Hey all. As we get closer and closer to legalization of recreational pot in Illinois, there’s lots to discuss. Let’s see… Laws, regulation, entertainment, food, drink, jobs… and startups. Are you entrepreneurial? Have you always dreamed of owning your own business? Well, nothing about it is easy or an overnight success. However, if the idea of being your own boss interests you, read on. Legal pot is going to bring billions to the Illinois economy next year. A lot of that is going to come from small business. So, do you have a passion for striking out on your own? Want to launch a cool cannabis startup in Illinois? Well, when we legalize it in 2020, try one of these:
So wait, don’t I need venture capital or some kind of investment?
Well, no, not necessarily. Many of the below ideas you can start up on your own, as a small business. Scale from there, and see where you can go once you prove your business model.
1. Offer cannabis infused classes
Offer classes in which participants get to smoke throughout the activity. Case in point: You’ve heard of wine and painting classes, right? Where you get literally sip and paint at the same time, either on your own or at a party? Well this is basically the same thing. Check out the example of Puff Pass & Paint. Started in Colorado, they offer cannabis friendly art classes. They’ve grown so successful that they have branched out to California, Washington D.C., Portland OR, Las Vegas, Brooklyn, Boston, and Phoenix. Not bad, huh? Classes are offered in 2 hour sessions, in which participants get to smoke AND get art instruction. So, folks who take this class get to create “mind-altered masterpieces,” or basically go off on their own…
Either way, it’s a good time, and going gangbusters, so consider launching something like this if teaching interests you. Whether it be painting, playing music, cooking… the possibilities are endless.
2. Try child resistant packaging
Childproof packaging has long been a major foundation of the consumer packaged goods industry. And like so many other things, packaging is being turned on its head with the legalization of recreational pot. It comes with its own unique set of challenges. Take the Medical Marijuana Code in Colorado, for example. It requires that products be enclosed in packaging that kids can’t open easily or quickly. At the same time, packaging has got to be easy enough for seniors and disabled people to open.
There’s a ton of opportunity for creative packaging as well, such as the packaging offered from vendors like marijuanapackaging.com, for example. With edibles, topicals, and concentrates on the market, designers need to think to be able to mix compliance with creativity. Other designers focus on packaging that eliminates the smell of pot, or child resistant bags. So if this is an area in which you already have some experience, you might want to get into the marijuana side.
3. Offer marijuana delivery services, an uber for weed
How about delivering marijuana? When we legalize it here in Illinois in 2020, demand is going to go through the roof. Hey, if you can get your pizza delivered, why not pot? And as you probably know by now, Eaze figured this out years ago when legalization first came on the scene. Eaze’s claim to fame is on-demand delivery in Oregon and California. They also ship CBD products in a number of other states.
Does starting an on-demand service interest you? Think you can compete with Eaze? Then go for it. The possibilities are out there… You can specialize in a certain type of user, or product, or geographic area. A good way to break in could also be through partnering with another weed business. Again, if you like uber-for-x type services, it’s worth checking out.
4. Open a cannabis friendly hotel, like a bud and breakfast
So this is a thing, and people who have gotten into this space have done very well with it. Check out the example of The Adagio, in Denver. It’s close to downtown, and prides itself on awesome meals. In addition, they hold what they call “4 20” happy hours, complete with wines. This bud and breakfast also has six guest rooms, wi-fi, and private bathrooms. All in a spacious Victorian home. If hospitality is your thing, check out this space. It might be for you.
5. Try flowers on flowers
Did you know that this is a quickly growing part of the wedding industry? It’s true, flowers on flowers, so to speak, is rapidly becoming a thing. Mixing weed with traditional flowers is a dream come true for many enthusiasts, as it’s become quite profitable. Consider the demand in states such as Washington or Colorado, where recreational pot has been the norm for quite some time. Irie Weddings & Events is one such florist that has cornered this market. If flowers is your thing, do a deeper dive.
6. Offer weed tours and events
Cannabis tourism has become hugely popular in places like Colorado. Tourists gain insight into the industry, and get a behind the scenes look at how things operate. Tours include everything from glassblowing demos, recreational dispensary visits, and visits to grow operations. Tour operators like Colorado Cannabis Tours have done exceptionally well in this space, and are worth checking out. Do you like meeting new people and checking out new and different places? Then look into this further.
So as you can see, there are lots of cool options for Illinois weed lovers who are also entrepreneurs. As the market matures, we’ll see trends emerging that no one knew were coming. Who could’ve thought that gourmet coffee would be a thing? Bottled water? You never know which way the market is going to turn and what the next hot thing is. But that said, it would be wise to see what’s already working in some of our sister states, and see how we can apply those ideas here in Illinois.
So expect to see lots of new ideas. Cannabis business incubators. Dinners with marijuana pairings, similar to that of wine dinners or beer dinners. Physical therapists specializing in CBD treatments. When we legalize recreational cannabis here in Illinois, it’s going to be quite the disruptor. Our economy will never be the same. Entrepreneurs, you might want to get in on it!