Article by Sandra Fish, Aljazeera America – June 11, 2014
“Handblown glass pipes and bongs are displayed in antique cabinets at the Farm, a marijuana dispensary in one of two states that have legalized the drug.
The walls feature paintings by local artists. There are vaporizers, electronic cigarettes, rolling papers and more. That’s just in the front of the store.
In the back room, “budtenders” are selling gluten-free edibles, lollipops, salves and, of course, marijuana.
Jan Cole’s company grows and harvests its own marijuana strains, but the Farm depends on vendors to provide many of the products sold at the store. The business employs 103 people.
Behind the scenes, there are accountants, lawyers, janitors, Internet providers, soil companies, testing laboratories and more.
The cannabis industry isn’t just pot shops and warehouse grows. It’s an industry that could reach $2.57 billion in value this year, according to the Arcview Group, a San Francisco investment and research firm that focuses on the cannabis business.
While cannabis-related companies want to be recognized and treated like other businesses, there’s also a nonconformist streak in the industry.
“Nobody in this industry really likes corporate America nor want to be corporate America,” said Cole. “We want to keep it colorful.”
West agreed, saying part of the difference is that the cannabis industry grew out of a policy movement, a relatively unusual route.
“What we are trying to do is build an industry that doesn’t look like other industries,” she said. “We want to make sure that we’re growing a responsible, professional industry that isn’t exploitative.”