The seeds for retail, 21+ cannabis in Colorado have been planted throughout this year, and they’re currently being sowed so that when the calendar turns to 2014, they can sprout up almost immediately. And based on a report from the Denver Post, up to 100 recreational marijuana facilities could open as soon as January 1, 2014, the first day the future shops (136 have applied thus far) will be eligible to do so.
Likewise, Colorado’s cannabis tourism bubble could and should burst early next year, if (or when) these shops can open their doors to anyone over the age of 21 from any state or any country in the entire world. Even though these tourists probably (foolishly) won’t have any place to legally smoke this weed, they will still flock here like Americans used to flock to Amsterdam, because where there’s weed, there’s a way to smoke it without getting caught (see: stealthy vaporizers).
While public consumption should and will rightly be prohibited, it’s already prominent in Denver and Boulder–and there simply won’t be enough cops to cope with all the smoke. Plus, don’t expect hotels or cafes in Colorado to make a fuss if someone’s lighting up a joint on a patio–they already turn a blind eye.
As for the businesses, you can expect them to boom, and keep coming on at a slow but steady pace. Colorado began accepting the applicants for retail stores in October, all coming from people who already own a medical-marijuana business in the state (one of Amendment 64′s strong provisions), all of which Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division will make a formal decision made on by the end of the year.
The division, which oversees Colorado’s regulation of marijuana businesses, accepted 136 applications in October from people seeking to open recreational pot shops. The division also accepted 28 applications for recreational marijuana-infused-products businesses and 174 applications for recreational cultivation facilities.
The ones given the green light are, by law, allowed to open their doors on January 1. Naturally, if a recreational facility is OK’d on December 30th, it will likely take them more than two days to get their acts and meds together. So in summation, you can expect Colorado’s already solid industry to expand from a little over 1,500 certified businesses right now to closer to 2,000 sometime next year:
Colorado has 517 medical-marijuana dispensaries, 138 medical-marijuana-infused products businesses and 736 medical-marijuana-cultivation facilities, according to the Marijuana Enforcement Division.
“It’s expensive,” Meg Collins, the executive director of the Cannabis Business Alliance, said in explaining why so few medical-marijuana businesses are seeking to add a recreational component. “In the discussions I’ve had with folks, I think that one of the things that possibly forestalled people from immediately jumping in is the financial consideration.”
Coming full circle, the state of Colorado is already reaping the financial reward of legal weed–which is kind of the point (or excuse) of this historical moment in America, after all:
Application fees for new recreational-marijuana businesses start at $500 and licensing fees range from $2,750 to $14,000, depending on the type of business and other factors. Postlethwait said the division has not finished its accounting on how much money it collected in October, but estimated that application fees alone brought in around $179,000. [Denver Post]
That’s a lot of dough, and a major aid to the state’s once crumbling financial state that medical marijuana resuscitated not so long ago. The report also notes here are still more applicants in the woodworks that have yet to meet with Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division, so, as noted, expect more businesses added to that 136 number.
While the state is still working to finalize its legal weed tax situation, Colorado remains light-years ahead of Washington’s schedule. And it’s the place to be in 2014 if you like to get high–legally.