Dear Stoner: Where is all the marijuana for the recreational industry coming from?
Stockpiling in Stapleton
Dear SS: The rules haven't been finalized yet, but what we do know is that the medical stores transitioning over to recreational stores will be able to designate half of their existing medical marijuana inventory (plants and buds) to their retail inventory. Most medical marijuana centers currently are licensed to grow up to about 3,000 plants, assuming six plants for every patient. They can only do that once, though. After that, they've got to be self-sustaining or purchase from other stores until September 2014, when the statewide moratorium on independent cultivation facilities expires. For some shops, that's not going to be a problem — as they've not so discreetly expanded to massive greenhouses this past spring.
Ask a Stoner
As for how much retail centers and cultivation facilities will eventually be able to grow and where their product will come from to start, that hasn't been decided yet. The state's Marijuana Enforcement Division is taking public testimony on that until November 13. Want to give the MED your two cents? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dear Stoner: Will pot shops still open if the tax measures don't pass?
Eleanor Beaver Dartmouth
Dear EBD: According to the Marijuana Enforcement Division, the proposed 15 percent excise and 10 percent sales taxes don't have to pass this November in order for the industry to move forward — for now. Julie Postlethwait, spokeswoman for the Marijuana Enforcement Division, tells us that the department has the resources to continue with licensing and regulation if the tax measure doesn't pass, using licensing fees and borrowing from the state general fund if necessary. But without any concrete numbers on what the market for retail cannabis is going to be, she adds, it's hard to determine whether those fees would be enough to manage the entire industry.
We think they should be. Opening a new liquor store in Colorado would cost about $2,275 in application and licensing fees with the state. After that, you've got to pay $250 (about the cost of four kegs of cheap beer) to renew each year. Opening a recreational marijuana store requires $5,000 to the state for applications alone. Then you've got your license fee on top of that, ranging from $3,750 to $14,000. Annually.