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Marijuana Sales Exceed $5 Million In First Week

January 8th

Colorado marijuana dispensaries made huge sales in the first week of legal recreational marijuana. Owners of the 37 new dispensaries around the state reported first week retail sales to The Huffington Post that, when added together, were roughly $5 million. That’s a lot of green for Colorado’s legal weed.

Colorado, the first state to allow retail recreational marijuana sales to adults age 21 and older, has projected nearly $600 million in combined wholesale and retail marijuana sales annually. The state, which expects to collect nearly $70 million in tax revenue from pot sales this year, won’t have its first official glimpse at sales figures until Feb. 20, when businesses are required to file January tax reports, according to Julie Postlethwait of the state Marijuana Enforcement Division.

Denver’s 9News was first to report statewide retail sales on New Year’s Day, the first day legal pot shops were allowed to operate, exceeded $1 million. Interest dropped in the days that followed, according to shop owners, but many reported customers still waiting in lines out the door.

“Every day that we’ve been in busine. . . . . READ MORE

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Coming Soon: 334 Pot Stores in Washington State

September 9th

The state would license 334 pot stores, including at least 21 in Seattle and 61 in King County, under revised state rules for a recreational marijuana system. Total pot production would be capped at 40 metric tons next year in rules approved Wednesday by the state Liquor Control Board.

The cap is intended to meet anticipated consumer demand that would roughly equal 25 percent of the total state market for legal recreational, medical and illicit-market marijuana.

State officials expect recreational weed to gain market share over time, as they modify the system to better compete on price, quality and convenience with the medical and illicit markets.

The production cap helped determine the number of stores and limits on the amount of pot that growers could produce. Under the revised rules, growing facilities could be up to 30,000 square feet, or almost three-quarters of an acre.

In a stab at keeping the industry from concentrating . . . . . READ MORE

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MJ Industry Prepares for 2014, is Colorado Ready?

September 3rd

In four months, adults in Colorado will be able to walk into a store, plunk down cash and leave with a drug that used to land people in prison. No one, though, is sure what the future holds. Will the new industry damage the state’s reputation, grow the drug culture, spread marijuana into neighboring states, intoxicate young people and spur more crime? Or will it bring an unrecognizable change, produce needed tax revenue, drive a stake in marijuana’s black market and extinguish unnecessary prosecutions?

“It’s like being sucked into a black hole. What is going to be on the other side? No one knows,” said Ry Prichard, part-owner of a hash oil company, TC Labs.

During the first week of January, when the first stores are expected to open in Denver, the world’s media will probably descend on Colorado to document the occasion.

Lines that form in the state for everything from new doughnut shops to ski sales are expected to wrap around businesses as customers queue up for the first buds.

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D.C. Records its First Legal Pot Deal in 75 Years

July 30th

The 15-year struggle to legalize medical marijuana in the District ended like this: A 51-year-old Northwest resident entered a North Capitol Street rowhouse Monday evening and emerged 90 minutes later with slightly less than a half-ounce of street-legal, high-grade, D.C.-grown cannabis.

Shortly before 6 p.m., Alonzo walked into the high-security sales room of the Capital City Care dispensary with two store employees to consummate the city’s first legal marijuana deal in at least 75 years. He purchased about $250 worth of three strains of cannabis.

“It’s a beautiful natural product that is from rain, sun and soil,” Alonzo said, wearing a dark T-shirt with a green logo of a cannabis leaf over a medical cross. “Mother Nature doesn’t make mistakes.”

Alonzo agreed to share his experiences navigating the District’s medical marijuana system on the condition that he be identified only by his middle name, concerned that public knowledge of his medical marijuana use could prove sensitive at work.

Capital City Care’s sales Monday to two patients represent the culmination of a fight that dates to the mi. . . . . READ MORE

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Legalizing MJ is Hard Regulating Pot is Harder

July 1st

It’s not every day that a former Microsoft executive holds a press conference to announce his new venture into the exciting and profitable world of drug dealing. But that’s exactly what happened earlier this month when Jamen Shively, a former Microsoft corporate strategy manager, announced that he wants to create the equivalent of Starbucks in the newly legalized pot industry in Washington state.

All this is happening at the same time that the Washington State Liquor Control Board is looking to finalize rules on the new, legal marijuana industry. And one of the major debates right now among board members is how much they ought to prevent or encourage the kind of market consolidation in which a few firms dominate the whole industry.

As Chris Marr of the Liquor Control Board argued, “How do you prevent a Microsoft millionaire from getting this idea and deciding that — playing by the rules — they’re going to dominate the market?” And if that is the concern, what can economics inform us about how this new market should be set up?

To provide some background, voters in Washington state passed Initiative 502 . . . . . READ MORE

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Colorado Offers Window Into MMJ Industry

May 25th

At Leela European Cafe, a quirky, 24-hour coffee shop and bar in the heart of downtown, a bartender was quick with her thoughts on Colorado’s experience with the legal sale of medical marijuana.

“It’s really easy to get,” said Cara Wanek, 25, who says she uses it to calm her anxiety, boost her appetite and help her sleep. “And it’s delicious.” That’s exactly what Illinois is trying to avoid. While Colorado is not quite the Wild West of medical marijuana, it offers a window into the opportunities and consequences that arise when a state allows the legal sale of a long-banned drug.

The state’s therapeutic cannabis industry launched in earnest in late 2009, triggering a “green rush” that boosted the state’s economy. Big Marijuana added thousands of new jobs, revitalized aging industrial warehouses and shuttered storefronts, and generated millions of tax dollars for the federal, state and local governments.

At the same time, state officials acknowledge they were unprepared to license, inspect and regulate medical marijuana businesses, leaving millions of fees and taxes uncollected and a significant swath of the industry unchec. . . . . READ MORE

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