Recreational Marijuana: Silicon Valley Gets in on the Action


Currently, Colorado and Washington state have legalized recreational marijuana, and 21 states and the District of Columbia have legalized it for medicinal use.

As laws for recreational marijuana make their way to the books, people are cashing in on cannabis. Silicon Valley is no exception, according to a recent article by WIRED senior writer Matt Honan.

“The entire tech-industrial complex is getting in on the action: investors, entrepreneurs, biotechnologists, scientists” and more, writes Mat Honan, senior writer at WIRED, in his latest story “High Tech: How Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are rushing to cash in on cannabis.”

From well designed vaporizers invented by former Apple executives to sustainable LED lights to feed marijuana plants, we’re building a new industry with much bank to be had. Tech companies are looking into point-of-sale software for dispensaries and management software for recreational marijuana growers.

Medical innovation is another aspect of the industry and it’s changing the face of medical marijuana, said Honan in an interview with the Daily Ticker. The Stanley Brothers, for example, have come up with a strain of marijuana that’s high is CBD, which is helpful for treating epilepsy patients, and low in THC, the part of marijuana that gets you high. The Stanley Brothers have invented this new strain to treat a form of pediatric epilepsy without all the side effects of harsh medications. It’s marijuana purely for medical reasons. Medical marijuana has formerly been known as a gateway to legalization.

But where does the funding come from when banks still won’t deal in marijuana because it’s illegal under federal law?

“We call that touching the sun,” says Justin Hartfield, an investor with the cannabis-focused Ghost Group, a Newport Beach, California, firm that is raising $25 million in investment capital. “If you’re manufacturing a schedule 1 narcotic—growing it, infusing it with other products—you’re touching the sun.” And you’re liable to get burned.

But, Hartfield said to WIRED, there’s still hundreds of millions of dollars to be made on this burgeoning industry. It was one argument for those that wished to legalize marijuana that’s turned out thus far to be entirely accurate.

According to WIRED:

For the science and technology set, it’s a classic opportunity to disrupt an industry historically run by hippies and gangsters. And the entire tech-industrial complex is getting in on the action: investors, entrepreneurs, biotechnologists, scientists, industrial designers, electrical engineers, data analysts, software developers.

Related on EcoSalon

Hot Pot Farms are Invading Yosemite

Cannabis: The Ecological and Economic Imperative

Alcohol Vs. Marijuana Health Infographic

Image: rafael castillo