Nearly a year ago, New York Assemblyman Steve Katz found himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. He was busted for marijuana possession when he was pulled over for speeding.
The news shocked many people, mostly because the Republican lawmaker had voted repeatedly against legalizing marijuana—even for medicinal use. But Katz has changed his tune.
"I am a national advocate for medical marijuana and, ultimately, adult-use marijuana," he said. "And in the process I am also an investor starting a number of businesses."
(Read more: How former DEA agents became pot proponents)
The nascent pot industry has attracted people from all quarters. Whether they are interested in investing in or consulting for cannabis businesses, the most unlikely candidates are jumping on the bud bandwagon.
For example, Pennsylvania State Sen. Daylin Leach was among more than 100 participants in Arcview Group's cannabis investor conference in Las Vegas in January.
"The idea that we put people in prison for marijuana … it's just an irrational policy," said Leach, a Democrat who is running for Congress.
"It's cruel, it's heartless, it makes no sense," Leach said. "Twenty years from now we are going to have exhibits at museums about prohibition on marijuana like we do about alcohol as some sort of quaint relic of our past and wondered why we ever went down that road."