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Which Sector Of The Cannabis Industry Is The Most Lucrative?

The marijuana industry is booming, especially in the United States. You can now legally buy marijuana for medical purposes in 38 states. What’s more, the recreational use of cannabis is now legal in 23 states – plus a few territories. The cannabis industry is also taking off in countries like Canada and Thailand, where buying […]

Which Sector Of The Cannabis Industry Is The Most Lucrative

The marijuana industry is booming, especially in the United States. You can now legally buy marijuana for medical purposes in 38 states. What’s more, the recreational use of cannabis is now legal in 23 states – plus a few territories. The cannabis industry is also taking off in countries like Canada and Thailand, where buying marijuana is also legal for adults.

With positive attitudes toward cannabis growing, the industry shows no signs of stopping. On the contrary, recent estimates from Fortune Business Insights claim that the global cannabis industry will hit USD 444.34 Billion by 2030. As such, many entrepreneurs will want to get involved. But which sector of the cannabis industry is the most lucrative?

Selling cannabis isn’t your only option. Many businesses have become extremely successful by selling hemp-based CBD products instead. Plus, cannabis retail is just the tip of the iceberg. There are tons of opportunities for growing, testing, processing, and even providing other services to cannabis businesses or customers.

That doesn’t mean that choosing a particular sector is a surefire route to success. You’ll need to know how to write an outstanding cannabis business plan. You’ll also need to know how to market and promote your business appropriately. With that said, there are various lucrative sectors you can consider.

So which sector of the cannabis industry is the most lucrative? Here are 8 of the best options.

Cannabis and CBD Retail

Selling cannabis is one of the most obvious routes into the cannabis industry. With all kinds of consumers demanding easy access to pot, there are plenty of opportunities to open a cannabis dispensary or store. Starting a dispensary can be lucrative, but it’s important to note that it can also be incredibly expensive.

To start a cannabis dispensary in the United States, you’ll need to get a cannabis business license. Not only can this take a lot of time, but it can also be an expensive process. You’ll need to write your business plan and secure a suitable location before getting licensed. You’ll also need plenty of funding, so you should know how to get a loan to open a dispensary.

If you want to avoid the complicated licensing process, you might want to consider selling CBD products instead. Hemp-based CBD oils, edibles, topicals, and vapes are now widely sought-after by consumers looking for a high-free alternative to cannabis. You can sell CBD with a regular business license and a reseller’s license. You can even sell CBD online.

Since it requires less upfront costs, selling CBD online is usually the most lucrative way to get into cannabis retail. Arguably, this is one of the most lucrative sectors of the cannabis industry. With enough marketing and high-quality customer service, a successful online CBD brand can later expand into a physical CBD store and eventually gain a license to sell marijuana products. 

Accessories and Merchandise

You can start a lucrative cannabis industry without selling cannabis at all. You can even avoid selling CBD products if you’d prefer to avoid the confusing laws surrounding CBD products. Many people profit from the growing cannabis industry simply by selling cannabis-related accessories and merchandise.

Many cannabis consumers look for high-quality accessories like lighters, grinders, rolling papers, and rolling trays. Fortunately, it’s surprisingly affordable to buy custom-branded cannabis accessories with your brand name and logo. You can then focus on building your cannabis accessory brand and appealing to a wide range of customers.

Selling products like pipes and bongs can be particularly lucrative. Many cannabis users will pay good money for a well-built glass pipe or a themed bong. Even those who don’t use cannabis at all are occasionally interested in collecting these products as unique pieces of glass art. Just make sure you approach your marketing carefully and avoid mentions of cannabis.

In addition to accessories, you can also sell cannabis-themed merchandise. As long as you have a good designer and some creative ideas, you can produce a range of t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, and other types of merchandise to appeal to a wide audience. Many brands sell a range of accessories and merchandise online or even open a physical head shop.

The cost of producing branded accessories and merchandise is generally much lower than cannabis products. On top of that, the startup costs are much cheaper than dispensaries since you can operate online with a regular business license. As such, this is another lucrative option – although it requires a lot of marketing.

Cannabis and Hemp Growing

Cannabis and Hemp Growing

Growing cannabis is another top consideration for cannabis entrepreneurs. Starting a cannabis cultivation company is a smart way to get involved in the industry if you have enough growing experience. However, with high startup costs and demand in question, whether or not it will be lucrative depends on numerous factors.

You’ll need a cannabis cultivation license to grow and sell cannabis. The licensing process can take a lot of time and can also be costly. What’s more, starting a large-scale cannabis cultivation operation will require a lot of time, money, and equipment. You’ll also need experienced staff and a suitable location for growing.

Additionally, various articles suggest there’s currently an overabundance of marijuana from cultivators in the United States in Canada. Some cultivators even need to burn excess cannabis due to supply exceeding demand by far. Opportunities have recently opened up with Thai companies buying marijuana from overseas. However, unless you have a solid business plan, starting a large-scale cultivation business might not be as lucrative as you hope.

There is another interesting option for cannabis growers. The “craft cannabis” sector has recently become popular among experienced cannabis connoisseurs. These consumers look for unique, high-quality strains from small-scale growers. These strains often sell for much higher prices than mass-produced cannabis. As such, starting a craft cannabis brand could be the most lucrative option for new growers.

Product Testing and Processing

Another interesting option for those looking to get into the cannabis industry is product testing and processing. Cannabis flower strains often need to be tested to ensure they’re safe, potent, and labeled correctly. What’s more, there are tons of other products such as tinctures, edibles, topicals, and vapes that also need to be tested.

Cannabis products sold in the U.S. and Canada must be thoroughly tested and labeled before hitting stores. As such, cannabis testing laboratories are in particularly high demand. With some experienced lab technicians and connections to a wide range of businesses, this can become a particularly lucrative opportunity.

Product processing is another lucrative opportunity for experienced technicians. Cannabis flower strains are often processed into potent cannabis concentrates, oils, topicals, and other such products. Experienced cannabis extraction technicians can make $75,000 to $125,000 per year, and demand for high-quality extracts is growing.

Starting a cannabis testing business requires a cannabis testing license. Processing and producing cannabis products requires a manufacturing license. What’s more, these are complicated jobs and you’ll need to have the experience yourself or hire experienced technicians. With that said, cannabis testing and processing are both in high demand and these can be lucrative opportunities.

Cannabis Tech and Software

If you want to avoid the complicated cannabis business licensing process, you might want to consider cannabis tech and software. Like with any growing industry, tailored technology is needed for a variety of functions. If you can make software for cannabis businesses, you could make a lot of money.

Experienced programmers can experiment and create software themselves. However, if you have zero programming knowledge, you can hire programmers to execute your vision. You’ll need to have an idea that’s unique, practical, and appealing enough that people will pay money to use it.

Creating cannabis software for cannabis businesses is arguably the most lucrative approach. Businesses often pay good money for monthly subscriptions to apps that help them handle their daily tasks. Many apps targeted at dispensaries and growers have taken off and become highly lucrative.

Alternatively, you may want to create an app or website targeted at cannabis consumers. For example, Weedmaps and Leafly have become extremely popular for cannabis delivery. With a unique idea, you could draw in a wide range of consumers and make money via ads, commissions from cannabis companies, or even sell the rights to your app for a hefty sum.

Cannabis Tech and Software

Financial and Consulting Services

One of the biggest problems for cannabis businesses is gaining access to funding. Cannabis businesses in the United States can’t get a business loan from the bank due to the federally illegal nature of marijuana. As such, some people make money by offering alternative routes to funding for cannabis businesses.

Becoming a cannabis investor or starting a venture capital firm can become highly lucrative. If you have enough capital to help cannabis companies, you could help them grow and thrive. You can then profit from their success. With that said, this is the riskiest option on the list. Not only will you need a lot of money, but you’ll need the experience and connections to help these businesses succeed.

You could consider alternative options. For instance, you could act as a middle-man between cannabis companies and funding options for a commission fee. You could even offer a crowdfunding platform for cannabis businesses. However, you’ll need to offer an outstanding service if you want to compete with other services and make money from this.

Those with enough business experience in the cannabis industry may want to consider consulting instead. If you can give cannabis businesses expert advice on matters such as funding, compliance, and marketing, you could stand to make a lot of money. The industry is still young and knowledgeable cannabis entrepreneurs can charge high rates for their expertise.

Cannabis Delivery

Starting a cannabis delivery service is another interesting idea for those looking to make money in the cannabis industry. Many consumers now demand the ability to get their favorite cannabis products transported to their doorstep. If you can offer a trustworthy, reliable delivery service, you could make a great deal of profit.

You’ll need a cannabis delivery license to start a delivery service. You’ll also need to choose a state where cannabis delivery is legal. The industry still faces harsh restrictions and, even in places where it’s legal to buy cannabis, delivery isn’t always an option. As such, you need to choose a suitable location where delivery is legal and in demand.

Naturally, you’ll need a fleet of vehicles and trustworthy drivers. You’ll also need the right equipment to ensure that the cannabis products you deliver aren’t damaged during the ride. Insurance and security are also important. You should also work on your branding to increase your success.

You can reach out to dispensaries and stores and offer to handle delivery for them. Some delivery services also gain licensing for transporting cannabis. That way, they can handle transportation between cannabis suppliers and retailers.

Ancillary Services

One of the best approaches to starting a lucrative business is looking for low-risk, low-cost opportunities. While starting a dispensary or cannabis farm can lead to high revenue, they also require significant startup costs and it can take a while to make a profit. In contrast, starting a cannabis ancillary service can be surprisingly affordable and profitable.

There are many options if you’re looking to start a cannabis ancillary service. For instance, you might want to offer the best legal services, accounting services, or marketing services for cannabis businesses. Other options include recruitment, human resources, and customer service.

These B2B services appeal to a wide range of industries. However, the best way to make a profit is to target your services to a specific industry. Instead of being one of the countless accounting firms out there, becoming the #1 accounting service for local cannabis companies can help your business thrive.

You’ll need to adjust your service to suit the cannabis industry and offer expertise and perks that other services don’t. Make sure to do plenty of market research and create a high-quality business website. You can then contact a range of cannabis companies offering your tailored services. Cannabis companies will pay good money if you offer a service tailored to their needs.

Cannabis Ancillary Services


Which sector of the cannabis industry is the most lucrative? The answer depends on numerous factors. All of the options above can be lucrative with the right approach. However, you’ll need a good cannabis business plan and some smart marketing to help you compete in the industry.

Fortunately, you can find a wide range of cannabis business guides online. For more helpful articles, and a range of custom-branded products to help you build your cannabis brand, visit Cannabis Promotions.