There is a lot of criticism around the legalization of cannabis. Some people say that legalization is beneficial to the economy and creates jobs while others say that it promotes crimes and is dangerous to children. However, the criticism you hear is dependent on who gives you the criticism.
“I think the world is looking at Colorado and I think this is this great period with great social and economic change around controlled substances. I think this is the test case,” Adam Orens, with the in Denver, said.
Cannabis was legalized in Colorado over a year ago; the industry is young, meaning it took a lot of work to actually get it going.
“Its very costly to set up with a whole brand new industry and regulate it and try to enforce it. It’s been quite a struggle,” co-founder of SMART Colorado, Gina Carbone, stated.
There are many task forces that worked hard to try to find a way to legalize marijuana in a state where the drug is still illegal federally. Another big problem is that marijuana is a cash business and they cannot put their money into banks since they are federally insured.
“I think we worry about the banking issue. I think it’s a real issue. It’s a cash business which I think can put employees at risk, people around at risk, because that is a lot of cash to be moving around,” said Kelly Brough, President of Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Colorado did not make the money they originally planned to off of marijuana. Just a year ago, they generated $44 million in tax revenue which was approximately $30 million off of any projections. According to Brough, they have tried very hard to ensure that businesses are aware that they can still have a drug-free workplace in Colorado. She adds that the biggest positive change that has happened is a huge rise in commercial property sales.
“The operations that grow marijuana utilize often underutilized commercial, industrial big warehouses. These tend to be less expensive commercial space, we saw the price for those go up for those spaces when marijuana was legalized,” Brough added.