by: Graham Johnson Updated:SEATTLE —
Marijuana entrepreneurs met wealthy investors in Seattle on Tuesday, both hoping to cash in on the green rush.
A new report from The Arcview Group, which connects cannabis businesses with investors, paints a picture of a fast-growing industry.
The report pegs the nationwide legal marijuana market, for recreational and medical pot, at $1.43 billion and projects it will grow to $2.34 billion next year, a 64 percent jump.
The report predicts in the next five years, 14 more states will legalize recreational use, adding another $10.2 billion of market potential.
Jim Willet of Woodinville used to fly drug interdiction missions as a Navy pilot.
A year ago, he voted against legal pot.
"It struck me like a lightning bolt that you can make money in this industry, and changed my opinion completely," Willet told the opening event at the Arcview Investor Network Startup meeting.
Willet has already invested more than a million dollars in cannabis-related businesses.
"I'm no crusader," Willet said. "I'm in this for the money."
Paul Schrag wants to grow and package marijuana in Tacoma. His company is one of 13 chosen to make pitches to 60 investors. He needs around $500,000 and says "I've never been so excited to be in business."