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Big Changes (and Money) Coming to Colorado’s Marijuana Industry

Cannabis Businesses

Colorado’s marijuana industry is set to undergo some pretty big changes. The new governor, Jared Polis, supports home delivery and improving investment potential. Colorado’s marijuana industry was valued at $1.5-billion in 2018, but new investment opportunities could increase that exponentially for 2019 and beyond.

Limited public consumption may also be on the table, The Denver Post says. In May, some of the state’s existing medical and recreational marijuana codes expire. It’s thought that some of the new legislation coming through the state legislature may mirror laws that California has adopted.

Sam Kamin of the University of Denver said, “We’re definitely at a turning point here. The competition has gotten intense. Colorado still has some advantages in terms of experience and know-how. But that expertise butts up against the limited opportunities for investment. And if Colorado is going to be more than a launching pad for brands and methods — if it’s going to continue to attract investment — then something needs to give in terms of how the industry is currently structured.”

Under the state’s current laws, it’s hard for brands to expand. One of those brands being Dixie Brands, also known as Dixie Elixirs. While they are based in Colorado, they do have operations in 4 other states and are trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange.

President and CEO of Dixie Brands, Chuck Smith, said, “It really restricts the opportunities for business owners here to expand the businesses.”

Dixie can’t use the funds they’re getting from other sources for expanding their brand in Colorado. Legislation, however, hopes to loosen investment and expansion laws so that these companies can expand and use money from other sources to do so.

Under Governor Polis these changes are more likely to be signed into law. Polis has indicated that he’s more open to changes regarding marijuana industry investment and allowing home delivery. He may also be open to allowing some sort of public consumption. Several marijuana-related bills have bipartisan support and are working their way through the Colorado legislative process.

Good news for the medical marijuana community in Colorado – House Bill 1028, allowing access to medical marijuana for those with autism, has been revived. Governor Hickenlooper vetoed it, but it’s passed both the House and Senate with flying colors and is just waiting for Governor Polis to sign it into law.

Senator Julie Gonzales says that this session’s marijuana bills are “an opportunity for the General Assembly to really take stock of the path we’ve gone down as the first state in the country to implement laws and regulation around (recreational) marijuana policies.”

These are the current marijuana-related bills floating through the Colorado Legislature:

  • House Bill 1090 – relaxing Colorado’s marijuana business ownership and investment restrictions
  • House Bill 1230 – Social consumption legislation to allow tasting rooms and marijuana lounges
  • House Bill 1234 – Marijuana delivery services

There is a lot happening in Colorado regarding marijuana this legislative session, and some of the expected changes could be big industry boosters. Lawmakers only have until May 3 to replace/renew the existing marijuana codes.

Chris Woods of Terrapin Care Station said, “All this is going to shape the industry over the next two decades. “

Regarding public consumption, Gonzales said, “There are a lot of tourists who come to Colorado who want to partake, who see this as a fun and interesting thing to try. Frankly, there isn’t a place for them to consume.”