Cannabis Election Reflection: a View from Colorado

Cannabis Election Reflection: a View from Colorado

Image - Carol M. Highsmith

by Brian Bahouth

During the election season, Colorado’s cannabis industry was under intense and highly manipulated scrutiny as an example of how legal cannabis works, or doesn’t work in America, and the industry and the state acquitted themselves so well, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and California will expand the number of legal adult-use states to 9, and now, Colorado’s exemplary cannabis industry is well positioned to help inform, hasten, and profit from the establishment of vast new markets.

Since legalization, Pueblo County, Colorado has emerged as an outdoor cannabis cultivation powerhouse, and a now jubilant coalition of marijuana business owners staved off a clumsy ballot initiative that would have effectively ended one of the state’s greatest, and possibly most regionally needed, economic success stories.

The ban lost by more than 10 percentage points and can be viewed as a distinctly positive referendum on the industry as a whole, and while this was the first such electoral attempt at a localized rollback of legality in Colorado, such a trouncing at the polls in a rural county may well discourage prohibitionists from trying to mount similar bans elsewhere in the state.

But the failed challenge in Pueblo is quickly fading in the rear view mirror as the industry continues to vigorously grow and mature since the first store opened back in 2014.  Even though California launched the nation’s first medical marijuana program in 1996, Colorado will always be the first state to legalize cannabis retail stores open to the general adult public, and that unique legacy is invaluable.

Colorado companies continue to pioneer highly exportable cultivation and processing technologies, and more essentially, the act of conducting business further refines business administration practices unique to the industry and also gives rise to new and innovative business models that will help develop and deepen the industry everywhere.

For some perspective on the recent elections and the future of Colorado cannabis, I spoke with Mark Malone, Executive Director of the Colorado Cannabis Business Alliance

Music credit:
Song: Personality (Jungle mix)
Artist: DJ Rodiguez