The future of cannabis is mainstream retail

Illustration of a marijuana plant traveling through a grocery store checkout line
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Brendan Kennedy, the head of one of the world's largest cannabis investment firms, says he's mostly seeing recycled business plans but believes the industry's next phase of startup innovation will be around everyday products sold by mainstream retailers.

Thesis: Kennedy says that Cannabis 1.0 related directly to the flower, while Cannabis 2.0 was about beverages. He believes Cannabis 3.0, which is just beginning, will be in all sorts of consumables (shampoos, lotions, cookies, etc.) that will sit alongside more "traditional" versions at places like Walgreens and Target.

College towns are becoming economic powerhouses

llustration of a bar chart with the highest bar sporting a college graduation cap
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

College towns are emerging as economic powerhouses, thanks to their outsized share of the young, highly educated workers who are in such high demand. And as more students stay put after graduation, college towns' potential is only growing.

The big picture: Major universities — particularly research institutions and those affiliated with nearby medical centers — employ tens of thousands of people and spend billions annually.