California's marijuana industry has been in the shadows for decades. Now, with pot legalized for recreational use as of Monday, the nation's most populous state is about to figure out how much the market is worth.
And some of these ideas seem way out of the box.
Let's start with the numbers. According to Business Insider, legalized pot products will bring in $3.7 billion in 2018 alone. By 2019, it's expected to grow to $5.1 billion, which the publication notes is bigger than the beer market.
With that new economy comes new ideas for businesses. Already, some have cropped up in other places or under California's medical marijuana laws, but with the doors open to recreational use in the world's sixth-largest economy, they'll probably scale up quickly.
Marijuana-friendly wedding venues are coming out of the shadows and offering their services to couples hoping to “take their first toke” as a married couple. As Fox News reports:
The “first married hit together” is becoming part of their wedding vows. Like lighting a unity candle, a ceremonial toke — sometimes from a custom-designed, two-mouthpiece “unity bowl” — signifies the blending of two lives in matrimony.
really @cnn , this is where your morals have landed in 2018?
Old ladies and gas mask bongs?
— Mindless Robots (@MindlessRobots) January 1, 2018
On New Year's Eve, CNN sent a reporter to check out a pot party bus in Colorado, where recreational pot is legal. She displayed all kinds of pot paraphernalia on live TV.
California has already begun to follow the trend. In a state populated by the limo-loving glitterati, the state's party bus businesses have already begun responding with plans to expand their medical marijuana dispensary tours with tours to recreational pot places.
One tour company notes that it supplies amenities such as “green laser lights, fog machines, trippy smart TV graphics, plush seating and munchie stations.”
We're thrilled to announce our 2017 #Budtender of the Year...Jeremy Weikum from @freedommarkets! We appreciate all your hard work and endless love and support you have for Heavenly Buds! Enjoy your new hoodie! pic.twitter.com/1enig18x53
— Heavenly Buds (@HeavenlyBuds) December 29, 2017
With legal pot in the nation's most populous state, there will be words and phrases you may not be able to escape. The word “budtender” may become as ubiquitous as “barista” in the not-so-distant future.
Herb reports that a budtender is a person who dispenses pot to buyers. A good budtender is supposed to know all the strains of marijuana to see what might jibe with the user. Glassdoor reports that current budtenders make between $11 and $15 an hour.
Bud and Breakfasts
— Bud and Breakfast (@bud_breakfast) December 29, 2017
Weed-friendly vacation spots await the pot enthusiast at Bud and Breakfast. For people who don't want to get into trouble for smoking up at their full-time home, Weed Rentals can help. There will be many more listing services undoubtedly as weed use becomes more normalized. In California, no smoking means no smoking anything, though.
Pot Farmers Markets
There's already been a farmers market for medical marijuana users in Malibu, and it will only grow now with the legalization of pot in California.
As USA Today reports, California already has a pot church in San Jose, where the plant is treated as a “sacrament.” The publication reports that similar establishments have appeared in Oakland, Roseville, Modesto, San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles counties.
At pot church, the pastor encourages parishioners to “breathe deep and blow harder.” The newspaper reports that as the service wraps up, there's a “pungent smoke” lilting in the air.
San Jose City Attorney Rick Doyle told USA Today:
“I'm not going to say they're not churches, but to the extent that they're distributing marijuana, they're an illegal dispensary, in my view.”
Right now, only 90 dispensaries have been approved to distribute recreational pot in California. Oddly, the area where the legalization effort began, San Francisco, hasn't yet passed ordinances to manage recreational pot. Los Angeles hasn't, either.
California currently places a 15 percent tax on marijuana products, but Fortune predicts there could be “70 percent increase” in price as local governments impose additional taxes on growers and sellers.