For the first six months of legal recreational cannabis sales in Colorado, only current medical cannabis dispensary owners could own and operate a recreational cannabis store. That policy changed recently to allow non-dispensary owners to apply for a cannabis business license. There was also a provision in place that required store owners to grow their own cannabis. That policy also changed to allow people to specialize in just retail, or just cultivation.
The new businesses are expected to open in October. This will no doubt lead to hundreds more businesses being opened, and thousands of more jobs being created. Despite the new changes, Colorado’s cannabis industry is only open to Colorado residents. Per the Denver Post:
As of mid-June, 292 people had filed optional notices with the state saying that they planned to apply for a recreational marijuana business license starting July 1. The notices don’t say how many of the would-be business owners want to open stores versus cultivation companies.
It also remains to be seen where those businesses will all go. Many cities — including the state’s second-largest, Colorado Springs — still have bans on recreational marijuana businesses. Denver, home to the majority of recreational stores in Colorado, has a moratorium on applications from newcomers until 2016.
The rollout of legal recreational cannabis sales in Colorado has been very smooth. Recent underage stings were conducted at retail locations, and not one store was out of compliance. Combine that with booming tax revenue being generated every month, and I’d say Colorado’s cannabis industry is doing a great job. It’s time more states followed suit and took a new approach.