Christian Hageseth at the National Cannabis Summit in Denver. Image: WeedWorthy.com
Bruce Kennedy ~ WeedWorthy ~
 
Veteran cannabis entrepreneur Christian Hageseth says the legal cannabis industry is rapidly evolving and on the verge of explosive growth.
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Where is the legal marijuana industry heading?
 
If you ask a veteran cannabis entrepreneur like Christian Hageseth, he’ll tell you the industry is approaching an era of explosive growth, with innovations that we can’t yet fully anticipate.
 
Hageseth created the award-winning Green Man Cannabis grow and dispensary outlets in Colorado. He’s also the founder and manager of American Cannabis Partners, a self-described “one-stop-shop for legal cannabis entrepreneurship,” as well as the author of Big Weed: An Entrepreneur's High-Stakes Adventures in the Budding Legal Marijuana Business.
 
He was a featured speaker at the opening of the National Cannabis Summit this week in Denver, and feels the legal cannabis industry is entering uncharted territory.
 
“It’s a $2.5 billion legal industry now; probably will be a $50 billion to $100 billion legal industry in five years,” Hageseth tells WeedWorthy. “So it’s sort of unfathomable what those changes will be.”
 
Among the unexpected changes that have surprised him recently is how quickly some extreme opponents of marijuana legalization in the U.S. – especially among certain political and cultural conservative groups – have been able to “move off of those rigid positions” and consider if not fully embrace the concept of legal and beneficial cannabis.
 
Not that the marijuana industry as a whole is necessarily ready for prime time. During his address, Hageseth noted that most cannabis businesses still need to step up their game if they want to be taken seriously as professionals. But that’s part of the innovation process, he says, and he pointed at the heady times several decades ago when Steve Jobs and others were revolutionizing the computer industry.
 
“When you look at those early entrepreneurs…you’d probably describe them just like…the marijuana entrepreneurs,” he says. “Almost hippies; really passionate.” What made changes take place then, he adds, are the same factors influencing the legal cannabis industry now: innovation, invention, entrepreneurship and investment.
 
Hageseth expects the federal government will end up decriminalizing cannabis; allowing the states to determine their own laws and standards for marijuana. He also believes the legal cannabis industry has yet to truly gain momentum.
 
“It’s tip of the iceberg right now,” he says. “What will this industry look like? We don’t even know what the products are going to be, you know?  There’s going to be vape pens and tinctures and lotions and oils, and it’s going to be in dog food and nutraceuticals. We’re going to have vitamins and supplements with it. There’s going to be connoisseur weed to smoke; there’s going to be cheap joints to take to parties.  The expansion of this industry just hasn’t even begun.”
 
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