BY FREDA MIKLIN
Coloradans have a muddled relationship with marijuana. Voters approved the use of medical marijuana by prescription in November 2000. Twelve years later, 1.3 million residents of Colorado voted yes on Amendment 64, permitting the sale and use of recreational marijuana. Sometimes it seems like no one knows who any of the folks who voted yes were, or why they cast those ballots. Even so, it is a robust and growing business in our state.
On April 13, the South Metro Denver Chamber held a panel discussion on, “Marijuana and Its Impact on Colorado Business,” at its offices at the Streets of Southglenn. RTD board chair and South Metro executive V.P. of Economic Development, Doug Tisdale introduced the program. Panelists were Peter Marcus, former political journalist and current communications director for Terrapin Care Station, a multi-location seller of recreation and medical pot, Chuck Smith, president and CEO of Dixie Brands, Inc., a large manufacturer of marijuana edibles, who also heads up Colorado Leads, a “pro-business alliance created to help educate the general public about the economic and community benefits of a safe, regulated medical and recreational cannabis industry.”
Rounding out the panel were Jesse Choe, a mortgage broker who specializes in cannabis industry employees, and Tiffany Phillips, marketing director of Springfield Wellness Center, which offers a nutritionally-based treatment for addiction and other health problems.
Every state in the U.S. except Idaho, Kansas and South Dakota has legalized marijuana in one form or another. Smith told the audience that the industry has produced $1 billion in taxes for our state since 2014. He also said that the cannabis industry has created 39,000 direct and 100,000 indirect jobs in Colorado. On