The recreational marijuana industry is expanding at a rapid pace. Right now there only two states that allow recreational marijuana sales (Washington and Colorado of course). But Alaska will be soon to follow, as will Oregon, and hopefully someday Washington D.C.. Between now and the end of Election Day 2016, I have as many as 16 states in play that could make a move to legalize recreational marijuana. By the end Election Day 2020, we could see over half the states in America with legal recreational marijuana sales occurring.
If that becomes the case, or even mostly becomes the case, the legal recreational marijuana industry will be massive. So massive that it is drawing the attention of some national brands such as Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream company and Whole Foods. Both companies have stated that when marijuana becomes legal on a large scale, they would definitely consider getting in on the next great american industry. Per CBS:
The founders of Ben & Jerry's ice cream say they would consider selling a cannabis-infused flavor, when it's completely legal.
Co-founder Ben Cohen told the HuffPost Live's Alyona Minkovski the idea "makes sense to me," when asked about a viewer comment suggesting the company make cannabis-infused ice cream.
And per Whaxy:
Could items like these end up on the shelves of large food industry leaders like Whole Foods? ArcView CEO, Troy Dayton, says yes. Dayton reported to Business Insider,
"It's possible that Whole Foods could be the Whole Foods of cannabis."
Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey, reportedly acknowledged that he would be open to the idea ONLY if the plant and infused products were fully legalized and accepted by the local communities.
Troy Dayton continued his thought about the possible cohesion of the two markets to Business Insider,
"John Mackey said he could definitely see a gourmet cannabis section at Whole Foods."
While I wish the marijuana industry would stay a cottage industry, I'm a realist. I realize that where there are lots of dollars to be made, there will be national brands that want to enter the fold. Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and Whole Foods would be great for the industry, unlike some national brands/companies. I know some national brands have expressed interest in advertising to marijuana consumers, without the companies even creating marijuana products. However, none of them have made the leap, yet.