New wave of business opportunities involving medicinal, nutritional marijuana sweep Colorado
Monday, June 24, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: marijuana, business opportunities, Colorado
New business opportunities abound in the state of Colorado, where Amendment 64 to legalize the recreational sale and use of marijuana was recently passed with flying colors by 1.36 million enthusiastic Colorado voters. An entire sector of the market that was formerly limited to only licensed marijuana dispensaries for approved medical patients, in other words, is set to potentially expand more publicly into things like bakeries that sell cannabis-infused goodies; corner coffee shops that serve joints alongside lattes; and even restaurants that serve meals containing a much different kind of hash.
Having already been coined the "green rush," the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana in Colorado is generating a boom among entrepreneurs looking to cash in on the misunderstood plant, which bears a multitude of medicinal and therapeutic properties. Chef Scott Durrah, for instance, a former marine, marijuana advocate, and Denver restaurant owner, is already featuring marijuana as an ingredient in many of his and his wife's award-winning dishes and food products.
An expert in what he calls "world-class cannabis cookery," Durrah has been teaching people how to cook with cannabis for years in conjunction with his Simply Pure Medicated Edibles line of food products. Such products are already available at dispensaries and through local distributors, but will likely become available more widely as the practical and legal framework of Amendment 64 is fully fleshed out in the coming months. In the meantime, there is plenty of opportunity for visionaries to begin assembling their own business plans for grabbing a piece of the marijuana pie.
This is the goal of 59-year-old Jeff Gilmore of Washington, who has been growing and selling marijuana on the black market for nearly 40 years in his home state. Like in Colorado, Washington residents recently passed Initiative 502, which legalizes the possession of up to an ounce of pot for all adults, and establishes a statewide network of highly-regulated marijuana growers, processors and stores, a major change in policy that Gilmore hopes will provide him with new, legitimate business opportunities.
"I'm an independent farmer, and I believe in small business," he is quoted as saying recently to the Kansas City Star. "I want to create 10,000 jobs in Washington in the cannabis industry."
Amendment 64 also legalizes industrial hemp cultivation
In Colorado, the situation is even more favorable for potential marijuana entrepreneurs, where individuals will soon be free to grow their own marijuana for recreational purposes, as well as posses up to an ounce of it in dried form at any given time. Over the next few years, retail stores selling marijuana will also start to pop up, as will fields filled with industrial hemp, a cousin of the marijuana plant that does not contain the same psychoactive components, but that is already used in a variety of industrial applications such as clothing, food, paper, and fuel.
"[T]he measure gives individuals the constitutional right to grow up to six marijuana plants and keep all of the harvest from those plants without fear of state prosecution," explained lawyer Rob Corry at a recent meeting about how the pro-marijuana community in Colorado plans to move forward in light of Amendment 64's passage. "The measure also allows people to join together to grow marijuana -- meaning people could form large-scale cooperatives that produce marijuana by the pound without needing a license so long as none of the marijuana is sold."
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