5 Corporate Powers Betting Big on Marijuana Legalization

A gambler lays down some chips, much like certain business interests are doing in preparation for nationwide marijuana legalization

A gambler lays down some chips, much like certain business interests are doing in preparation for nationwide marijuana legalization | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Those who dare, win — or so the saying goes. Or, in other words, taking big risks can yield big rewards. That’s what makes the world of venture capital so exciting, or, for the rest of us, a trip to the roulette table. Though there’s no such thing as a sure thing, sometimes you can see the writing on the wall. When it comes to marijuana legalization, all signs are pointing toward a positive outcome for those in support.

We’ve had some disheartening news surrounding cannabis and marijuana legalization or reclassification as of late, with the DEA opting to leave the drug as-is in the Schedule 1 category. But there are all kinds of positive signs we’re seeing from the government as well. The Supreme Court has shut down an opposing argument or two, and more states are now passing legalization laws every year.

And with dramatic shifts come rare chances to take advantage. When it comes to business and the opening of the cannabis market specifically, legalization means huge opportunities to make insane amounts of money.

As of right now, very few (if any) big businesses or corporations are willing to wade into the cannabis trade for fear of backlash from federal regulators. But that doesn’t mean that corporations don’t see what’s coming and that they aren’t looking at strategies to capitalize. In fact, some are already hedging their bets and positioning themselves to profit immensely should full-legalization occur nationwide.

Here are five of those corporate powers.

1. Microsoft

Microsoft logo

The Microsoft logo on a screen | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Microsoft’s products and platforms provide a backbone for a huge number of businesses worldwide. And evidently, it doesn’t plan on missing out when cannabis firms start to become mainstream. In 2016, Microsoft became the first major company to partner with a marijuana business: Kind Financial. The move was the first of its kind and raised a lot of eyebrows. After all, if Microsoft (which is based in Washington, one of four states with legal cannabis) is willing to dip its toes in the water, that must be a good sign.

2. Scotts Miracle-Gro

Scotts Logo

Scotts logo | Scotts Miracle Gro Company

It makes perfect sense that a company selling products that help grow and cultivate plants would want to get its foot in the door when it comes to the cannabis industry. Scotts Miracle Gro has done just that, positioning itself to become a major supplier of hydroponics and growing equipment for those in the industry. For a market that is set to grow, well, like a weed, Scotts Miracle Gro is already putting its strategy into play that will allow it to capitalize in coming years.

3. Big Tobacco

A farm worker harvests tobacco

A farm worker harvests tobacco | Luke Sharrett/Getty Images

We’re not going to point to one specific company in the tobacco industry because you can bet that all of them are paying very close attention to, and planning for, marijuana legalization. There have been rumors of some of the bigger companies buying up land for eventual farms in parts of California, and other areas around the country. If one industry is set to easily jump in and try to become “Big Marijuana,” it’s Big Tobacco.

4. Monsanto

Images on the wall of fame inside Monsanto agribusiness headquarters in St Louis

Images on the wall of fame inside Monsanto agribusiness headquarters in St Louis | Brent Stirton/Getty Images

A high-yield agricultural commodity just wouldn’t be the same without one of the most reviled companies on Earth being somehow involved. That company, Monsanto, is reportedly paying close attention to the marijuana market and has even started investing in technologies that would allow it to edit the cannabis plant’s genetic makeup — effectively turning it into a GMO.

Imagine that: Green Crack, brought to you by Monsanto.

5. Big Pharma

prescription pills falling out of a bottle

Pills spilling out of a bottle | Source: iStock

Finally, the pharmaceutical industry is perhaps in the most obvious position to take advantage of the end to prohibition. There are a handful of small pharmaceutical companies already working with cannabis compounds to create medications and treatments for diseases, but with a federal bar on many aspects of research and development, several companies are holding back until the dust settles. When it does, though, the green rush will be on.

Follow Sam on Facebook and Twitter @SliceOfGinger

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