America’s marijuana industry has bloomed in recent years with voters in more and more states voting to legalize pot in some form as public opinion on the drug seems to evolve with each generation.
Colorado, the first state to open up legal recreational pot sales in 2014, reported nearly $1 billion in total marijuana sales last year. And, with a handful of additional states (including California’s huge market) expected to vote on legalization initiatives this fall, the industry’s overall growth could be due to explode. Some estimates suggest the total size of the U.S. marijuana industry could easily top $20 billion within a few years.
Because of projections like that, people have flocked to the industry in recent years in the hope of tapping into that vast potential as part of the ongoing “Green Rush” for marijuana money. As long as the drug remains federally illegal, keeping most major national and international brands from getting involved, the industry is full of potential for entrepreneurs and investors looking to control as large a share of the market as possible before larger forces move in on their turf.
Already, the burgeoning industry has produced a number of notably savvy businesspeople who could be the future of cannabis in America. Of course, influence of this young industry isn’t just measured dollars and cents. Some leaders from the world of politics, science, media and other fields are having a big impact on this young industry.
With that in mind (and, in honor of 4/20), here is a (by no means comprehensive) list of some of the most influential people in the marijuana industry today: