The Clever Root

Fall / Winter 2015

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4 2 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t REGULATED CANNABIS IS THE NEW NORMAL. So much so that we've organized industry associations, like the Colo- rado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce. If your state hasn't decriminalized its possession and use, or legalized it for medicinal or recreational purposes, don't worry, it won't be long. National polls show that a strong majority of Ameri- cans support legalizing some form of marijuana possession and use, and in some cases the overwhelming support for legalization is stronger than any candidate for presidency's polls. Ever. That said, the state of Colorado was not the first to legal- ize medical marijuana (it did so in 2000, with an amendment to the state constitution), but was the first government in the world to create a regulatory system that created an agency with licensing authority and oversight of cultiva- tors, manufacturers, and dispensaries. Then, in 2012, the citizens of Colorado approved Amendment 64, placing the recreational possession and use of marijuana squarely in the Colorado Constitution, granting a freedom in the state that was long awaited. Because Colorado had created a medical regulatory struc- ture, it was only a matter of creating rules for regulating recreational businesses to get the program up and running; which is why on January 1, 2014, Colorado had retail stores open for business and selling recreational cannabis and Washington State did not. Truly, Colorado was ahead of the world and is a model for other states and countries to look to when considering legalization or the people force the is- sue with a ballot measure. To be blunt, Colorado's system is working. We are all learn- ing as we go, but it's been a fantastic success so far. Those who follow the rules are successful, and those who don't are forced out by the system. That's how it's supposed to work. Being in the business of marijuana is expensive, and the volumes of regulation surpass that of gaming, alcohol, and the storage of dynamite for avalanche mitigation. Think about that for a minute: There are fewer regulations on explosives than marijuana. The current regulations are a mixture of concepts that are applied to pharmaceuticals, alcohol, gaming, and tobacco. Although Amendment 64 stated that the industry should be regulated like alcohol, as the state legislature attempted to create statute that would guide the regulatory regime, elected officials thought they should take every precaution in order to not look like they were supportive of the concept. At first, those who got into the business were focused on doing everything required to become licensed. The strict requirements on clean backgrounds limited who could at- tempt to be licensed, and the costs associated with obtaining approval for licensure are extremely high. Additionally, the strict zoning in the handful of municipalities that didn't "opt out" of allowing marijuana operations in their cities, counties and towns left few options for locations, which meant that a Growth for Good As the cannabis industry continues to flourish, state-by-state, we're seeing policy and legislative changes paving the way for legal, safe, and thriving cannabis commerce. We are excited to be at the cusp of this booming business, and have partnered with organizations like the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce to explore the future of legal marijuana and to reach today's curious and informed cannabis connois- seur at the dispensary level. We applaud organizations like the CCCC for their hard work in forging this new world and new industry. —Meridith May, Publisher/Editorial Director A LETTER FROM THE COLORADO CANNABIS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OP/ ED

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