Tag Archives: marijuana business

marijuana business; interesting read.

Admin; this is an encouraging read for the male dominated marijuana business.  It looks like the contributions of these ladies will be inspiring to those women that grow, sell both medically and recreationally.

 Debra Borchardt Contributor

I write about the business of marijuana.

BUSINESS 5/28/2015 @ 12:37PM

The Top Businesswomen In The Cannabis Industry

The non-traditional world of the cannabis industry looks very much like the regular corporate world – all men, but these women are out to change that. If marijuana were legalized for general use nationwide, the industry could grow to $45 billion, second only to the beer industry according to MarijuanaBusiness Daily’s 2015 Factbook. As a result, there has been a boom in start-up companies hoping to get into the industry early and the amount of capital willing to fund these companies has increased by 900%. There are some impressive, influential women that have jumped right into the industry with hopes of establishing a strong foothold and breaking down traditional corporate barriers. They are positive, strong willed women and they run their companies “like a boss.” These are the top business women in the marijuana sector.

Emily Paxhia – A co-founder of Poseidon Asset Management, Emily and her brother Morgan decided to get into the cannabis industry after the tragic loss of both parents to cancer. They saw first hand how medical marijuana could have helped ease their parents illness. When she and her brother found themselves out on the west coast, the former New Yorkers saw that the timing was right to strike out on their own and return to their entrepreneurial roots. Paxhia brought to the table ten plus years of work as a brand consultant and market researcher. Emily’s ability to reach out to investors and her brother’s investing skills were the magic for founding Poseidon Asset Management. Along with their third partner Christopher Otchy, the fund was established in January of 2014. Poseidon is hoping to raise $10-15 million dollars in capital this year.

Emily Paxhia of Poseidon Asset Management presenting at the WomenGrow Leadership Conference on May 17th of this year.

Emily Paxhia of Poseidon Asset Management presenting at the WomenGrow Leadership Conference on May 17th of this year.

Jazmin Hupp – WomenGrow was founded in the summer of 2014 by Jazmin Hupp and Jane West. WomenGrow is a national professional network that connects leaders and entrepreneurs in the marijuana industry. The group cultivates female leadership through programs and events across the country. In just a short time the group has grown to 30 chapters nationwide. Hupp is the Executive Director and spends a whopping 35 weeks of every year on the road. “We were attending these cannabis events and we weren’t finding our tribe,” said Hupp. “So we decided to set up these events meant to welcome women into the industry and be the first place they come when they are interested in the industry.” The group is sponsored by companies within the industry and has received commitments from fifty different companies and uses the #First50 to recognize this campaign. The group’s next big event they are involved with is the Cannabis World Congress in New York June 17-19.

Amy Poinsett and Jessica Billingsley – Cannabis software company MJ Freeway  is headed by two dynamic women. Amy Poinsett is the co-founder and CEO and Jessica Billinsley is the other co-founder and COO. Billingsley followed a traditional business path of starting a company when she couldn’t find the product she needed in the marketplace. She had invested in the first licensed marijuana business in Colorado and was asked to choose the software needed to run the business. Nothing existed. That’s when she and Poinsett decided to use their tech backgrounds and create a platform that tracked every gram of marijuana and every dollar, now known as seed-to-sale software. MJ Freeway has 1,000 licenses in 19 states. It is one of the few American companies to translate its product into Spanish and they were also one of the few American companies to attend the World Cannabis Conference in Spain. These girls are going global.

Dr. Lakisha Jenkins – This woman is a powerhouse. She holds a Doctorate in Naturopathy and a BSA in Holistic Nutrtion. She is the founder and CEO of the Kiona Foundation and its subsidiary The Farm’acy, which operate two health cooperatives. She also serves as the founding director and President of Jenasis Cooperative which is a business and employment cooperative. This superwoman is also President of the California Cannabis Industry Associationand serves on the board of the National Cannabis Industry Association. As part of the NICA board Jenkins advocates for responsible business practices and corporate accountability. As President of the CCIA, Jenkins has pushed for regulation of the marijuana industry in California and the group is working with politicians to craft legislation that will cut down on illegal cannabis cultivation and protect those willing to work within new regulations.

Juliana Carella – Carella founded Auntie Dolores in 2008. Auntie Dolores is a line of edible medical marijuana products, whose name is a play on the Spanish term pain. Infused products are a small slice of the medical marijuana world, but when it comes to recreational use, some stores are seeing edible products outsell smoked product. Infused owners expect to see a 65% increase in business this year and if more states legalize retail marijuana, the group will see more increases. Auntie Dolores products are available in 150 dispensaries in California and are hoping to expand to other states. The products consistently contain 10mg of THC and range from savory to sweet products. In addition to the brownies, cookies and nuts, Auntie Dolores also makes pet treats. The company hopes to license its brand and has plans to look for more opportunities with investors.


Marijuana large scale wax production technology safer than butane.

Admin; Interesting development by a marijuana business to fill a need in marijuana wax production by Emotek Labs.

Emotek Labs—Closed Loop Extraction

posted by Seshata on June 3rd 2014


While in Denver, Colorado we were given the opportunity to tour the award-winning cannabis extract company Emotek Labs, which has developed an industry-standard closed-loop system for extracting resins from cannabis using butane, while avoiding the risk of fire and explosion that can occur with traditional ‘open’ systems.

What is butane honey oil (BHO)?

Butane honey oil is a high-purity cannabis extract that is created by ‘blasting’ cannabis plant material with pressurised butane gas. In appearance, it may range from a fluffy, opaque and yellowish (usually termed ‘wax’ or ‘budder’) to an almost-transparent, glassy sheet—this is the most highly-prized form, and is usually known as ‘shatter’. Wax and budder is often whipped to achieve its consistency, and its appearance may disguise impurities that would be more visible in the shatter form.

In general, a cannabis extract or concentrate is cannabis resin that has been fully separated from residual plant material through use of a solvent. Lipid-based cannabis resins cannot dissolve in water, but are capable of dissolving in non-polar solvents, as well as some polar solvents.

What are closed-loop extraction systems?

Closed-loop systems such as those created by Emotek are far safer and more effective than older methods

Closed-loop systems such as those created by Emotek are far safer and more effective than older methods

A closed-loop system is one which does not leave any ‘gaps’ through which solvents can escape. The advantages of a closed-loop system are various; primarily, the risk of explosion is reduced drastically as the flammable component is kept in a secure system that does not allow leaks, and secondly, gas usage is drastically reduced as it is recirculated back through the system and used more than once to blast the plant material. Continue reading

Fascinating read about Colorado’s marijuana business.

Admin; Very interesting read and infographics showing the booming marijuana business.  Interesting that some of the THC content was too high and therefore failed the potency test…

Colorado releases trove of marijuana data

Colorado releases trove of marijuana data. 9NEWS at 5 p.m. 02/27/15.

Brandon Rittiman, KUSA6:27 p.m. MST February 27, 2015

For an infographic displaying this information, scroll to the bottom of this page.


(Photo: Bloomberg)

DENVER – It may very well be largest collection of data about marijuana use ever released in human history.

Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division unveiled an official report documenting a trove of information about marijuana and edible pot sales, the size of the industry, and testing results.

The Raw Tonnage

74 tons of marijuana flower were sold in the state, of which only 19 tons were sold as “recreational,” telling us medical patients used more than twice as much marijuana flower (buds) as did recreational customers.

This is roughly the size of 12 African elephants, or about 148 adult male polar bears.

Conversely, recreational users consumed vastly more edible marijuana products in 2014 than did medical marijuana patients.

1.96 million units of medical edibles were sold.

2.8 million of them were sold to recreational buyers.

That means a total of 4.8 million edible marijuana products like cookies, candy bars and drinks sold in 2014.

That’s equal to almost one edible to every resident of Colorado.

Edibles are more of a recreation thing. 60 percent of edibles sold were in recreational shops.

By comparison, in December 2014, 60 percent of marijuana flower sold came from medical marijuana shops.

The Number Of Plants

The state of Colorado was cranking out almost 17,000 new plants each day at the end of 2014.

That would be enough for every resident in Sterling to have one every day.

At year’s end, Colorado recreational pot growers were cultivating more than 200,000 new plants each month to support their businesses, compared to just 25,000 in January, the first month of legal sales.

Plants need to be designated as either “retail” or “medical” when they are potted.

By contrast, growers cranked out more than 300,000 new medical plants in all but two months of the year.

Each plant is tagged with an RFID chip, which is tracked through each step of cultivation and preparation for sale.

The state tracking system logged 37 million “events,” including new cutting planted and plants processed into various products.

Denver Is The Pot King By Every Measure

Denver is the undisputed capitol of the marijuana trade in Colorado.

60 percent of all the recreational buds sold in the state were sold in Denver, 11.5 tons.

The next nearest competitor, Boulder County, looked paltry by comparison with 2.5 tons.

Denver is also tops in medical pot with 31 tons sold compared to just 11 tons in El Paso County.

By a 5-1 margin, the Denver County’s recreational sales of infused products outpaced its next nearest competitor with 1.3 million units sold.

About 2.6 million edibles sold in Denver. A half million sold in Boulder.

Only one in five jurisdictions in Colorado allow both recreational and medical sales.

Pot Jobs And Industry Booming

The data reveal that 9,400 jobs were created above-board in Colorado’s marijuana sector with the dawn of recreational sales.

There were 6,600 state badges issued to workers in the medical pot industry as 2014 began.

By year’s end, the figure mushroomed to 16,000.

833 brand-new recreational marijuana facilities opened in Colorado in 2014, including 322 retail stores.

At year’s end there were 1,416 medical marijuana facilities, a slight increase over 2013.

State regulators suspended 30 licenses for violations over the course of the year. An additional 153 agreed to corrections or shut-downs.

Testing Results

The state didn’t offer detailed info about average potency of pot in Colorado, but it did give us a glimpse at how testing went for edibles.

3,893 potency tests were conducted.

90 batches of retail edibles were rejected because they flunked laboratory tests mandated by the state in 2014.

72 failed because they were too potent (for having more than 100 mg THC) and 18 failed because the THC inside of them wasn’t spread evenly enough throughout the product.

Mandatory testing of pot edibles didn’t begin until July.

Infographic (view on mobile: http://i.imgur.com/pqQWJXA.jpg)

(KUSA-TV © 2015 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


Marijuana lifestyle for Valentines Day.

Admin; Flower bouquet for your special person and friends are now available to be customized for your marijuana lifestyle.  What a great idea for a niche marijuana business! Perhaps the bud delivery services should include this at holidays. Christmas boxes stuff for Santa’s helpers, 4th of July with a few fireworks, Thanksgiving turkeys stuffed with bud!

For your stoner sweetie, put some bud into that Valentine’s Day bouquet

There’s no holiday more cliché than Valentine’s Day, and there’s no gift more cliché than red roses. But in the new world of legalized marijuana, bud bouquets are now a reality, which might just make us reconsider. 

The concept of incorporating cannabis into floral design was officially introduced this past summer in a New York Times trend-spotting piece on marijuana at weddings in Colorado and Washington State. Denver Highlands-based Plum Sage Flowers was featured for its cannabis inspired florals at the request of couple Lauren Meisels and Bradley Melshenker. As an award-winning, event-focused florist, owner Erin Hornstein says her goal is “to create flowers that complement our clients’ preferred aesthetic. It was important to them that we included the plant … we did, and it was fun and gorgeous! But this isn’t something we’re specifically aiming to do.”

One florist slightly ahead of the trend is Buds & Blossoms owner Bec Koop. After getting her start in the biz at her mother’s Washington D.C.-area flower shop, Koop is now based out of her eco-friendly home studio in Centennial, Colo., where she creates custom arrangements for weddings and special events, often featuring marijuana flowers. As a part-time budtender at High Country Healingin Alma, Colo., Koop started experimenting with marijuana and traditional flowers in 2013.

“I was cutting down my own (marijuana) plant and had some extra flowers from an event laying around. I sort of had this ‘aha’ moment where I realized there was this perfect fusion of the two,” Koop says. “It’s really exciting to bring this new theme of freedom and legalization into the wedding industry. I’m planning on expanding to daily bouquets for customers in the next year.”

Babylon Floral in Denver’s Uptown neighborhood has experimented with custom cannabis creations for a select few clients, but it’s not something they’re currently offering. “The marijuana leaves just don’t hold up enough and make the rest of the flowers look a bit lifeless,” says owner Arthur Williams. “Unless the leaves are enormous, they don’t really add much design value.”

For the quintessential neighborhood flower shop that will put bud in your bouquet, head to The Perfect Petal — also located in the Denver Highlands. Owner Cindy Ollig got her first marijuana floral request for a wedding last summer, and has since opened the door for individual customers to come up with their own creations. Known for her imaginative and chic aesthetic, Ollig is excited about the new opportunity to use the cannabis plant in everyday arrangements.

“It’s just kind of cool how the bright greens of the plant and buds go so well with fuchsia and hot pink tones. Marijuana just kind of naturally lends itself to a perfect Valentine’s Day palette,” she says. “Plus, there’s so many different strains now. A lot of them are so delicate and beautiful and really work well with floral composition.colorado-florists-marijuana-flowers-bud-bouquetsThis is a weed-free creation from The Perfect Petal flower shop, which will happily incorporate some cannabis into an arrangement. (Annette Slade, provided by The Perfect Petal)

Ollig also thinks roses are actually making a comeback due to the explosion of different hues and varietals that nurseries are propagating right now.

“Garden roses are huge too, so we’re seeing a lot of people becoming interested again and requesting contemporary romantic pieces. That’s thanks in part to Pinterest!” laughs Ollig.

She recommends keeping it simple when opting for a cannabis-adorned arrangement. “One nice bud is plenty to make a statement — any more than that is just overkill.”

As far as the legality of it all? Customers must obtain their bud beforehand and bring it directly to the shop (the cannabis cost is not included in the price of a floral arrangement). The Perfect Petal also restricts cannabis orders from delivery, so in-store pickup is required.

There’s still time to mark the occasion with the best Valentine of all, Mary Jane. The Perfect Petal is taking orders as late as Saturday morning for same-day turnaround, starting at $55.

The Perfect Petal is located at 3600 W. 32nd St., in Denver. 303-480-0966, theperfectpetal.com


Marijuana Advertising takes root


Admin; As Marijuana products fly off the shelf creating gobs of tax money, and profit… advertising wants a piece of the action as well.

Advertising Marijuana Part I:  Medicine Heals The Ailing Press

by Judith Stamps

8 Sep, 2014

Wherever medical marijuana has taken root, officially speaking, ads for the plant have been bringing new life to newspapers.1 The Colorado Springs Independent (CSI) has recently put out a 48-page medical marijuana ad supplement, featuring retailers like  “Mile High Mikes,” “Happy Buddha,” and “Healthy Connections.” Village Voice Media now issues two advertising supplements: the “Chronic-le” in Denver, and “The Rolling Paper” in San Francisco and Orange County.  The Denver Post is doing well.   So are others.  The new ads are not restricted to marijuana.  There are spin-off advertisments for tax and business lawyers, builders, real estate agents, and security services.  CBS has called the phenomenon a new “cash crop” for the press.  No kidding.  Each full-page ad costs $1,100. The CSI has recently hired a new full time reporter and promoted three part-time reporters to full-time positions.   They’ve also hired a dedicated marijuana reporter.  This may turn out to be more than a cash crop.  It may become a renaissance.

Continue reading

Booming marijuana business nationwide due to voter citizen support!

Admin; The long overdue legalization for medical and recreational marijuana is due to the simple truth that this herb has long been “voted” legitimate by consumers!

California marijuana market poised to explode

By Patrick May





Rudy Ponce, of Oakland, selects and makes a purchase of medical marijuana at Blum Dispensary in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)

Rudy Ponce, of Oakland, selects and makes a purchase of medical marijuana at Blum Dispensary in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)

Looking around last week at the exhibitor showroom of CannaCon, the huge marijuana-business expo held outside Seattle, Greg James had something of an epiphany: The pot industry in America is growing like, you guessed it, a weed.

“There was everybody from soil companies to grow-light companies to lawyers and security and insurance firms to a TV network doing shows just on marijuana,” said James, whose Seattle-based Marijuana Venture newsletter has exploded from eight to 84 glossy pages since it launched in March and is already turning a profit. “I’m not sure how many of them will survive, but it’s amazing how fast this thing is moving.” Continue reading

Cannabis is the growth industry


Start-Ups Seize Marijuana Opportunities as Big Companies Hold Back


When Garett Fortune’s brother was found to have cancer in early 2013, it was so advanced that all he could do was to try to live out the remainder of his life in as little pain and discomfort as possible. That meant taking about 30 pills a day, Mr. Fortune said — until his brother tried marijuana.

“I saw him go from 30 pills a day to almost zero,” he said. “It helped his appetite and the nausea. He had a way better quality of life at the end than he would have without the cannabis. It made me a proponent of the industry.”

It also gave Mr. Fortune the idea for a business. With more states legalizing marijuana for medical uses — and, in Colorado and Washington, recreational ones — Mr. Fortune identified one of the industry’s challenges: packaging. The old standby, the resealable plastic bag, was not sufficiently effective, especially for a regulated industry, and Mr. Fortune already owned OdorNo, a company that made odor-proof bags for human and animal waste.

Mr. Fortune proposed a new product, odor-proof and child-resistant marijuana bags, to OdorNo’s advisory board. He expected the members to laugh him out of the room, but they did not. “Every single one of them told me: ‘This is the biggest opportunity on the planet right now. Follow that.’ ”


Garett Fortune is chief executive of FunkSac, a company that makes odor-proof, child-resistant bags for packaging marijuana.CreditDavid Maxwell for The New York Times

In May he licensed out production and distribution of OdorNo, and he and his team began building FunkSac in Denver. Although FunkSac bags are awaiting government approval, Mr. Fortune said he had hundreds of thousands of orders from cultivators, dispensaries and wholesalers. The company plans to begin delivering them this month and estimates it will have first-year revenue of about $2 million.

Mr. Fortune said he had been contacted by dispensaries in 17 of the 22 states where medical marijuana was legal. “Right now,” he said, “it’s like drinking from a fire hose.”

To many, today’s cannabis industry resembles a modern-day Gold Rush. Troy Dayton, co-founder and chief executive of the ArcView Group in San Francisco, a network of 250 high-net-worth investors that backs cannabis start-ups, said more than 30 early-stage companies contact it every week. In the last year, he said, the group sent about $12 million in funding to 14 companies.

The size of the legal cannabis industry in the United States, measured by sales of the plant, was $1.5 billion in 2013, according to ArcView, which projects it will reach $2.6 billion in 2014 and $10 billion by 2018 — figures that do not include the growing numbers of ancillary businesses. The entire industry is dominated by small businesses, Mr. Dayton said, both because it is so new and because marijuana’s legality remains murky. Banks, for example, have been reluctant to take deposits or make loans to dispensaries because the drug is still illegal under federal law.

“You can’t have a national business,” Mr. Dayton said, because the laws vary by state. Opportunities for small businesses also exist because the stigma associated with the industry has discouraged bigger companies from getting involved. “You can’t find another industry growing at this clip that doesn’t have any major players,” he said. “That gives the little guy a chance to make a run at this.”

That potential has spawned a wide array of cannabis start-ups — many incorporating novel technologies.Potbotics in New York City has raised almost $3 million from friends and family and has three cannabis-related products in the works, including a “virtual budtender” known as Potbot that it expects to be available for sale next year. A budtender is a dispensary worker who is knowledgeable about and sells marijuana; Potbot is a robot with a tablet-size monitor that is meant to replace the budtender.

The plan is to place Potbot robots in dispensaries and medical facilities where marijuana patients can ask questions and get information. “Dispensary budtenders almost always have an agenda — they are trying to sell what they have most in their stock,” said David Goldstein, a founder of the company, which was started in October. “We created a software and technology platform that is able to talk to patients and educate them about what strains are actually best for their ailments.”


Although the bags are awaiting government approval, Mr. Fortune said he had hundreds of thousands of orders. CreditDavid Maxwell for The New York Times

A San Diego start-up, Herbalizer, makes a small, sleek vaporizer with a heating system that took three years and two engineers to develop. Its co-founder and chief executive, Josh Young, previously designed advanced NASA computer systems and military programs; Bob Pratt, a co-founder and the chief technology officer, was a designer of stealth bomber radar systems. And yet, Mr. Young said, the technology behind the Herbalizer “has been the greatest challenge of our lives.”

The vaporizer heats up in seconds and uses a 32-megahertz processor, a 300-watt halogen bulb and a temperature sensor to release active compounds in the plant selectively, without creating smoke. Ninety percent of Herbalizer’s customers use it for marijuana, Mr. Young said, although drug paraphernalia laws prevent the device from being marketed for that purpose (it is sold instead for use with herbs like peppermint and lavender). The company expects first-year revenue of more than $2 million.

Fund-raising has been tricky for Herbalizer and similar companies. Traditional investors remain leery, said Christian Groh, a partner and the chief operations officer at Privateer Holdings, a private equity firm in Seattle that invests in cannabis start-ups. “In the U.S., marijuana remains a Schedule I narcotic, so you still have this outlaw mentality within the community,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of exuberance now, but I don’t think we’re at the point where we’ll see real institutional money or a Fortune 500 company making a play in this space. Not yet.”

In 2011, Privateer bought Leafly, a Seattle start-up that provides consumer ratings and reviews of marijuana strains, dispensaries and recreational shops. Most dispensaries carry 20 to 50 strains, Mr. Groh said, and the lack of standardization and consistency is a big issue. Leafly has about 80,000 reviews in its system.

“That information has to come from the community right now, because there is no WebMD for marijuana,” said Cy Scott, one of Leafly’s founders. The company also offers tools for dispensaries that let them manage inventory, update menus online and respond to reviews. Dispensaries and recreational shops pay a monthly subscription fee of $200 to $2,000 a month, said Mr. Scott, who expects revenue this year of $3.6 million.

SpeedWeed, a Los Angeles delivery service, allows customers to place an order online or by phone and have it delivered — depending on traffic — within 45 minutes. Although there are hundreds of marijuana delivery services in Los Angeles, AJ Gentile, a founder, said SpeedWeed was the largest. “Delivery services here are typically guys driving around in their car with a big box of weed,” he said.

Mr. Gentile said that SpeedWeed worked only with cultivators its legal team had vetted and that along with its delivery service, it planned to sell proprietary software to dispensaries nationwide. He estimated that the company had 20,000 legal customers and that revenue would double this year, up from $1.7 million in 2013.

Biological Advantage, founded in April, has a system of products it plans to introduce this month that are applied to a marijuana plant’s soil and leaves to enhance photosynthesis. The company’s chief executive, John Kempf, is also founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture, a crop-nutrition consulting company he started that has invested $400,000 in Biological Advantage.

Mr. Kempf said his companies were a bit ahead of the game, anticipating what the market would need. “Growers aren’t yet looking at nutrition as a means for improving the medicinal concentrations in plants,” he said. “But they will.”


Colorado’s new “Green” marijuana business Gold Rush means a lot of money will be circulating around it’s economy.


Next Gold Rush: Legal Marijuana Feeds Entrepreneurs’ Dreams


People in Colorado’s growing marijuana industry at the Cannabis Business Summit at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver last month. CreditMatthew Staver for The New York Times

the glint of gold or rumors of oil in ages past, the advent of legal, recreational marijuana is beginning to reshape economies in Colorado and Washington State.

Marijuana is beckoning thousands of entrepreneurs and workers, investors and hucksters from across the country, each looking to cash in on a rapidly changing industry that offers hefty portions of both promise and peril.

At convention centers and in hotel meeting rooms, start-up companies are floating sales pitches for marijuana delivery services or apps to name-tagged investors who sip red wine and munch on hempseed snacks. This year, hundreds of people seeking jobs lined up for blocks in downtown Denver, résumés in hand, for an industry-sponsored marijuana job fair. Some have traveled far, leaving security jobs in Ohio or software jobs in Indiana to move for marijuana, hoping the industry has room for them.

“It’s the wild, wild West,” said Tom Bollich, who moved from the world of mobile apps in Silicon Valley to become the chief executive of a company based in Boulder, Colo., that builds climate systems for marijuana growers.

With marijuana now legal for medical use in 23 states and Washington, D.C., and full legalization heading to the ballot in Alaska and Oregon, the size of the noncriminal marijuana industry is expected to grow to about $2.6 billion this year from about $1.5 billion last year, according to estimates by the ArcView Group, a marijuana research and investment firm in San Francisco.

Investors in marijuana say there have been as many as 80 marijuana-related companies trading publicly, though federal securities regulators have suspended trading in five of them over the last few months and have warned that some of these new firms might be fraudulent efforts to dupe investors hunting for the next big thing.

In Colorado’s first six months of retail sales, the number of people licensed to work with the plant has grown to 11,289 this month — slightly less than the number of auto mechanics in the state — from about 6,000. (The state points out that not all those people may be actively working in the marijuana industry.) Since the first dozen stores opened in January, Colorado has issued licenses for more than 200 recreational marijuana shops.

Tourists have flocked to those stores, making up 44 percent of the customers at one Denver shop during a sample week this spring, according to the state’s first study of demand for marijuana. Tour companies and marijuana-friendly bed-and-breakfasts have sprung up to serve tourists, too.

In Washington State, where recreational sales kicked off last week, the retail industry is much smaller, with as few as eight stores open so far. But the ambitions are boundless, with more than 300 licenses under state review and an outdoor growing season — perfect for apples, wheat and grapes — that could make Washington a national powerhouse of production if legalization spreads.

Hundreds of other people have found work on the edges of the industry. They sell water systems, soil nutrients, lighting and accounting services, like the 19th-century merchants who profited by selling picks and shovels to gold miners. There are now dozens of marijuana-related mobile apps, marijuana-centric law firms and real estate agents, cannabis security experts (it is a risky, virtually all-cash trade) and marijuana-themed event promoters offering everything from luxury getaways to bus tours. Washington has a rule requiring bar-code tracking of every marijuana plant to ensure that only licensed, Washington-grown marijuana is sold in its stores. It has also created a niche for tech start-ups like Viridian Sciences, a software company aiming to help retailers prove the provenance of their product should a state inspector or customer ask.

But many have also discovered that selling marijuana, even without the specter of being arrested, carries high costs and no guarantee of success.

A heavily regulated recreational marijuana program in Washington drew more than 7,000 applications, but many of those would-be growers, processors and retailers have struggled from the start. They had to find financial capital that state inspectors would approve and lock in a legal business location. Then, they had to endure months of delays as overwhelmed state workers processed and analyzed an oversubscribed applicant list.

“I’m about fed up,” said Michael McDonald, a 57-year-old home-repair contractor, who has applied for two licenses to grow and process marijuana in Bellingham, in northwestern Washington.

Mr. McDonald said the deck was stacked in favor of richer corporate players. With banks still so leery of lending in the industry, he said, financing choices for smaller entrepreneurs like him are few.

“What’s happening is that the only people who are really going to get licenses are the ones who have somehow hidden their illegal money, or legitimized it, or it’s big business backing it, and that’s not how it was supposed to be,” Mr. McDonald said.

Aaron Varney, 38, who directs a nonprofit medical marijuanacooperative in Seattle, got a 24th-place slot in the state lottery for the 21 retail marijuana locations up for grabs in his city; three people ahead of him would have to wash out of the process for his number to come up. He wants the industry to succeed, he said, but cannot fully silence what he called the selfish voice inside that hopes to get in.

“Real close, but not quite there,” Mr. Varney said of his waiting game.

Despite marijuana’s outlaw reputation and legal status, the industry is growing largely because the Obama administration decided last year not to oppose votes in 2012 in Colorado and Washington that legalized marijuana for personal use and laid the groundwork for statewide sales. But regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission warned that the loosened laws created new horizons for fraud, as small companies with dubious assets and financial disclosures leapt into the over-the-counter trading market.

The agency’s actions this spring to suspend trading in marijuana-based companies from Colorado, California and Texas were still rippling through Weedstock, an investor conference at the Westin Denver Downtown Hotel. While some growers and sideline businesses are earning enough to even sponsor chamber-music galas, investors said that others were leaping into the market with little more than hype and shaky business plans.

“Ninety percent are either scams or aren’t going to make it,” said Alan Brochstein, a financial analyst who is carving out a niche in the cannabis market.

But many are ready to gamble on marijuana’s success. After a decade in the military and a career working in security, Sy Alli, 53, moved to Colorado to become the director of corporate security for Dixie Brands, a company that makes marijuana-infused drinks and snacks. Zach Marburger, 28, visited in January to ski and check out the early days of legal use of recreational marijuana, and decided to relocate to Denver to develop software to connect customers and retailers.

And a few months ago, a 22-year-old mobile app developer named Isaac Dietrich and a friend were smoking marijuana in a Norfolk, Va., apartment when they realized: There could be money in this. They moved to Colorado, where they are working on an app called MassRoots, which lets marijuana enthusiasts privately post photos on an online platform out of sight of their parents or co-workers. They want it to be the Instagram for marijuana users.

“We thought about relocating to Silicon Valley, but they haven’t backed a single marijuana company,” Mr. Dietrich said. “This is where everything’s happening. We didn’t want to be left out.”

Jack Healy reported from Denver, and Kirk Johnson from Seattle.