I have a crystal ball in front of me, and I’m gazing deeply into it. I’m seeing a future, one that is bright, yet has a common feel. One that seems unfamiliar, yet refreshingly new. I’m seeing a vibrant cannabis marketplace. Cannabis-based goods and services are being exchanged between buyers and sellers for a price, much like other products. Entrepreneurs are establishing companies that make their wares available for purchase; consumers are perusing these offerings and buying the ones that fulfill their particular need at the time. The market is regulated to ensure a level playing field, but success or failure is determined by market forces like solid business plans, supply and demand - not the blunt end of a battering ram or a cash-only black market profiteer. There has been an evolution among the five medical marijuana ballot initiatives fielded in Ohio over the past five years, with the most recent one, the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment, quickly gaining speed as its aims for the 2014 ballot. However, the very first attempt, the Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment, will hold a special place in history because it uniquely laid out a cannabis marketplace for Ohio based on the fines, fees and licenses that successfully regulate wine and vineyards in the state. While Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine unfortunately rejected this amendment in September 2011, largely because of its 32-page length, its silver lining serves as the numeric basis on which market projections can be calculated. Granted, the amendment envisioned enactment in 2012 and its model employed the realities existent at the time, but its crystal ball nonetheless projected annual revenue, expenses and taxes five years into the future – 2017. The resulting numbers are staggering, though they are rough guesses. Over the course of those five years, remembering that the program would roll out incrementally, patient numbers in Ohio would equal 155,000, fees and taxes payable to the State of Ohio would exceed $100 million, and total sales would come close to $1 billion. These guestimates tie solely to medical cannabis and exclude the ancillary products and services that support the market. This market is quickly coming to fruition. As Cheryl Shuman pointed out during her recent presentation at the Advertising Week 2013 conference, “Cannabis is going to be a legal multibillion dollar business by 2016. The toothpaste is out of the tube.” And Ohioans are pushing it. To illustrate, I refer to the upcoming “Cheryl Shuman – Coming Home to Ohio tour – in support of the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment” scheduled to begin on Thursday, October 10, and traverse the state to end in Cleveland on Saturday, October 19. Sponsors are everywhere. Just watch any show, website, event, game or tour. This tour is no exception, yet compared to the days before the genesis of ballot initiatives, corporate sponsorships in the Cannabis marketplace were virtually nonexistent. The tour proudly boasts six of them. The success of these sponsors and those like them form the future marketplace I see in my crystal ball: HempMedsPX™: offers mainstream marketing, sales, customer service, and logistics for the cannabis industry. Its goal is to provide the world with the amazing benefits of hemp CBD. Cheryl Shuman brings 25 years of industry experience to her agency with a list of satisfied “A-List” clients. Shuman specializes in lifestyle, entertainment and consumer marketing, never underestimating the importance of viral marketing as well as grassroots initiatives. Bhang Chocolates: Makes Bhang’s award-winning medicated chocolate bars and is committed to remaining the established leader, founded first and foremost on making world class chocolate. Plant Kingdom Snackery and Bakery: Serving up scrumptious hemp seed and vegan goodies since 2008, Plant Kingdom Bakery & Snackery keeps you energized & feeling great. New Snackery location with No Whey vegan chocolates is now open at 5361 Mayfield Road in Lyndhurst, Ohio. Apeks Supercritical: The leading U.S. manufacturer of supercritical and liquid CO2 based botanical oil extraction equipment. Founded over a decade ago on the principle of building a safe, reliable systems and running a company with integrity, Apeks systems are the industry benchmark for safety and ease of operation. Cannabis Career Institute: An innovator in the field of marijuana education with a focus on business technique, CCI has set the trend by creating a step-by-step method of doing business and providing it on a silver platter for students. Hemptations: In business since 1995 with the long term goal of seeing American farmers once again grow industrial hemp, Hemptations prides itself on providing customers with the best-quality and largest selection of hemp products in the world. There you have it, the elements of profitable new industry: sales, customer service, logistics, viral marketing, world class products, new outlets, reliable systems, innovation, education and long term goals. After passage of the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment, Cannabis will indeed have a bright new future in Ohio and my crystal ball does predict that a vibrant marketplace will result from it.

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