Canadian cannabis investment firm Slang Worldwide will significantly expand operations in Colorado, fueled by the state's first tax incentive offered to a marijuana company.
Governor Jared Polis, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and Slang issued a joint announcement December 14, reporting that Slang will add 43 new jobs to its Colorado outpost, thanks in part to $584,399 in state job-growth incentive tax credits over the next eight years. In order to receive the full tax credit, Slang must create all 43 jobs at an average yearly salary of $75,000.
Colorado beat California and Oregon as the location for Slang's newest expansion, according to Polis's office.
“Colorado continues to be the epicenter of the growing cannabis industry, so we’re excited by the company’s smart decision to relocate and create jobs in our beautiful state. Colorado’s cannabis industry offers strong growth potential, and this move speaks volumes about our state’s cannabis industry and community as a whole,” Polis says in a statement.
Colorado's marijuana business regulations, state taxes and lawmakers drove Slang's decision to put more resources in the Rocky Mountains instead of other legal pot markets, according to CEO Chris Driessen.
"The regulations aren’t nearly as conducive to business [in California] as they are here,” he explains. “When you look at the industry here, when you look at the regulations, and now when you look at the politicians and what they’re doing to support and grow this industry — I want to be somewhere where they want us, and obviously we are wanted here.”
A publicly traded acquisition company on the Canadian Securities Exchange, Slang has acquired multiple Colorado marijuana businesses over the past two years, and is currently employing 75 people between a Boulder facility and the company's United States headquarters in Denver. The latest expansion will include more positions directly related to production in Colorado, such as project managers, lab technicians and refinement and production technicians, as well as corporate jobs that support Slang-owned companies in other states.
“Our business is in thirteen states, our products can be found in thirteen states and almost 3,200 retail stores — so a lot of the support for how that happens will now come out of Denver,” Driessen adds.
The Toronto-based company owns stakes in several notable marijuana brands, including O.pen Vape, District Edibles, Cookies Fam and Firefly vaporizers. Slang also recently agreed to purchase Pleasant Valley Ranch, an outdoor and greenhouse marijuana production facility in Carbondale.
Although the tax incentive represents a milestone for the marijuana industry, Driessen views it as a long time coming, and expects more pot-friendly business incentives to appear across the country if or when the plant is legalized federally.
“We are taxed at a high rate federally, but this is also a normal practice. You look at tourism, technology, petroleum — tax incentives are normal for all of those [industries]. So why wouldn’t it be for cannabis, especially since it’s one of Colorado’s fastest-growing industries?" he asks. "I think that Colorado is setting itself up to be a player on the national and even international stage, because it has been so progressive with its cannabis policy.”