As the green rush continues the discussion about innovators and imitators heats up. Billionaire investor Mark Cuban has some interesting points but we still think there is plenty of room for innovative cannabis brands to define the marketplace.
Pot is big business.
And it's only getting bigger.
In November, nine states will vote on whether to legalize marijuana, reports Business Insider's Ben Gilbert, and five of those votes will include recreational use as well as medicinal: Massachusetts, Maine, California, Arizona, and Nevada.
If those ballots pass along with medicinal marijuana ballot measures in Montana and Florida, reports Business Insider's Melia Robinson, those markets will account for $2.7 billion in additional marijuana sales in 2018. Research by Arcview Market Research, a leading publisher of marijuana market research, and its big-data partner New Frontier projects this number to grow to nearly $8 billion by 2020.
At a late September breakfast in Beverly Hills, Entrepreneur's Kim Lachance Shandrow asked five of the six Shark Tank Sharks how they feel about the growing marijuana industry, and whether they'd invest.
Dallas billionaire Mark Cuban told her he'd keep his money out of it:
"Would I invest in the cannabis industry? No. Not because I have anything against pot. I don't care. But right now it's a gold rush. When everybody's rushing in it's hard to keep track of what everybody's doing because there's a new startup every single day.
"I think the oversaturation of the market creates a very difficult challenge. Plus, Snoop's in it [laughs]. And if Snoop Dogg's in it, it's over for everyone else."
He went on to highlight the difficulty of getting involved in an industry so hampered by regulations and red tape, and said again he thinks we're late to the game:
"There's a saying that I live by: 'First there are the innovators. Then there are the imitators. Then there are the idiots.' The three I's. You have to know which one you are, and I think already in the cannabis industry, we've at least gotten to the imitators and we may already be to the idiots."
You can read Cuban's entire reaction and the rest of the Sharks' responses — with the exception of Daymond John, who wasn't present — on Entrepreneur.