The 12 Best Cannabis Business Ideas for 2018

Industry British Solomon 5/1/2018
cannabis leaf on us dollars
How will you make your splash in the cannabis industry?

The cannabis industry is bursting with entrepreneurial opportunities.

All across the US, cannabis entrepreneurs are legally growing, harvesting, and infusing products with our favorite plant in record numbers.

With the increasing number of cannabis enthusiasts and cannabis entrepreneurs, more and more business opportunities are sprouting up.

While we still have a long way to go in cannabis education and dismantling harmful stigmas, the tide is steadily turning as cannabis becomes more widely accepted.

If you’re interested in joining this new industry and starting a cannabis-themed business of your own, here is a list of promising cannabis business ideas where you may be able to find your niche.

1. Cannabis production

cannabis harvesting
If you live in the right state, cannabis production could be the way to go.

Cultivating cannabis is one of the most rewarding things that a person can do, and thanks to cannabis reform victories, it can now be done for a legal profit.

Cannabis cultivation for profit includes:

  • Harvesting and selling cannabis flower
  • Selling harvests to processors for concentrates, edibles, and other products
  • Breeding cannabis seeds and selling them to other growers
  • Producing cannabis clones and selling them to dispensaries

Entrepreneurs can decide to start a cannabis farm, where they grow different strains of the cannabis plant.

Be aware that cannabis farming isn’t as easy as it looks.

In addition to possessing basic knowledge of agriculture and horticulture, you’ll want to make sure you adhere to local laws.

With the right guidance, however, you can cultivate a standout crop that people will LOVE.

2. Opening a cannabis dispensary

cannabis dispensary sign
It turns out dispensaries actually benefit neighborhoods.

One of the most obvious cannabis industry ventures that an entrepreneur can pursue is opening a dispensary.

According to a recent Gallup poll, roughly 12% of Americans consume cannabis on a regular basis. In legal states, people can make purchases at licensed retail outlets.

If you’ve ever dreamt of running your own store (but with cannabis), this is the best way to realize your dreams.

To get started check to see if local laws support the sale and distribution of cannabis.

From there research what licensing is required, how to apply for licensing, and find a location that is desirable for your needs.

3. Starting an edible company

Edibles are quickly gaining momentum in the cannabis industry, largely because they are discreet and can be consumed anywhere anytime.

They are also preferred by consumers that wish to avoid smoking cannabis or who just need long-last effects.

According to BDS Analytics, edibles made up 12% of the market share in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon in 2016.

Edibles come in different forms, including:

  • cookies
  • brownies
  • cakes
  • chocolate bars
  • candy
  • peanut butter
  • pies
  • popcorn

Essentially, if you can think of a non-cannabis infused food sold in stores it's likely that you can also make the same product infused with cannabis.

We are also seeing greater demand for healthier edibles. Think gluten-free, sugar-free, and vegan!

4. Making cannabis accessories

cannabis accessories
Pipes and bubblers are just the beginning...

Selling the plant requires one to have special licenses, and if you feel you don’t want to handle the plant in any way, there is another option - selling accessories useful to cannabis enthusiasts.

Cannabis accessories can include:

  • pipes
  • bongs
  • vaporizers
  • grinders
  • trays
  • filters
  • rolling papers

The accessories option lets you steer clear of the potential bureaucratic challenges of cannabis cultivation and distribution.

5. Cannabis PR

This is a challenge that nearly every business faces: how to get national press coverage!

If you have a knack for PR and a solid network of journalists and reporters, you could potentially add a lot of value to many businesses throughout the industry.

With cannabis in particular, many businesses struggle to get coverage beyond the trade publications and really go mainstream.

Another thing about mainstream press in cannabis is this: you can help educate writers and journalists to dismantle a lot of the harmful stigma and misinformation that has been circulating for way too long.

6. Technology developer

New businesses, as well as established ones, are often seeking technical help in creating software programs and developing apps to make their business operations easier.

Cannabis businesses face these same challenges in technology, possibly more so.

With the rise in cannabis-entrepreneurs and online retailing businesses who desire to make their line of work easier, there will be a greater need for software developers moving forward in the cannabis space.

If you are looking to put your coding skills to work in the cannabis industry, trust that the demand is very strong for such skills.

7. Security services

Currently, many banks and financial transaction processors refuse to accept business from the cannabis industry.

Until that changes, the demand for security services in the cannabis industry will be extremely strong.

Even if/when banking rules change and the lingering stigma surrounding the cannabis industry fades, there will still be a need for security services in the cannabis space.

The cannabis industry involves a tremendous amount of cash, and as such, there's a need to protect it from would-be thieves.

Security services that are needed in the cannabis space include:

  • On-site security
  • Armored transport
  • Secured storage of cash and product
  • Video surveillance

8. Cannabis event planner

social gatherings
Organize it, and they will come.

Are you good at creativity and love planning and organizing events?

The cannabis space has experienced exponential growth in the demand and frequency of cannabis events.

Types of cannabis events include:

  • Networking events
  • Trade shows
  • Social gatherings
  • Music and culture festivals
  • Weddings

More and more people are coming out in the open about cannabis use, and this entrepreneurial opportunity is a great way to have fun while also generating profits.

9. A cannabis bed and breakfast inn

Cannabis tourism is a very popular sector of the cannabis space, and demand for cannabis-friendly lodging is increasing with every month that goes by.

Despite cannabis being legal to purchase, possess, and consume in many states, there's still a limited amount of places that people can consume their legal cannabis.

Cannabis bed and breakfast inns help fill that void.

Fortunately, social consumption reform is gaining traction in legal states, but even after such reforms occur there will still be strong demand for cannabis-friendly lodging by cannabis consumers that like the convenience of cannabis bed and breakfast inns.

People want a place where they can consume in peace without repercussions while also relaxing with like-minded souls.

10. Cannabis painting classes

Painting has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety and is also a great way to unwind and develop your innate talent.

Just as people consuming alcohol while participating in a painting class is popular, so too is the same experience becoming popular with cannabis consumption replacing alcohol consumption.

Cannabis painting classes are part of an increasing cannabis entertainment trend that is taking root in legal states.

Other types of similar business models include pottery classes, yoga, cannabis meditation, and video gaming. Virtually any activity can be adapted to include cannabis consumption.

11. Cannabis guided tours

smiling man in cannabis field
Cannabis tourism is your opportunity to really educate out-of-towners!

For the cities and areas blooming with various cannabis commerce, a great opportunity for entrepreneurs is creating a business geared towards guiding visitors to cannabis businesses.

Showing cannabis enthusiasts the different farms, dispensaries, and cannabis activities to participate in around a city can be very fun and profitable.

With the increase of cannabis reform victories and the rise of open cannabis use, many cannabis enthusiasts are looking for guidance on where to spend their disposable incomes dedicated to cannabis.

12. Cannabis consulting services

A lot of people are flooding into the cannabis space, but not all of them are experienced enough to know all of the potential pitfalls and strategies of the emerging cannabis industry.

Navigating the ever-changing cannabis industry landscape is not an easy task, and no one can be a complete expert in every aspect of the cannabis industry.

If you possess a skill set that makes you an expert in one or more areas of the cannabis industry, starting a cannabis consulting service can be a great idea.

The Cannabis Industry Has A Role for Everyone

The cannabis industry is booming, and the number of opportunities for entrepreneurs to carve out their spot in the cannabis space is virtually endless.

With the continued spread of reform and cannabis consumption coming out of the shadows, new innovations and the shifting landscape will continue to yield even more opportunities.

What are you waiting for? Are you ready to take the leap and join the growing number of people pursuing their dreams in the emerging cannabis industry?


British Solomon is a contributing writer and media specialist for Native Roots Dispensary. She regularly produces content for a variety of cannabis and lifestyle blogs.


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