The Business of Marijuana and Wall Street

Several states have the legalization of marijuana on the ballot this November. As it stands now, medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia, while recreational marijuana is legal only in Colorado and Washington. Florida will vote to allow the medical use of marijuana. Voters in Oregon and Alaska will decide on legalizing and regulating recreational marijuana.

America’s emerging cannabis market is shaping up to be one of the country’s biggest industries. But this mushrooming niche sector is also quickly becoming entangled with conflicting state and federal laws dealing with the sale, transportation, and consumption of marijuana.

With many entrepreneurs eager to start businesses to cash in on the green sector, marijuana legalization on local, state, and federal levels is creating problems for buyers, sellers, and users, says Wall Street commodities expert Steve Janjic, CEO of Amercanex, the first full market exchange for the cannabis industry. Amercanex was founded to provide a transparent, neutral, and free marketplace for institutional cannabis industry participants, including growers and retailers.

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Janjic says that the best way to ensure a legal, fair, and accountable business model for the industry is to follow a Wall Street model. The more states allow for cannabis usage, whether medical or recreational purposes, the bigger the industry will get; and the longer the industry goes without a unifying, orderly structure like a commodities exchange, the more scrutiny it will receive, he explains. Janjic proposes an automated system that would avert criticism by allowing all parties to monitor, track, and audit every aspect of every transaction for every participant.

Janjic adds that what’s needed is to ensure regulatory and tax-agency accountability and reporting. Legalization is expected to increase tax revenue, but how will the IRS track the flow of money, he asks. “A Wall Street-like model would provide cultivators and vendors a central electronic platform to buy and sell their inventories anonymously so that only product, quantity, and best available pricing are shown, creating a non-manipulated free market.”