Cannabis, via Amazon

In light of the recent Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods, Brent Beshore—CEO of, an investment firm—announced the addition of an “Amazon-specific due diligence section” to the company’s acquisition process. In Relentless, the article describing the move, Beshore said:

“Following the news of Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, I wonder if there is a company leader that isn’t questioning if and how Amazon will compete in—and transform—their market. I’ve joked that there’s no other company that could acquire a gamer-focused live-streaming platform and a grocery store chain, let alone have each universally praised as “strategic.” The 800-pound gorilla (perhaps a better analogy would be The Borg) keeps gaining weight, and it feels like no industry will be left untouched.”

I’m not an investor, but even my untrained eye can see that this is a sensible move. After all, it pays to pay attention to those with power and influence. But it does raise a question. Beshore says that “it feels like no industry will be left untouched.” But what about cannabis?

Certain states in the U.S. and other countries around the world have decriminalised possession of small amounts of the drug. For example, it’s legal to possess, sell, transport and cultivate cannabis in Uruguay. In Spain, you can possess it and grow it, but there’s technicalities concerning sales and transport. So how long is it before we see its sale and distribution online? Not via the dark or deep web, but via a global platform like Amazon that features a dizzying array of varieties, user-supplied ratings and reviews, returns policies, next-day deliveries, algorithms that suggest items to accompany your purchase, and product descriptions for each particular strain? How long before the illicit online marketplace for drugs surfaces and gets attention from companies, investors, entrepreneurs and other institutions willing to throw their weight—and money—at it?