Colorado Expands Recreational Marijuana Business

Colorado’s recreational marijuana industry has been in business for six months now, and is still rapidly expanding. The latest news is that companies are no longer required to have a previous medical marijuana related business to jump into that side of the industry and launch a business. Before July 1st of this year it was required to already have a retail marijuana business license. Colorado is now accepting new applications for businesses that can open up on October 1st. Still, a business owner must be a resident of Colorado for at least two years.

Hundreds of new jobs and businesses could pop up in the state, completely altering the nature of the state’s cannabis industry. Originally recreational retailers needed to follow the same rules as medical marijuana dispensaries. 70% of the cannabis sold had to be grown by the dispensary. But that is being rescinded. On October 1st, however, retail stores and growers will legally be able to address and target specific needs of the industry. Colorado Department of Revenue spokeswoman Natriece Bryant said, “This doesn’t change anything in the application process. Every dispensary still needs to pass the same inspection and regulation as before.”

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292 Notice of Intent applications have landed on the desk of the state’s Revenue Department as of June, the majority of which were plans to apply for a recreational marijuana retail business license. The number for growing operations versus retail shops was not known. The impact of this move on the recreational side of the industry is yet to be determined. Denver has 88 dispensaries and has recently stopped allowing any more within city limits. Aurora on the other hand currently has no shops, started accepting applications on July 1st, and will allow 24 recreational retailers within city limits.

The State of Colorado collected $11 million in taxes in April–nothing to scoff about. Though recreational marijuana is legal within the state, the number of medical patients continues to rise. Owner of the 3D Cannabis Center in Denver Toni Savage Fox told Westword, “Anytime the prices drop, that’s a good thing for the consumer, and we’re absolutely fine with that. Our concern as an industry is at the cultivation level. The state already has a surplus, so where will all of this cannabis go?” While Washington State has been reporting shortages in its recreational roll out, Colorado can’t start selling there without federal approval. With federal approval, interstate commerce will be possible.