Cannabis is a stigmatizing topic, and getting involved in the industry (much less advocating for CBD, hemp, and THC decriminalization) makes you a target of a lot of ire. It’s no different than what people have always faced in vice industries like gambling, alcohol, tobacco, and sex, so you’re not alone.
Some cannabis businesses don’t even deal with cannabis itself, instead making auxiliary products like vape pens, location services, advertising platforms, and home processing machines. Many of these products have applications far beyond just marijuana and drugs, encompassing culture, gardening, herbal remedies, and more.
Still, attending marijuana business conferences over the years taught me even having THC in your name can be toxic for a brand trying to secure investments. Many of the uber rich are older and conservative, especially on the east coast, which is taking much longer to catch up to West Coast U.S. and even Canadian values.
If you’re looking to get involved in the legal cannabis industry but don’t want to get your hands dirty or feel judged, try one of these marijuana-adjacent brands.
Weedmaps generates an estimated $14.5 million in revenue each year by charging recreational and medical marijuana dispensaries for different tiers of listings. In large markets like Seattle, some brands shell out tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars each month for prominent listings on WeedMaps, making them a darling in the tech space too.
Leafly is wholly owned by Privateer Holdings, and it’s touted as the largest marijuana database online. Over 15 million people a month visit Leafly to verify strains, seek out effects and advice, read the blog, find a dispensary, and more. While WeedMaps seemingly cornered the market of dispensary mapping, Leafly is an overall more user-friendly site featuring a deep archive of useful information.
3. Magical Butter
Magical Butter is widely hailed as the cannabis industry’s first success story, with many comparing it to the George Foreman Grill in popularity. The Magical Butter machine is a countertop appliance that can infuse any herbs into any base. This means you can make herbal-infused butter, coconut oil, soap, lotion, and more. While cannabis flower is the obvious “herb” to use, lavender, mint, and other herbal infusions have benefits too. It’s a home-Ayurveda expert’s dream.
Although most individual states are accepting of recreational cannabis and medical marijuana, the nation as a whole is not. That leaves tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon with the duty of oppressing legally operating businesses. Mantis thankfully stepped in to help cannabis-based businesses advertise on platforms that are more 420-friendly so they don’t waste money on social media and other marketing platforms that will inevitably disappear.
5. High Times
There are a ton of cannabis-focused publications these days, but High Times was doing it way before it was cool. And it’s still operating today (albeit on a much more stringent budget to compete). I’m published in High Times, as are legends like Hunter S. Thompson and Jack Herer. It’s still a great magazine to keep up with all things cannabis, drugs, activism, and counterculture.
6. Fox Farm
Fox Farm is a respected brand of cannabis nutrients, and they make specialized plant foods for all growth stages. If you’re going to grow your own cannabis, whether commercially or personally, you need the right nutrients to produce the best yield at harvest. This nutrient company is beloved by all and selling nothing federally illegal or illicit.
Jason Spatafora is the legal cannabis industry’s first investment wizard, and he expertly navigated the industry to make a fortune. His secret is investing in cannabis auxiliary businesses, which is why he makes this list. In fact, having met and worked with the wolf several times myself over the years, he’s basically the inspiration for this listicle.
8. BESTVA LED
Indoor grows need light. It’s the single most important factor to the success of your harvest. In fact, major cannabis cultivators and grow house designers measure a grow operation’s viability by watts-per-square-inch. The more full-spectrum light you get covering every inch of your plants, the more volume of high-quality buds they’ll produce. BESTVA LED lights are loved by both at-home and commercial growers.
9. Tweedle Farms
CBD is gaining a lot of ground in mainstream society’s acceptance. Having made the rounds through all the other processed products, it’s now getting popular as a smokeable herb. Tweedle Farms grows a variety of low-THC, high-CBD strains that meet legal requirements to be used as CBD supplements. And they look just like real buds. I’m in love with this Oregon-based hemp farm, and we’ll be doing a deeper dive into their products soon.
10. Storz & Bickel
Storz and Bickel has been making vape equipment for a long time, and these devices are only getting more sophisticated by the minute. While primarily used to vape cannabis concentrates and flowers, these vape pens can vape any drug, plant, or substance you’d like to heat and inhale. And because they’re basically just heating elements, they’ll likely be around forever moving forward. We get it, you vape. And it’s finally a socially acceptable thing to do, if you can manage it without being a douche.
This is just a small sampling of auxiliary cannabis businesses. Each of these companies has dozens of competitors in their individual niches, and we haven’t even touched on all the other consultants, law firms, HVAC, gardening, science, tech, and other companies with their hands in the proverbial pot.
Cannabis may be a long ways away from federal decriminalization and legalization, but it’s even further away from 20th century-style prohibition. We’ve come a long way, baby…