Legalization prompts potential entrepreneurs to learn about the business of marijuana

D.C.'s new law legalizes possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana, and also allows people to grow their own.

WASHINGTON — Now that marijuana is legal in the nation’s capital, prospective pot entrepreneurs gathered in a daylong conference Saturday to learn about the business of pot.

“We teach people how to grow, we teach regular citizens and potential dispensary owners and current dispensary owners on how to grow their own cannabis,” says David DeGraff, CEO of the Denver-based “Grow School.”

Business-minded people swarmed exhibitors’ tables like that of the Grow School and Montgomery Hydroponics.

“We have everything you would need for indoor gardening, HPS, high pressure sodium, hydroponic soil, whatever you wish,” says Daniel Sims, the owner of the Montgomery County based firm, Montgomery Hydroponics.

Some of Sims’ LED grow lights sell for $349 each.

“LEDs are the wave of the future, no heat, no bulb costs,” Sims says.

D.C.’s new law legalizes possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana, and also allows people to grow their own. Once the weed is successfully cultivated, Alan Amsterdam has the latest technology for smoking it.

“I’m selling bongs, vaporizers, grinders, anything that you would need to smoke cannabis,” Amsterdam says. It’s quite a change of affairs for Amsterdam, whose former business, Capitol Hemp, was forced to close in the city in September 2012.

“Freedom has finally come our way,” he says.

Possession of marijuana remains against federal law and a violation could earn a person a year in prison. Strangely, in the city that has just legalized it, the marijuana convention was conducted in the same building that houses the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).   Two of the agency’s security guards looked on quizzically as potential marijuana business executives filed by.

But in the exhibit space, there was no sweet aroma of marijuana plants, no smoke wafting in the air and no one looked buzzed.  Instead, most people attending the “ComfyTree Cannabis Academy, Grow School and Job Fair” seemed to share the like-minded goal of making money from legalized pot in D.C.

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