When Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill earlier this month that will legalize medical marijuana in Illinois, it opened up a new industry to legitimate investment in the state, albeit an industry that is still illegal under federal law and thus carries a unique risk.
According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, more than 200 people paid as much as $375 each to attend a meeting in Chicago about the medical marijuana business. There, the Tribune said, a consensus emerged that the heavy capital costs of starting a dispensary or cultivation center in Illinois is a riskier investment than starting most other types of businesses. That’s partly because of federal legal uncertainties, but also because the state law is written in such a way that many in the crowd felt business wouldn’t get off the ground until many months after the official January 1 legalization date, according to the report.
DNAinfo Chicago quoted one cannabis consultant saying that people thinking of jumping in to the field ought to think of it more like a nonprofit than anything else.