"It's regulated like plutonium," one cannabis expert said. And the amount of cash laying around due to banking constraints makes the industry ripe for crime. Just ask the man who working at one California dispensary who was shot, robbed, and is now blind as a result of his injuries.
IN Ohio, where the legal cannabis program was supposed to roll out on September 8, the regulations are right out of a spy movie.
Not what you'd expect from an industry that's planning to be the business of the future.
Some of the basic procedures medical marijuana companies will have to follow include unmarked cars, travel point A to point B, randomized routes, manifests before and after delivery.
"I think that cannabis is basically regulated like plutonium," said Cleveland School of Cannabis Dean of Instruction and Student Success Jacob Wagner.
He says plants are tracked "from seed to sale," making sure nothing gets diverted to the black market. When his school's students graduate and become medical marijuana industry employees, they'll wear state-required badges, and their facilities will be watched around the clock through redundant security systems, accessible to regulators in Columbus.
"It's designed to also make sure that every product is tested, every product is properly packaged and properly labeled before it reaches the end consumer, the patient," said Wagner.
But a major concern that will be around even after the industry is off the ground surrounds a different kind of green.
Criminals want the cash, not the marijuana, according to one industry expert. And there is plenty of cash, mainly due to the lack of adequate access to banking services.
One student at the Cleveland School of Cannabis learned that first-hand while getting experience in the medical marijuana industry outside Ohio.
"While he was working at a dispensary in California, he was shot and is now blind as a result of the injuries he suffered," said Wager.
The reason there's so much cash laying around is mostly due to federal law.
Banks and credit card companies have been slow to allow medical marijuana businesses in other states to open accounts, making it a cash business.
So much for the business of the future...