It's going to need the support. Canna Security America is currently operating in Colorado and Washington, which also legalized recreational marijuana use for adults in 2012, with stores set to open this spring; the company recently expanded to Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Arizona, all of which allow the use of medical marijuana. But Canna Security headquarters will remain in Denver.

And with good reason. With recreational pot stores now opening their doors in Colorado, Williams expects his company's workload in this state to increase dramatically this year. "We're expecting a lot more volume because of the retail," he says. He's also anticipating setting up more cameras in and around shops — including in parking lots, so owners can watch for out-of-state customers packing their cars full of Colorado weed to sell in states where it's not legal. Advances in technology allow store owners to control the security systems from their smartphones; one program will even text an owner five seconds of video if an employee (or a burglar) goes into an area of the facility where they're not supposed to be.

"Really, it comes down to accountability," Williams says, adding that he'd like to see every pot shop working with the police and providing law enforcement with security footage to help solve robberies and other crimes. "We want this to work. If that takes a little bit more security, we have it."
-- Melanie Asmar

Kayvan Khalatbari
Anthony Camera
Kayvan Khalatbari
Dan Williams
Anthony Camera
Dan Williams

••••••••••••


Tripp Keber, Marijuana Mogul

Tripp Keber keeps track of the nicknames that the media has bestowed upon him. The managing director of Denver-based Dixie Elixirs & Edibles, a marijuana-infused-products (MIP) company that produces THC sodas, candies and capsules, as well as a multimillion-dollar investor who has put money into sixteen pot-related businesses, Keber has been called a "marijuana mogul," "the Willy Wonka of weed" and "the Gordon Gekko of ganja." But as you look around his LoDo office, with its exposed-brick walls, cigar humidor, wine rack and flat-screen TV, the image that comes to mind is that of Jack Donaghy, the fictional right-wing NBC executive played by Alec Baldwin on the series 30 Rock.

And the comparison may not be far off. In his younger days, the 45-year-old Keber worked at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank that he says is "as conservative as you get." After dabbling in both politics and law and discovering that neither suited him, Keber decided to become what he calls a "serial entrepreneur."

"I look for trends early," Keber says. "I have a very high tolerance for risk."

In 2010, he decided that his next risk would be legal pot. But Keber doesn't think any greedy, weedy businessman label — the aforementioned "Gordon Gekko of ganja," for example — is accurate. "I don't shy away from the fact that I got into this business to profit," he says, "because I did.... But in a very, very short period of time, I realized the power of this plant."

He came to find that the marijuana business was different from his other ventures into technology, real estate and luxury motorcoach resorts — or as Keber describes them, "trailer parks on steroids." Marijuana, he realized, has the potential to make people well. "On any given day, we, as a company — and many times me, personally — receive, at a bare minimum, 'Thank you for creating that new level of wellness, because I have left opiates,' or 'I have left tobacco,' or, more commonly, 'I've left alcohol in my rearview mirror, and now I have a relationship with cannabis,'" Keber says, adding that some people have even credited Dixie Elixirs products with saving their lives. Although he says he's dubious of those claims, "if that doesn't affect you, you're not human."

Keber doesn't regularly smoke pot. While he acknowledges that he's tried it — in fact, he was arrested for marijuana possession in Alabama last summer when cops found him holding a small amount of concentrated THC — his vices tend toward cigars and alcohol. And because he didn't know anything about growing the plant or serving patients directly when he decided to get into the MMJ business, he focused on starting an edibles company.

Dixie Elixirs' first product was essentially a pot soda — a carbonated, THC-infused beverage in flavors such as orange, grape and root beer. Now, nearly four years later, Dixie still sells pot soda, but the company has added more sophisticated flavors, like pomegranate and red currant. It's also developed several other product lines, including pot confections (chocolate truffles, fruit-flavored lozenges and "Dixie Rolls"), cannabis-infused massage oils and bath salts, and even marijuana-extract capsules that resemble vitamins.

The whole time he was growing the business, though, Keber worried that the feds could shut it down at any moment. Since marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, he went to bed every night wondering if the next day would be the one that "some overzealous three-letter agency" got tired of reading about him and decided to end it.

But on August 29, 2013, Keber's fear dissipated. That's when the Obama administration issued a memo saying it wouldn't sue to stop implementation of Amendment 64 in Colorado, or the law legalizing recreational marijuana in Washington. The feds would continue to go after gangs, illegal drug traffickers and drugged drivers, the memo stated, as well as those who sell marijuana to kids or sell it in states where it's not legal. But it specified that "prosecutors should not use the size or commercial nature of a marijuana operation alone as a proxy" for whether the operation was doing the things the feds want to prevent.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
8 comments
karlajobro
karlajobro

new to illinois, the medical marijuana industry is being super regulated with very strict rules. I am eager to see it come here, but after seeing the recently released rules and regs from the ag dept, the dept of health and idfpr, it won't be easy...nothing worthwhile ever is, tho. 

Love Dixie Elixirs...yes to this. Expatriate in Illinois

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay

Only Puerile Pot Punks allow themselves to be photographed in suits while stoned.

Barnabey
Barnabey

ganjapreneurs, that's actually pretty clever

 
Loading...