March 09, 2020 12 min read

By Laura Newcomer

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that cannabis has become a seriously big business. The U.S. cannabis industry is already worth tens of billions of dollars, and it’s only getting bigger. 

Even though legal cannabis is spreading rapidly, it’s still a fairly new industry. And that means there’s a huge opportunity to get in on the ground floor and make a (lucrative) name for yourself in the cannabis space. 

Of course, there’s a ton of money to be found in cultivating, producing, and retailing cannabis. But growing or selling cannabis is far from the only way to break into the industry. 

No matter whether you’re a little too risk averse to start a growing operation or you lack the capital to open a dispensary, don’t despair. Here are 40 more innovative cannabis business ideas for anyone looking to enter or expand their presence in the booming cannabis space. 

40 Creative Cannabis Business Ideas

Ready to cut yourself a big ‘ol slice of the cannabis pie? Get started with any of these interesting cannabis business ideas! 

1. Cannabis Advertising & Marketing

As in all industries, advertising and marketing are essential components of any cannabis company’s success. If you already have skills in this area, then specializing in the cannabis space could be an effective way to stand out from other marketers and attract more clients. 

No matter whether your background rests with design, copywriting, ad buying, email marketing, or any other aspect of advertising and marketing, your skills are in demand from professionals in the cannabis industry. 

2. Cannabis AgTech Innovations

Growing cannabis is notoriously challenging, and that means there’s high demand for products that can make the process easier or more efficient. 

Several companies have already capitalized on this need. For example, BLH Aqua Technology created a water-treatment machine that breaks down water molecules so plants can absorb them more easily, and UbiQD created UbiGro, a specialized film that helps convert sunlight into the spectrum light that cannabis plants love. 

If you have an eye for innovative agtech, this could be your ticket to major success in the cannabis space. 

3. Cannabis Art Classes

Over the past several years, “paint & sip” events have become a popular way for people to enjoy good company and a little alcohol while flexing their artistic muscles. You can take that same idea and give it a cannabis-centric spin in the form of cannabis art classes.

The idea is simple: You provide a 420-friendly space and artistic instruction and materials, and participants bring their own cannabis to enjoy during the laid-back art class. 

4. Cannabis Bed & Breakfast

Bed & breakfast establishments have long held cachet among travelers seeking a more authentic or intimate experience with the place they’re visiting. Cannabis entrepreneurs can capitalize on the popularity of bed & breakfastsandthe popularity of cannabis by combining the two into a cannabis bed & breakfasta “bud & breakfast, if you will. These establishments provide a 420-friendly space for cannabis enthusiasts to enjoy a unique vacation. 

5. Cannabis Bike Tours

If you have access to an adventurous audience, then consider starting up a cannabis bike tour company. Take participants on an active tour of local cannabis farms, dispensaries, or themed events. It’s an enjoyable excursion for both body and mind, and startup costs are fairly minimal! 

6. Cannabis Blogging

Because the world of cannabis is constantly evolving, the industry enables a constant stream of new content. And that means it’s ripe for hungry bloggers. 

Whether you’re sharing cannabis-related news, covering the political landscape as it pertains to cannabis, sharing growing tips, or profiling cannabis businesses, there’s probably a large audience for that.

Once you’ve attracted a following to your cannabis blog, you can monetize the blog through paid advertisements, member subscriptions, and so on.

7. Cannabis Body Products

Want to get in on the ground floor of the latest trend in cannabis? Then hop on the cannabis body products train. 

There’s some evidence that infusing everyday body products (think lotions, shampoos, conditioners, and so on) with cannabis and/or CBD could have benefits for skin and hair, such as relieving inflammation or soothing aches and pains. That evidence has people flocking to the shelves of grocery and cosmetic stores. 

If you can create quality body products that do what they say they will, you’ll stand out from an increasingly large pack.

8. Cannabis Business Consulting

If you already have experience as a cannabis entrepreneur, then you can make a business out of sharing the knowledge you’ve gained. There are tons of would-be founders clamoring to start their own cannabis company, and they could benefit from your insights around everything from cultivation and compliance to licensing, brand development, marketing, building customer loyalty, and more. If you have proven success in this industry, your knowledge itself could be your next great business idea. 

9. Cannabis Catering

These days, cannabis cooking isn’t just the stuff of college kids with a box of brownie mix and a handful of stems. Everyone from home cooks to high-end chefs is experimenting with cannabis-infused foods as a means of playing with flavor, texture, and so on. You can create a stand-out catering business by providing dishes and meals that utilize cannabis. 

10. Cannabis Cooking Courses

If you have a knack for whipping up cannabis-infused cuisine and you’re hungry to reach a bigger audience than a catering business can provide, then consider crafting a cannabis cooking blog and/or YouTube channel.

Once you’ve built a dedicated audience, you can start selling cannabis cooking courses online. You could also create in-person or online cooking courses as standalone offerings or as a complement to a cannabis catering business. 

11. Cannabis Cosmetics

As with cannabis-infused body products, there’s growing demand for cannabis-infused cosmetics. Specializing in the cosmetics niche could be an effective way to distinguish your brand from the more general body products space. Infusing makeup products with cannabis could appeal to the large swath of consumers who are willing to pay more for cosmetic products that incorporate natural ingredients, such as CBD. 

12. Cannabis Cuisine Pairing

You’ve heard of wine pairing, where professionals match up quality wines with foods and meals that best complement them. Now, consider providing that same idea for cannabis connoisseurs by offering services in which you pair a meal with a carefully curated strain(s) of cannabis. You’ll be well served by official culinary credentials here, but you’ll also have a chance at success if you have a naturally refined palette. 

13. Cannabis Delivery Service

There’s an Uber for so many things these days, and that includes cannabis. Some cannabis delivery services already exist, but this interesting niche is still in its infancy. Hop in on the ground floor by contracting with local farms, dispensaries, and so on. You could focus on medical marijuana delivery, recreational cannabis delivery, or both.

14. Cannabis Employment Service

As the cannabis industry grows, so does demand for high-quality team members who can fill roles across the industry, from growing and harvesting to retail services. So consider creating a staffing service company that’s focused on pairing job seekers with relevant roles in the cannabis space. 

It’s a win-win: You’ll help budding companiesandsupport folks who are looking to break into new roles in the industry. And that means you’ll be in demand from all sides of the employment spectrum! 

15. Cannabis-Friendly Event & Party Planning

Event planning requires a specialized set of skills, the ability to plan ahead, and an eye toward providing attendees with a stellar experience at every stage of the event. If you possess those skills, you can put them to work in the cannabis industry as a cannabis-friendly event planner. 

You could cater to well-off cannabis enthusiasts with money to burn on parties for their friends, cannabis retailers who are looking to throw fun events to grow their customer base, or anyone wanting to host a 420-friendly festival, networking event, trade show, or wedding. 

16. Cannabis Florist

In case you’re not hip to the latest trends in the world of floral arranging, here’s a heads up: Modern florists are starting to incorporate cannabis into bouquets. If you have a knack for arranging flowers, you can hop on this trend by offering “canna-florist” services for weddings, networking events, and other social gatherings.

17. Cannabis Packaging & Labeling

Do you know what every retail cannabis product needs? A package and/or label that meets legal requirements and attracts consumers’ attention.

If you have a skill set for designing eye-catching labels, or you have an idea for a product that could streamline packaging processes, then specializing in the packaging niche is a great way to break into the cannabis space. 

18. Cannabis Party Bus

So long as it’s legal in your area, climb aboard the party bus trend with a cannabis party bus company. The idea is the same as with alcohol-based party buses, but swap alcohol with (you guessed it!) cannabis: Basically, you provide a safe space for folks to consume marijuana, possibly with stops at relevant attractions. 

19. Cannabis “Personal Shopping” 

There aresomany different strains of cannabis and types of cannabis products, and they all can have different impacts on a person. For someone who is new to using medical or recreational cannabis, this can feel rather overwhelming. 

That’s where personal shopping comes in. You could develop a business that helps curate product and strain suggestions that are specific to the needs and preferences of an individual. 

20. Cannabis Pet Products

As cannabis makes its way into more and more human-related products (think: body lotions and supplements), it’s also finding its way into the enormous pet industry. CBD is an especially popular product for pets, because there’s some evidence it can help critters with anxiety, achy joints, and so on. By creating pet-friendly cannabis products, you can capitalize on two lucrative industries simultaneously: pets and cannabis. Just make sure to do your due diligence when it comes to ensuring the safety of your products! 

21. Cannabis Photography and/or Videography

As cannabis becomes more widely legalized and the space gets more competitive, companies are upping their branding efforts in order to stand out from the pack. That’s where your new photography and/or videography business could come in. 

Cannabis brands need all kinds of visual assets for their websites, social media, and other marketing efforts. If you have a talent in this area, you could support the growth of other cannabis companies while creating your own cannabis business. 

22. Cannabis-Related Accessories

There’s a huge market for cannabis-related products that don’t actually contain any cannabis (aka “ancillary products”). This can be a great space to enter if you’re worried about dealing with compliance when it comes to retailing cannabis itself. From pipes and bongs to grinders, rolling papers, and travel containers, the sky’s the limit when it comes to creating and selling products that support cannabis use. 

23. Cannabis-Related App Development

Many cannabis companies are building out mobile apps to complement their products or services — and that means they’re looking for skilled app developers to assist with these projects. If you have a talent in this area, you could create an app development company or freelance side hustle that serves businesses in the cannabis space. 

24. Cannabis-Related Software Development 

Like any industry, cannabis relies on a variety of software products to run effectively — but not all software companies are willing to work with cannabis companies, because they’re worried about legal consequences or they simply don’t understand the needs of the space. 

This means there’s high demand for software products that meet the specific needs and challenges of companies operating in the cannabis realm. From CRM to compliance automation, POS systems, and seed-to-sale tracking systems, there are tons of ways to enter the cannabis-related software space.

25. Cannabis Restaurant

If your cannabis catering business has taken off or you have experience in the restaurant space, consider starting up a restaurant with a cannabis theme and/or one that incorporates cannabis into its offerings. Of course, make sure to abide by state laws when it comes to serving up dishes that are infused with cannabis! 

26. Cannabis Reviewing

As more and more cannabis products enter the market on a near-daily basis, consumers need resources that help them sort the wheat from the chaff. That means there’s demand for high-quality, thoughtful, and unbiased cannabis product reviews. You could start a website or app that’s dedicated to providing just that.

27. Cannabis Security Service

Cannabis is big business, and that means cannabis companies need to protect their assets in the form of their cash till, physical products, and so on. Many dispensaries and grow operations are willing to invest in security details, from on-site security guards to armored transport. So consider starting up a security service that’s specifically tailored to the needs of cannabis-related businesses. 

28. Cannabis Security Tech

As noted above, cannabis is a big-money business. Business owners need technologies that can enhance their security, such as video surveillance tools, secured storage, and so on. Starting up a security tech company that specializes in the cannabis space could be a great way to meet a real need in the industry while building a successful business of your own. 

29. Cannabis Seed Bank

Seed banks are important in the broader agricultural world, because they help sustain biological diversity and safely store various strains of plants in the event of agricultural catastrophe. The same goes for the world of cannabis: Seed banks help maintain a record of strain diversity, and they can also be lucrative businessbecause when people want to grow cannabis, they have to start with a seed. And where do they buy those seeds? Seed banks! 

30. Cannabis Social Club

Think of a cannabis social club as the “bar” equivalent of the cannabis world: It’s a place for people to gather, socialize, and partake of a substance (in this case, cannabis). Starting up a gathering space in a city where cannabis is widely consumed could lead to a successful business, with opportunities for sponsorships or partnerships from local dispensaries, growers, and so on. 

One note of caution: This is only a legal option in a few places at the moment, so do your research! 

31. Cannabis Subscription Box Service

There’s a subscription box for everything these days, from jewelry to shaving products or dog toys. So why not apply the success of other subscription models to the cannabis space? 

Legally, it might not be possible to ship cannabis itself. But you could create a subscription box for cannabis-related products, accessories, apparel, and so on. 

32. Cannabis Tech Solutions

Cannabis growing, processing, and manufacturing requires a variety of technologies that are critical to these processes, and much of that tech is ripe for disruption. If you can create a product that makes any stage of the cannabis production process faster, easier, simpler, or more cost-effective, you’ll be in business. 

Here are just a few examples of companies that are disrupting the cannabis industry with better tech: Access Rosin created a product that can quadruple the production of conventional rosin presses; CannVerify developed product seals that use blockchain-based software to prevent counterfeiting; and STM Cann created the RocketBox, which can roll hundreds of pre-rolls in a mere three minutes. 

33. Cannabis-Themed Apparel

When people love something, they often want to advertise their love for that thing. This means there’s an opportunity to build a business out of cannabis-themed apparel, especially if you have a knack for creating funny slogans or eye-catching designs. Bonus? It’s pretty inexpensive to start up an online apparel shop. 

34. Cannabis-Themed Art

If you’re an artist with an interest in cannabis, there are tons of ways you could put those interests together to create a social following and build a business selling your artwork. From glass blowing to wall art, book illustrations, and even joint-rolling artistry, cannabis has worked its way into the worlds of art and fashion. If you have skills to rock in those spaces, then you might be onto your next business idea. 

35. Cannabis-Themed Lifestyle Products

Just as cannabis enthusiasts might enjoy sporting cannabis-themed apparel, they might also appreciate cannabis-themed lifestyle products such as mugs, plates, lampshades, storage containers, keychains, bumper stickers, greeting cards, bong protectors… you name it! Your success with cannabis-themed lifestyle products will hinge on creating unique, functional, funny, and/or aesthetically appealing designs.

36. Cannabis Tour Guide

In cities and other communities where cannabis is legal, there’s an opportunity to open up a cannabis tour guiding business. These tours could take participants to farms, dispensaries, historical landmarks related to cannabis, and/or 420-friendly events. There’s tons of room to partner with area organizations to co-market your businesses! 

37. Cannabis Website Development

If you have web development skills, you can put them to use in the cannabis space. New cannabis-related businesses are starting up every day, and virtually all of them will need a website to publicize their products or services. By tailoring your web development skills to cannabis companies’ needs, you can capitalize on a market with sustained growth potential. 

38. Manufacturing Child-Resistant Containers

In places where cannabis is legalized, there are laws about how those products can be packaged and sold. And most of those laws involve child-resistant containers. This means there’s an opportunity to enter the space with child-resistant containers that are also user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

39. Public Relations

Effective public relations is essential in any industry, but perhaps even more so in the cannabis space. Cannabis is gradually becoming more socially acceptable as laws and attitudes shift, but it still faces stigma and (often inaccurate) myths. 

That’s where public relations come in. PR experts can help cannabis businesses effectively navigate and overcome misconceptions about cannabis. What cannabis company couldn’t benefit from that service? 

40. Retail Space Design

As cannabis is legalized in more states and countries, more and more cannabis-related retail spaces are opening up. And each one of those spaces requires assistance from someone with an eye toward retail space design. 

The aesthetic and flow of a retail space has a huge impact on how a brand is perceived and whether customers are likely to return that space, which is why cannabis companies are inclined to invest in retail designers. If you already have an interior design skill set, then cannabis retail space design might be the niche you’ve been looking for.

Cannabis Business Ideas: The Sky’s the Limit

As you can see, there are dozens upon dozens of innovative ways to enter the cannabis industry (not to mention tons of cannabis startup incubators to support your idea). 

Whether you’re leveraging existing skills or developing a new talent, these cannabis business ideas should get your creative juices flowing. Invest in one of these ideas outright, or use these suggestions as starting points for creating your own unique twist on the cannabis theme.

No matter how you choose to enter the cannabis space, you’ll enjoy participation in a massive, fast-growing industry that’s packed with a broad range of B2B and B2C consumers eager to try your wares.

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