With more and more states answering the call to legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational use, cottage industries supporting the once-illicit herb are cropping up to cash in on "the new gold rush."
Saturday marks the Chicagoland stop of a 10 nation tour by the LA-based Cannabis Career Institute. In the day-long $250 course, a release for the institute says students will learn of the "opportunities and steps toward business ownership and employment in the Cannabis Industry."
The release continues:
"Cannabis is an industry that shows promise in the current job market. It is estimated that job openings in the cannabis industry have grown over 3,000 percent since 2005. Cannabis Related Business Ownership has also shown massive growth over the last few years."
Colorado, which netted $2.2 million in sales tax of medical marijuana in 2010 alone, recently snagged $1 million in investments from a group that calls the cannibus business "the next great American industry."
With a population more than double the size of Colorado's, Illinois stands to rake in even more tax dollars when the new medical marijuana law goes into effect Jan. 1 2014.
Just days after Illinois' new medical marijuana bill was signed into law this summer, Chicago's first medical marijuana clinic was prepping to open its doors making it among the first businesses in the area to capitalize on the burgeoning cash crop.
At Saturday's Cannabis Career Institute in suburban Rosemont, students will learn the ins and outs of owning businesses like a dispensary or a grow operation. Calling weed "the new gold rush," ABC Chicago said students at the pot college will also learn to bake marijuana into brownies, cookies and cakes."
"Although for some, that will undoubtedly be a college refresher course," ABC's Chuck Goudie adds (embedded above).
Despite the promise the weed industry holds, would-be "cannabusiness" owners, uncertainly still abounds in Illinois, where the new law is actually a 4-year pilot program with heavy restrictions.
"A lot of people think this is just: Throw a few plants in the ground, raise them, sell them and make a lot of money," cannabis industry professional Tom Marty told DNAinfo last month. "It's actually quite difficult to turn a profit in this industry."