Tech investors are always on the lookout for the next big thing and it’s no surprise that many investors are beginning to show significant interest in the medical marijuana market! This interest first opened its doors in 2012 in the medical marijuana states of Colorado and Washington.
It’s all in the numbers; an industry that has grown from $1.5 billion in 2013 to $2.7 billion in 2014 is a number that’s proving irresistible to many, and in tech, many medical marijuana-related startups are now popping up like mushrooms to capitalize on the booming business.
The stigma of medical marijuana puts some large conservative companies off however as MassRoots, a social network for the cannabis community, found out when Apple removed their app from the iTunes store.
Although this is something of a setback, MassRoots remains positive. “Eventually Apple is going to change their policy, ” said Isaac Dietrich CEO of MassRoots. “Then we’ll be the first one in the gate, and hopefully we’ll dominate this niche.” Dietrich has big plans for the social network, which he believes will be a valuable network for both businesses and medical marijuana users, giving them a safe place to talk without fearing their accounts being removed, as has happened on rival social media networks Facebook and LinkedIn.
Indeed, in January 2015 in San Francisco several dozen entrepreneurs pitched their medical marijuana high tech startups to 200-odd investors. One such company was Eaze, an app which offered medical marijuana deliveries to people’s doorstep, in just ten minutes, linking cannabis users with medical marijuana dispensaries effortlessly.
As the medical marijuana industry continues to expand, there will doubtless be more pitches, more startups and more business opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to jump on, fuelled by investment rounds from investors eager to capitalize on an industry that is rapidly expanding.
There remain some questions about legal affairs, particularly at the federal level, but investors are confident that at some point, the federal government will not only revise its classification of the cannabis plant, but also legalize it at the national level.
This buoyant optimism is infectious and as the industry continues to leap forward, there’s also a sense of an industry that’s growing up at the same time: medical marijuana isn’t about the stigma of being a hippie—now it is reinventing itself as a wonder plant that gives sick people relief from their pain.