Meet the new pot entrepreneurs

Washington State's budding marijuana industry has drawn entrepreneurs from all careers and backgrounds.

The reformed drug dealer

marijuana industry shy sadis
  • Entrepreneur: Shy Sadis
  • Background: Illicit drug dealer, real estate
  • Weed-related job: Dispensary owner

While most other dispensary owners are preoccupied selling weed, Shy Sadis is building a brand.

Walk into The Joint of Seattle, and you'll see the company logo everywhere. Merchandise like T-shirts and hats are as prominent as the cannabis strains on the counter. There's even a daily deal: Free Joint Friday, for example.

In that sense, Sadis is trying something unique for the marijuana industry. Other dispensaries are typically decorated like a college dorm room, with Bob Marley posters and low lights. Sadis keeps his place brightly lit, and professionally packaged products line the glass counter. It's more mall retail shop than back alley pub.

"I see the big picture of franchising The Joint all over the United States," he said. "We could take The Joint to L.A., Chicago, New York. It's going to be a success."

That is, if the states those cities are in also embrace legalization.

Retail weed is a perfect combination of his legitimate -- and black market -- business experience. Sadis accumulated wealth by flipping real estate and owning apartment buildings. He learned the ways of marijuana as a drug dealer. He embraces the opportunity to turn his once-illegal side business into a semi-legal entrepreneurial project.

"I made the jump because I'm older, I have kids, and I don't want to get in trouble," he said.

  @Jose_Pagliery - Last updated May 06 2013 08:31 AM ET

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