to jump through.

But before you go through any of that struggle, try to have a look around. Find your competitors, explore their businesses and analyze what strategies are working for them. Put time and effort into learning what it takes to delve into that particular side of the industry. Remember: starting your own headshop is a drastically different experience from starting a dispensary, which is a drastically different experience than starting a design firm that specializes in equipping grow-ops, and so on and so forth.

There are several layers of things to consider: how much competition is there currently in that industry? What are your startup costs going to look like? How can you go about acquiring funding? What kind of legal loopholes—if any—are there?

Get a Good Lawyer

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Every business should have some kind of legal representation on retainer, but that goes doubly for anyone trying their hand in the cannabis industry. Even in countries where cannabis is legal, there are usually difficult and nuanced laws, regulations, and statutes on the books that make things as difficult as possible.

There are taxes and fees, licensing arrangements and more permits than you can shake a stick at. And then you have to do all the other stuff a normal business would, like investigating trademarks and copyrights, setting up tax paperwork, registering as a business entity, and all the other fun stuff no one ever really tells you about before you start laying the ground work.

Let’s also not forget that weed is still illegal on the federal level in the US, and even in other countries that are seemingly in favor of it, like The Netherlands and now Germany, there are still many grey legal aspects to navigate. If you intend on offering any kind of e-commerce store or doing any online advertising, there are states that actively prohibit your business from advertising or doing business within their borders, for example.

The cannabis industry, although more widely accepted than ever before, is still full of potential pitfalls for investors. Even if you think you have all your bases covered, retaining the services of a legal professional is an absolute necessity.

Compile the Data Into a Business Plan

The biggest pain in the ass about starting a new business is putting together a business strategy. It’s not necessary 100 percent of the time, but if you’re going to be looking for investor money (see up top about “acquiring funding”) then it’s most definitely something you’re going to have to throw together.

Plus, it’s more important to have a solid business plan in the cannabis industry because there are just so many potential ways to slip up or accidentally forget something.

What is a business plan? Well, it’s basically a single document that has the gist of everything you want your business to be. More than a detailed summary, you should also talk about your market strategy, analyze your competition, talk about finance goals and issues, and even design a rudimentary development plan (like, how will you develop your business, and how do you intend on scaling and growing it into something larger and more profitable).

Resources and Networking

Because the cannabis industry is still relatively new, some of your best friends in the industry will probably wind up being your competitors at some point or another. That’s more good than bad because if you do it right, you’ll be able to put together a very healthy circle of support and advice. So much of this industry is uniquely grassroots, which also means that it’s highly community oriented (for the time being, at least).

Reach out to industry leaders (not your local weed dealer) to see if they’re open to talking with you about your idea and plan of action. The best way to get the lay of the land is by talking to people who presently inhabit it.

And if that doesn’t work, there are a ton of other resources out there:

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)

This group is excellent and has chapters all over the country dedicated to helping people like you know the laws in your area and also get in touch with all the people you need to talk to.

Vicente Sederberg

Credited with being the country’s first marijuana law firm. If you’re looking for legal representation, these guys should be your first phone call.

Cannabis Capital LLC

An investment firm dedicated to connecting people with potentially great ideas to investors.

Halley Venture Partners

A venture capitalist firm that invests strictly in the legal cannabis market. Not only will you get funding here if you’re on some next-level shit, but you’ll also get all the proper nurturing and advice along the way. They’re a good play to keep in your back pocket.


They market themselves as a resources for cannabis professionals, but if you’re interested in keeping up to date with the business side of the cannabis industry, this website is invaluable. Not only do they have an expansive business directly, but they also post timely and important industry-related news and articles from around the country.

Senseii Ventures

Senseii Ventures is an accelerator and a venture capital investment firm that focuses on digital disrupting ideas and projects. It provides strategic assistance, industrial capital, and capital funding to startups. The firm was established in 2016 and is headquartered in Paris, France.

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