Next Big Corporate Step For Cannabis Biz: Weed Commodity Trading

By Joe Garofoli
San Francisco Chronicle.

For another sign that the multibillion-dollar cannabis industry is becoming more corporate as it surfaces from the underground, look no further than Eddie Miller’s plan to start a marijuana commodities exchange next year in Colorado.

If it goes well in one of four states with a legal adult recreational market, the 30-year-old New York entrepreneur will look to California — where medicinal marijuana is legal — because he thinks it is “absurd” that cannabis isn’t traded on an open, transparent exchange like other agricultural products. Miller feels it is time for the cannabis industry to move beyond its current quasi-legal state in which farmers toss their product in the back of their car and drive it to dispensaries where they sell it for cash.

“It should be like any other commodified good or product,” said Miller, who was in San Francisco this week to host his Cannabis Investor Summit for those looking to back tech-related marijuana ventures.

But Miller’s proposed exchange — one of several fledgling efforts nationally to make cannabis into a commodity — raises thorny questions for those in California’s cannabis industry who want to keep big business at arm’s length as the state weed sector moves out of the shadow of illegality.

Next year, California voters will probably be asked to legalize the adult recreational use of marijuana. California is one of 23 states to allow the medicinal use of weed and Gov. Jerry Brown is currently considering historic legislation that would regulate and structure the medical marijuana world for the first time.

This summer, California’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy, a nonpartisan group charged with offering a policy road map for a legal recreational market, encouraged policymakers to not let Big Tobacco swoop in and dominate the fledgling legal industry.

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