Marijuana Greens The Colorado Economy
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Marijuana Greens The Colorado Economy
Posted by CN Staff on May 25, 2013 at 06:15:28 PT
By Sherry Robinson, Syndicated Columnist
Source: Farmington Daily Times
Colorado -- Last week, a family wedding occasioned a visit to Colorado, marijuana capital of the nation. I'd been wondering how our northern neighbor's bold legalization was playing out. So far, the feared consequences haven't materialized, but some unintended consequences have.Observation No. 1: There is no big uptick in teenage marijuana use. As my youngest brother explained, "If your mom can smoke weed, it isn't cool any more." Observation No. 2: It's been great for the state's economy.
Colorado approved medical marijuana in 2000, and it's now a $200 million industry that pays more than $5 million a year in state sales taxes. The state and cities are now salivating over potential revenues from recreational marijuana sales but must find the equilibrium between a "good tax" and one that drives cannabis sales underground.The new law requires adjustments large and small. Police drug dogs are trained to sniff out marijuana and other drugs; now they either have to be retrained or police have to ignore marijuana when they find it.The law allows everyone to have 1 ounce, the equivalent of a joint. Unlicensed sales are illegal, and the licenses are not only costly (five to six figures, plus security requirements), but growers must open their books. Regulators say this will prevent growers from selling to underage customers because they have so much at risk. And while you might expect a host of backyard hippie growers, the first entrants into the business were Colorado's commercial greenhouses and big florists. One of the major unintended consequences is that the growers have no place to bank. Colorado banks won't take marijuana money because they fear punishment by federal regulators. This is one of those problems that will resolve itself eventually out of sheer demand.Another unintended consequence is that anybody with Colorado license plates can expect to be stopped in Texas. Law enforcement in the Lone Star State had a fine time interrupting the youthful cavalcade making its way to Austin for the music festival South by Southwest. Texans now warn their Colorado pals to not be carrying if they come visit.A looming question is what the Justice Department will do, and despite formal inquiries from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, the U.S. Attorney General hasn't yet said. He may be waiting to see how Colorado and Washington regulate themselves. The federal government could raid the big growers and dispensaries but hasn't. Meanwhile, Colorado busily adds more regulations to the books and considers itself ahead of Washington state, which has the same law but has been slow to regulate.I saw a bit of the new law in action during my visit, which is to say, there wasn't much action. My niece rented the upper story of a popular downtown club for her evening wedding. I wondered if people would toke up during the reception. Nope. Some conventions still hold.I wondered if wedding guests or the club's customers would light up outside. Nope. The law forbids public use, although that didn't dampen Denver's big public pot party in April. One of my nonsmoking brothers said he recently attended a rock concert and had to leave because the fumes were overpowering.For a micro-economic view of medical marijuana's impact on business, there is my youngest brother, who launched a caf in the depth of the recession. Down the street is a marijuana dispensary whose customers pick up their "product" and then come into the caf to eat.The macro view: Imagine the stimulus of more than 700 warehouse growers, 500-plus dispensaries, and 150 processors statewide. In Denver alone, the industry leases a million square feet. And Colorado's tourism trade is rising on the leafy attraction.Marijuana, says my 76-year-old stepmom who would never touch the stuff, "has saved Denver's economy."Sherry Robinson is a New Mexico journalist who began her career in 1976 and has served as assistant business editor and columnist with the Albuquerque Journal, editor of New Mexico Business Weekly and business editor of the Albuquerque Tribune.Source: Farmington Daily Times (NM)Author: Sherry Robinson, Syndicated ColumnistPublished: May 24, 2013Copyright: 2013 NorthWest New Mexico Publishing Co.Contact: jelchert daily-times.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #4 posted by mexweed on May 26, 2013 at 23:39:58 PT:
Basic math
"One ounce, the equivalent of a joint..."-- notice how journalists talk about joint smoking even if they don't know anything about herb-- actually, despite a hundred years' trillion-dollar advertising blitz to "normalize" HBOM Hot Burning Overdose Monoxide cigarette papers, there are today increasing numbers of users who understand the vape toke technique. Using a screened one-hitter with long flexible extension tube, you can get 1132 single tokes (25 mg each) out of an ounce of properly presifted cannabis-- or assuming you bought the ounce unbroken, at least 900 single tokes after sifting out the Pot (seeds go in the flower Pot, stems in the tea Pot). Anyone who wants to help clear up the prevailing ignorance (and help Colorado look intelligent) should visit the wikiHow article, "How to Sift Herbs for Smoking Use", revise, improve, add pictures etc. 
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Comment #3 posted by Paul Pot on May 25, 2013 at 18:51:23 PT:
No regs. Cheap and free.
Stop trying to squeeze money out of a stone. 
Taxes on things are discriminatory. Remember the 1937 Marijuana tax act. The only tax necessary is an income tax, then everyone is on the same level. 
The government is already saving heaps by not policing a law that doesn't work. Money spent on pot is now going into legit pockets and economy. And if pot is cheaper then people get to save money and they can spend that with other legit business's so other shop keepers are happy. 
Medicine should be cheap and ones choice of relaxant should be cheap especially being the safer choice to all the other drugs. Cheap marijuana equals lower alcohol and pharmaceutical consumption. 
We don't need regs because marijuana is safe and people should be able to make cottage industries from it that will put money back into rural communities. 
And any money saved is a good thing as we need capital in our banks now as we are seriously in debt. 
And banks, how come the banks won't touch our little money? When it came to Wachovia and HSBC they were allowed to keep the 1.1 trillion they had laundered for the Mexican cartels. Pot money is legal at the big end of town and as the author says, soon will be at our level. 
But the really big money is in the hemp industry. 
And hemp is something that gets value from being common. The more there is, the more of an industry there is and the more there can be made from it, and a lot of things can be made from hemp. 
The futures so bright I gotta wear shades.
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on May 25, 2013 at 12:00:53 PT
My favorite pro-pot song.
"Don't Fear the Reefer"-Blue Oyster Cult.
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Comment #1 posted by Swazi-X on May 25, 2013 at 11:39:40 PT
One Thing
One ounce is not the equivalent of one joint. An ounce is 28 grams, a big fat joint is about 1 gram. A big, fat one.And it's too bad there is no uptick in teenage cannabis use - that means those kids are still playing with alcohol, Nyquil and whatever they can snarf from their parents' medicine chests - oxy, vicodin, etc. Much better to have them smoke weed instead, at least for their health. And no - it doesn't kill brain cells. According to our own grand Federal Government's Dept. of Health and Human Services (who has a patent on cannabinoids for this exact thing) it is a neuro-protectant. It protects brain cells.Even better - eat raw, undried, unheated cannabis buds. All the health benefits, no high at all!
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