On Friday, marijuana smokers in the U.S. lit up legally to mark "420", an unofficial holiday to celebrate the drug. This year, Americans who enjoy smoking a joint do have a lot to celebrate with recreational marijuana legal in nine states and medical marijuana legal in a further 29. A Gallup poll conducted in October of last year found that 64 percent of the U.S. public now favors legalization. Considering all of that, the U.S. market for legal marijuana has gained serious momentum in recent years with a whole range of startups getting involved in the fledging industry.
Companies are capitalizing on an industry that offers boundless possibilities from agriculture and healthcare innovation to digital content and data analytics. Back in late 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes and by 2015, disclosed funding in the market stood at $239 million. By 2017, that had climbed steeply to $593 million, according to CB Insights' 2018 Marijuana Trailblazers report. As well as looking at total cannabis funding, the report also analyzed the startups attracting the most funding, finding healthcare the most lucrative market segment.
Canada-based Tilray is a medical marijuana producer and it comes first for funding with disclosed investment coming to $47 million. Teewinot Life Sciences, another company in the healthcare category, comes second by disclosed funding with $19.3 million. Compliance company Green Bits comes a close third with an investment of $19.2 billion. Other companies on the top-10 list are involved in agriculture, data & insights, digital content and operations.