Entrepreneurs and investors in Washington and Colorado are excited about a market full of opportunities stemming from the legalization of recreational marijuana in those states. In Seattle, on November 5, thirteen companies pitched business ideas to more than sixty investors from the ArcView Investor Network, a firm that connects entrepreneurs with those interested in financially backing legal marijuana business ideas. Some of the local companies that pitched include, Mellow Mood, a Portland-based art glass pipe chain, and Rainier Wholesale, a Seattle-based company looking to build an efficient and carbon-free marijuana production plant.
ArcView held a similar meeting in Denver this past September where investors handed out more than $1.7 million for a social networking app for cannabis users, a leading Colorado cannabis retailer, and a security company for legal cannabis businesses, among other business ideas.
Being the first states to legalize marijuana sales, Washington and Colorado are expected to be a test case for other states considering legalization. Washington has recently adopted rules governing marijuana sales into law, and Colorado could see regulated stores open as soon as January 1, 2014.
ArcView believes that the legal marijuana industry could surpass the smartphone market in terms of growth and recently released a market research report expressing the optimistic view. At least one Seattle-based startup is already seeing a positive change in their cash flow. Leafly, a crowd-sourced review platform for marijuana strains, said that people thought they were crazy when they started, but now they just sit back and wait for the investors to come to them.