Industry specialists, thought leaders, and members of the Chamber’s Economic Development Group (EDG) gathered early Friday morning for a very pressing and popular subject to Coloradans: marijuana. This billion dollar industry has inspired opinions on both sides of the fence – has Colorado been positively or negatively impacted since the passage of Amendment 64? Or both?
What were the hot topics on the table?
Tyler Henson with the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, also known as C4, gave a brief overview of the industry and how it has affected the state. He spoke of the growing popularity of marijuana as a packaged product – edibles, topical lotions, etc. More products going on the market means more consumer choice, which equals more consumers. The industry has raised over $102 million in tax revenue, and since 2014, marijuana-related businesses have absorbed more than 4 million square feet of industrial space in Denver alone.
David C. Walcher, Arapahoe County Sheriff, shared his perspective from a public safety standpoint. A Colorado native, Walcher has seen many changes in Colorado throughout his life.
“I understand the economic impact, and although it’s incredible,” Walcher said, “I’m concerned about the long-term.”
Walcher addressed issues such as the dangers of young children having more access to marijuana/marijuana products, the increase in traffic ‘fails’ in regards to driving under its influence, people moving to Colorado just to use marijuana, and even this: Colorado as an “export state” – the increase of illegal grow operations leading to illegal drug trafficking to outside states.
Matt Jones with THC University explained his company provides the industry’s largest selection of professional online courses for cannabis-related careers. Jones noted that in 2015, the Marijuana industry brought almost $1 Billion in revenue to Colorado, as well as created jobs that never existed before.
“This year is a huge year… it’s an election year,” Jones noted, “Florida and Nevada (are) both on the ballot for medical marijuana… it could be up to 20 states with ballot initiatives in 2016.”
This EDG meeting wrapped up with special comments from Dave Weaver, Douglas County Commissioner, John Fritzel, LightShade, and Tiffany Phillips, Universal Praxis.
Although the room was filled with varying opinions, one thing is absolute: Colorado’s economy may not being going to “pot,” but it sure has been affected by pot.
The Chamber’s EDG group meets the second Friday of the month – this group and meeting is closed to EDG membership only. If interested in becoming an EDG member, contact your account manager or call us at 303.795.0142.