With more than 2,000 people in Colorado applying for licenses to run state-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries, growing facilities or related businesses before the past weekend’s application deadline, the state made $7.34 million from application fees alone.
More than 700 applied specifically for dispensary licenses, far exceeding the number expected by state officials, who estimated that only half of the state’s roughly 1,100 pre-existing dispensaries would apply for licenses.
State officials will now conduct background checks on applicants before awarding licenses, which are expected to generate additional millions in annual revenue for Colorado.
“This outpouring of applications is another sign of how willing and eager marijuana business owners are to be taxed, regulated, and given equal treatment to other legitimate establishments, said Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
“By sensibly regulating its medical marijuana industry, Colorado stands to gain untold millions in new revenue while at the same time providing legal clarity and rational oversight to what may soon be the largest regulated marijuana market in the world,” Fox said.
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter in June signed legislation designed to regulate the state’s medical marijuana industry through a system of local and state licenses.
A state-licensed medical marijuana program is up and running in New Mexico, and similar programs will soon be operational in Rhode Island, Maine, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. — but the number of sanctioned dispensaries to be allowed in each of those states is fewer than 10. Colorado’s law will authorize hundreds, and maybe more if future demand increases.
A Rasmussen telephone poll released May 15 showed that there is also plurality support among Colorado voters for further expanding the state’s marijuana laws. Forty-nine percent of likely voters said they support taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol, with an additional 13 percent still undecided.