Cannabis capitalism: who is making money in the marijuana industry?

Two hours north of San Francisco, in Mendocino county, orderly roadside vineyards give way to the rugged forests and misty coast of the Emerald Triangle, America’s most celebrated marijuana growing region. In June, more than 300 cannabis industry insiders gathered there for a weekend of bonfires, starlit hikes and river swims.

It was a lovely setting to discuss why none of them seemed to be making money.

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“Presently, no one in legalized marijuana is getting rich,” Steve Schain, a senior attorney with the cannabis-focused Hoban Law Group, said.

In Schain’s view, even the largest and most professionally run companies are being built to be acquired when major agriculture, alcohol and pharmaceutical companies consider it safe to profit. Already, immense grow projects, hundreds of thousands of square feet, are coming online in the desert east of Los Angeles, and across Canada.