CALIFORNIA: Yes, cannabis can. It has been a landmark time for marijuana, with entrepreneurs rushing into the Wild West of the budding industry. They’re not just growers and sellers, but forward-looking tech experts who have seen pot’s bright digital future and are committed to realizing it.
Who can fault their optimism? In the past year, legal cannabis has become the fastest-growing industry in the country. Sales in 2014 totaled $2.7 billion, up a whopping 74 percent from the previous year, according to The ArcView Group, an Oakland, Calif.-based investor network focused on the substance. Their analysts have boldly predicted fourfold growth to nearly $11 billion in sales in the next five years, as the U.S. sees more states easing up on weed laws.
Despite legalization of various forms in 23 states and the District of Columbia (plus 10 more placing legalization of some kind on the 2016 ballot), pot businesses have struggled to get the word out. Cannabis is still viewed by many as a “vice” industry, and online publishers have, for the most part, stayed away from running advertising from companies operating within the sector; Google, Facebook and Twitter don’t run ads for marijuana businesses, even in fully legal states such as Colorado and Washington.