During the month of November, nine states will consider ballot measures correlated to cannabis. The big one is California, where voters could make pot legal for recreational use. “It’s just a fascinating time and place to be,” stated Al Vaks, who came from San Francisco looking for business opportunities for himself and his partners.

Steve Gormley is CEO of Seventh Point – a private equity firm that invests in legal medical marijuana companies in California. Gormley said he and most of his investors don’t consume the wacky-tobaccy.

“Imagine what it was like for Seagram, or Joe Kennedy, or other entrepreneurs investing in the alcohol business three to five years before Prohibition was repealed,” he stated.

“A lot of people on Wall Street, a lot of professional investors, will wake up on November 9 realizing that they are two years behind in terms of understanding the industry and how to invest in it,” said Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Privateer Holdings, a Seattle-based private equity holding company that owns and operates marijuana-related companies.

Privateer has invested in a Bob Marley brand of pot and a kind of cannabis encyclopedia called Leafly. Scotts Miracle-Gro has been buying companies that support marijuana farmers – such as lighting and hydroponics stores through its subsidiary Hawthorne Gardening.

He recognizes that corporate and private equity money is inevitable and may even be good for the industry.

“It’s almost like you invented something and you’re holding it in your hand and some big bully comes along and takes it out of your hand and says, ‘Thank you very much for all your hard work,'” he said.

“The little store owner – the hydroponic store owner – is going to be put out of business by national chains,” he said.

“It just is. Either that or you get your game together and you start having the business practices and start doing it the same way as the big boys do.” The same thing applies to new investors expecting to get rich quick.

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