Box Corner: Protectionism in Colorado is bad for cannabis progress


Big pharma/tobacco/ag is coming for our pot: this much we know. With a market potential of “billions” being floated around, they certainly won’t leave it in the hands of Joe Grower.
When Colorado passed the most permissive cannabis laws in the history of the world this week, stakeholders did everything they could to prevent the corporate takeover of “Phizanto Morris” in the state. That’s what they’ll tell you, at least. In reality, they just fucked over toking entrepreneurs in 49 states, D.C., and whatever Puerto Rico is these days.

I’ve lived in Colorado for 12 years. And if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that these people love their state and apparel that represents it. You can’t drive down the interstate without seeing a “NATIVE” bumper sticker.
And the flag is on so many things even South Carolina is like: “calm down”. And I get it. It’s a great place to live – I wouldn’t be here otherwise.
But unfortunately, unless you realized that 2 years ago and Ms. Cleo’d the whole legalization thing, you won’t be able to own a cannabis business for a while in this state.Yes, anyone seeking to bring a business (and jobs) to Colorado can’t even apply until they’ve lived here for at least two years.
You know, so they have time to take in some Rockies games, drink a Fat Tire. They could even run for the State House or Senate that has just a 1 year residency requirement.
Want to make some extra cash trimming over the summer and find Northern California’s love of jam bands and being filthy unappealing? Sorry, you’re not in luck! In order to get that gig here, you’d have to declare your love of the Centennial State at the DMV, because you need residency to get a license to cut the leaves off of pot plants, too.
Since the inception of the medical marijuana industry in Colorado, industry groups and trade associations figured out the cardinal rule of politics: if you’re not standing in the circle, you’re probably the one getting puffed.
Shelling out loads of dough for lobbyists did those groups quite well, keeping outside investors out of the picture while while blowing their smoke in the ears of politicians like some frat assholes to a dog at a party.
That’s why it’s not surprising at all that when recommendations came down from the state that the first one was that current medical marijuana businesses get first crack at recreational licenses.
Congrats, guys. Even Halliburton is proud of that one. The Colorado cannabis industry actually suffers from severe insecurity, but right now they just look like a bunch of dicks.
Box Corner is a weekly opinion column by Box Johnson, a Denver-area comedian and Toke of the Town contributor.