Legal cannabis is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States with a projected annual growth rate of 31%. The total market projection for legal cannabis sales in 2020 is $21.8 billion.

Many entrepreneurs in San Diego are looking to capitalize on the cannabis business boom.

“You keep your wine in wine fridge, your liquor in a bar, your cigars in a humidor, why are we keeping our high quality cannabis in a shoebox under the bed,” said Whitney Beatty, Founder and C.E.O. of Apothecarry, a stylish storage system designed to keep cannabis at its optimum condition.

Cannabis capitalists, like Beatty, are looking to hit it big with a unique business opportunity. In a non-descript office building in Mira Mesa, there are roughly a dozen entrepreneurs, working to make money  off marijuana. The sign on the front of the door reads “Canopy San Diego,” it’s a business accelerator program for technology based ancillary products and service companies targeting the legal cannabis industry.

Jack Scatizzi and Eric Gomez are the founding partners of Canopy San Diego.  According to Scatizzi, Canopy San Diego offers each individual business $20,000 upfront, plus 16 weeks of training and mentorship, in exchange for 5 to 10% equity in their company.

“What we’re looking to do is import people with backgrounds from other industries and drop them into the cannabis industry to develop the right solutions for this business,” said Scatizzi.

The hope is that these business ventures will be up, running and ready to be successful when recreational marijuana use becomes legal in California in 2018.

In addition to the designer marijuana storage box by Apothecarry, other businesses include a platform for medical marijuana patients to achieve better health outcomes, a cloud based marijuana business solution, an electric tracking system for commerical cannabis cultivations and even a digital news network to cover the business of pot.

Adelia Carrillo, C.E.O. of Direct Cannabis Network, says her marijuana news based website is getting more visitors each month and credits the growth to the ability to collaborate freely with fellow entrepreneurs at Canopy, “To be able to bounce ideas off of other people, to be able to see what their hardships are, what their similarities are even though we are different companies.  So it was very inspiring, motivating and everybody kinds of keeps everybody accountable.”

Canopy San Diego accepts up to 10 companies every 6 months into their accelerator program, it does not invest in companies that directly cultivate or dispense cannabis.

Original Article via NBCSanDiego