With New Year’s only a day away, the Colorado Rockies are about to get a lot higher. Marijuana will be available for retail purchase after the first of the year. Colorado and Washington State made the historic move of completely legalizing marijuana back in November of 2012 and now the law is about to be implemented.
Colorado, fearing an explosion of marijuana shops, limited existing licenses to stores that already were cleared to sell marijuana for medical purposes but that is only in the beginning. It is only a matter of time before the stores begin popping up all over, selling a variety of intoxicating marijuana products.
Smoking marijuana is not the only type of pot that is being offered up for sale at the dispensaries. There are cookies, sodas, lollypops, rice crispie treats, baked goods, oils, candies and liquids. Companies who had only previously produced limited quantities for medical patients have ramped up production to meet recreational needs.
Colorado has been one of the leaders in the country in terms of pot legalization. The State used to boast that there were more medical marijuana dispensaries in Denver than Starbucks. Now the State is going to be one of the first major beneficiaries of an industry that analysts are saying will grow faster than even smart phones over the next ten years. A Colorado State University study estimates the state will ring up $606 million in sales next year, and the market will grow from 105,000 medical pot users to 643,000 adult users.
The Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, originally predicted that it would be years before residents were able to legally toke up. Hickenlooper expected that there would be a Department of Justice court challenge which would stay the law’s implementation. The DOJ decided, in the end, that it was not worth challenging the law. Instead they decided to issue an eight point check list which they expect the States to abide by, including instituting safeguards to insure that people don’t use the State to stock up and transfer out of State. Additionally, the DOJ wants to make sure that drug kingpins do not use their illegal cash and experience to infiltrate the industry.
With the future uncertain for the future of Marijuana in the US, and polls showing most Americans wanting marijuana legalize in all States, all eyes are turned to Colorado and Washington to see what the future holds.
Do you agree with Colorado and Washington State that marijuana should be legal for recreational use?