Now a local "pot school" is paving the way for opportunity in the weed business.
The Seattle gold rush exploded more than 100 years ago, when a ship pulled in to Pier 57 filled with Yukon gold. Suddenly everybody wanted to be a gold miner.
Today, the ship is Initiative 502 - the legalization of marijuana.
George Boyadjian wants to make it big, just like some people did during the Yukon gold rush. And he wants to succeed - by helping the all the people in a one-of-a-kind classroom.
"Chasing the American dream. I want to make it," he says.
Class in is session at Washington Cannabis Institute, the school Boyadjian founded. Sixty-six future entrepreneurs are learning how to run a marijuana-related business.
"I found my cup of tea wasn't mining for gold," says Boyadjian.
He chooses to make his living like the stores that supplied the hopeful gold miners of yesterday.
"The people who were making the money, making a living, were the people selling the maps, the picks and shovels telling people where to get the gold at," he says.
And that's just fine with Peter Acquaro, a student in Boyadjian's class.
"They seem interested in giving me a well-rounded education here," he says.
Like many in this class, Acquaro believes he has a marketable idea.
"I wanted to be able to drink my cannabis with a beer," he says.
Acquaro has been brewing at home and believes his product will appeal to medicinal marijuana users - as well as folks interested simply in pleasure.
"It's just another recreational substance - just like alcohol. And it's out there for everybody to enjoy who's 21 and older," he says.
This business school is providing him a foundation.
"I'm not just giving them food for the day. I'm giving them a future. I'm giving them hope," says Boyadjian.
The Cannabis Institute started four years ago in California. Students pay $300 for a two-day seminar.