California, the nation's most populous state, legalized recreational marijuana on Tuesday, creating a semi-legal market potentially worth billions of dollars.
Such a massive, undeveloped market is like chum for investors, some of whom have already positioned themselves to take advantage of the new marketplace.
"I think in California there are going to be more opportunities than anywhere else in the world," said Adam Bierman, CEO of MedMen, a cannabis management and investment firm based in Los Angeles.
Bierman's company runs dispensaries in West Hollywood and Sun Valley, and they've invested in the development of marijuana grow operations in Desert Hot Springs and in Nevada.
Bierman said that the implications of legalization for his company and for the entire industry are tremendous. Prior to legalization, investors were wary of putting their money into marijuana-focused funds and projects.
"I think that fear subsided to the extent that now you will see massive capital entering the space," he said.
Bierman said that he's focused on bigger-scale investments, including properties and large-scale grow operations, in marijuana-friendly markets within the state.
"Whether you're mom-and-pop and you're trying to open a small store and start a small grow, or whether you're ... investing in 10- and 15-million-dollar projects, I think California will have some room for everybody," Bierman said. "We're talking about a market that's newly been created that we project to be worth over $8 billion a year."
New Frontier & ArcView Market Research, a pro-marijuana research and investment firm, estimates that California's recreational market could total $1.3 billion in 2018 — the year California will likely start to see legal shops open up. By 2020, they estimate that it could be worth nearly $4 billion.
Those looking to start legal, recreational businesses of their own will likely have to wait until 2018, which is when California's licensing system is likely to be finished. Each business is going to require its own set of licenses that will need to be approved by localities, as well as by the state.
But dispensaries and grow operations aren't the only money-making opportunities. Entrepreneurs are also developing products to bring to market, including items like THC-infused soda.
To hear the entire conversation, click on the audio at the top of this post.