Come January 1, there could be as many as 100 recreational marijuana shops open to consumers.
According to statistics released by the state Marijuana Enforcement Division, 136 current medical marijuana dispensaries have applied to switch over to recreational cannabis stores. The division also saw 28 applications from edibles makers and 174 applications for independent grow operations. All of the October applications are expected to be finished by the MED before the New Year.
All of the businesses that have applied to become a recreational dispensary or a dual use dispensary have to have previously been a licensed medical marijuana center or business. New businesses will not be allowed to apply for recreational licenses until late 2014.
The number of medical marijuana dispensaries that chose to make the switch, at least in these initial months, is just a fraction of the medical marijuana industry as a whole. Currently, there are 517 medical pot shops in the state and 736 grow facilities. Part of the reason for that could be the cost.
“It’s expensive,” Meg Collins, the executive director of the Cannabis Business Alliance, told the Denver Post. “In the discussions I’ve had with folks, I think that one of the things that possibly forestalled people from immediately jumping in is the financial consideration.”
Just how much will it cost? New license application fee is $500, then you’ve got licensing fees ranging from $2,750 to $14,000. State officials say that in October alone they’ve pulled in nearly $179,000 in application fees alone.