In 2011, Colorado voters passed Amendment 64, legalizing recreational marijuana. Anyone over the age of 21 can now walk into a cannabis store and buy up to an ounce of cannabis; tastier cannabis than whatever they’ve been getting from their dealer at home. There are giddy, effervescent sativa-leaning varieties like Bubbleberry Haze, couch-lock-inducing indica-heavy ones like Purple Urkel and everything in between. In shops one can find all kinds of pot candies and cookies and cakes, sodas and butane-extracted hash oil, which can top 80 percent THC.
The referendum passed because it appealed to libertarian-leaning conservatives as a states-rights issue.
Colorado’s cannabis regulations are helping guide other states (see These States Are Most Likely To Legalize Pot Next).
Denver has become America’s undisputed cannabis capital, with the industrial zone of Platte River Valley, where vast, anonymous warehouses hide more than 250 high-octane, connoisseur-grade weed operations.
Majorly primo herb is produced at Gaia Plant-Based Medicine, a booming high-end cannabis enterprise. There, in an unmarked 40,000-square-foot warehouse, which the company sells in its three medical-marijuana dispensaries.
What’s happening here is special. Amsterdam gives you a taste of it, but in terms of quality and selection, we blow Amsterdam away. Absolutely kill it. I was out there for the Cannabis Cup in 2011, and it was just . . . disappointing […]. It was still a nice experience and everything, but Colorado’s where it’s at.
Among activists and weed-business interests alike, there’s a major sense of urgency: the potential financial upside of ending cannabis prohibition is enormous. Estimates of the value of the legal market range as high as $110 billion.
According to Time, the legal medicinal cannabis economy already generates $200 million annually in taxable proceeds from a mere five hundred thousand registered medical users in just sixteen states.
ABC News reports that underground cannabis’s $35.8 billion annual revenues already exceed the combined value of corn ($23.3 billion) and wheat ($7.5 billion).
Mendocino County, California, where cannabis drives 80 percent of the economy (to the tune of $8 billion annually).