BOSTON (CBS) – For the first time, there’s a trade show for pot here in Boston. And it’s all about the business opportunities that legal, recreational marijuana could offer in the state.
Retail sale of marijuana is expected to begin in the middle of next year. That means entrepreneurs are trying to get in on the ground floor.
“This is the face of cannabis now,” says Dan Humiston, one of the organizers of the Cannabis Expo, pointing to the clean-cut people attending the conference.
“It doesn’t fit the profile of what you think of as a pot show. This is a business. These are business people,” he says.
Exhibitor space is jammed at the Hynes Convention Center with workshops and speakers on every aspect of the growing industry. “You’re seeing the hardware for this new world of extracts and cannabis consumption,” says exhibitor Dave Fitzpatrick, showing us a wide range of vaping equipment.
The prospect of a booming recreational market opening up in Massachusetts is creating its own high. “This industry is an entrepreneur’s dream. It’s our chance to plant our flag in this market, and take advantage of what looks like the next big boom area of the country, the New England states,” Humiston says.
And Expo visitors want in. “The cannabis industry is vastly growing. So it’s always good to see if there are holes in the market where we can enter and try and fill that hole,” says one young man attending the expo and looking for a business opportunity.
Dollar signs are dancing in everyone’s head. They point to Colorado where the sale of recreational pot has been legal for nearly four years.
“In Colorado, year to date, they’re over a billion in sales which generates over $150-million in tax revenue,” according to Humiston.
Colorado has a higher tax rate on pot than what’s planned for in Massachusetts, but the state is a lot smaller. So there are more potential customers here.
Of course, many people continue to oppose legal sale of marijuana, and predict higher costs for law enforcement and for society in general. The Cannabis Expo wraps up on Friday.