Is Marijuana the Holy Grail of the Economy?

2 years 2 months 6 days ago April 24, 2014 Apr 24, 2014 Thursday, April 24 2014 Thursday, April 24, 2014 7:35:00 PM CDT in News
By: Connor Wist, KOMU 8 Reporter

DENVER - The dark economic recession that Coloradans faced in 2009 is now a year in the past for the state's bright future ahead. The Centennial State pulled in nearly $3.5 million in pot-related tax revenue in January 2014 alone.

For January, the figure combines revenue from medical ($1.5 million) and recreational marijuana ($2 million)--revenue levels that would project annual revenue of $42 million for the state.

With talk about a possible marijuana initiative appearing on the 2016 ballot here, Missourians are slowly being introduced to the idea of legalization.

Christie Lunsford is director of operations at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver. She has seen and experienced the immense growth in the marijuana industry since the store opened in 2010.

"In this building, we were only renting about four thousand feet initially," Lunsford said. "Now that we are one of the first legal marijuana stores in the United States, we've brought our cultivation up to 18 thousand square feet and we are currently building two new greenhouses up in the mountains."

The director of The Marijuana Industry Group (MIG), Michael Elliott, said the marijuana industry has taken over between three and five million square feet of real estate in Colorado.

Elliott pointed out the increase in demand since January has created 7,500-10,000 jobs throughout the state.

3D Cannabis Center started with one employee in 2010 and now employs more than 37 people.

Colorado has nearly 500 medical marijuana centers serving nearly 110 thousand medical marijuana patients, with 70 retail marijuana stores opening since January 1. Fifteen percent of the medical marijuana centers have converted to the recreational side.

"It went from 110 thousand medical marijuana patients to about four billion people in this world that are 21 and up that can come and purchase from one of these businesses," Elliott said.

Lunsford said 80 percent of customers who come through the doors at 3D Cannabis Center are from out of state.

"The market here in Colorado has experienced exponential growth just in the last three months and people are coming from all over the U.S. to learn what we are doing here and take that knowledge back to their own state," Lunsford said.

The biggest question is how to spend the tax revenue being generated. Voters approved a law last year that requires the first $40 million collected from excise taxes to be directed toward school construction.

"We've got 500 pages now of marijuana law and rule," Elliott said. "We need money to make this program work. We want money to keep marijuana out of our schools and for public education campaigns urging people to not sell it to kids or give it to kids. Also, to not take it out of state and to keep our roads safe by not driving impaired and to not consume it publicly."

"I think the people in Missouri need to look at medical marijuana first," Lunsford said. "Of the one thousand people that come through our door every week, about 30  percent of them are using marijuana for a medicinal effect."

Legalizing marijuana would mean significant changes in the way crimes are viewed in the state of Missouri. From the tax revenue generated in Colorado, more conversation of marijuana legalization in Missouri could appear on the horizon and the ballot in the next few years.

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA — Just as the Supreme Court struck down the Texas abortion law, the Columbia Planned Parenthood’s abortion license expired.... More >>
11 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 1:47:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Missouri passed a new law requiring all students entering ninth grade in public, charter, and private schools to... More >>
11 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 1:40:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY — Some Missouri drivers may see red, white and blue in the form of police lights over the... More >>
12 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 12:55:00 PM CDT in News
PLATTE CITY (AP) — A Missouri man accused of killing four of his relatives has pleaded not guilty to charges... More >>
12 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 12:24:00 PM CDT in News
OSAGE BEACH — Starting on July 1, the City of Osage Beach 911 Communications Center will be able to receive... More >>
13 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 12:04:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — According to Columbia Police Department data, Columbia typically sees an increase in burglaries during July. Spokesperson Bryana... More >>
13 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 11:54:00 AM CDT in News
WARRENSBURG (AP) — The president of the University of Central Missouri has been hospitalized after a bicycle crash in Colorado.... More >>
13 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 11:22:55 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A company is trying again to build a power line in Missouri for a multistate wind... More >>
14 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 11:11:28 AM CDT in News
HALLSVILLE — An Endangered Person Advisory has been issued for a Hallsville area woman who was reported missing on Wednesday.... More >>
14 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 10:57:00 AM CDT in News
MOBERLY — Businesses in Moberly are double-checking money as multiple reporters of counterfeit cash are under investigation by local police.... More >>
16 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 9:08:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — This summer might be a little bit quieter because this year's cicada season, beginning in July, will have... More >>
16 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 8:45:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Low enrollment and more dorms open than needed has caused the University of Missouri to add Respect Residence... More >>
17 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 8:13:00 AM CDT in News
SEDALIA — One person was arrested Thursday in connection with a shooting in Sedalia that left two injured. The... More >>
17 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 8:08:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Welcome Home Inc. broke ground on mid-Missouri's only emergency homeless shelter for veterans Thursday morning. Located off... More >>
17 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 7:55:00 AM CDT in News
JOPLIN (AP) — A southwest Missouri youth sports league is working to rebuild after a former leader embezzled tens of... More >>
17 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 7:27:25 AM CDT in News
CAPE GIRARDEAU (AP) — This Fourth of July will be extra special for Southeast Missouri State University president Carlos Vargas-Aburto... More >>
19 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 5:36:38 AM CDT in News
HALLSVILLE – The Hallsville school board approved an approximate $430,000 in budget cuts Thursday night at the school board meeting.... More >>
19 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 5:26:00 AM CDT in News
MONROE COUNTY - Two men broke into a Monroe County home just south of Madison and tied up the residents... More >>
20 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 5:20:00 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 66°
2am 69°
3am 71°
4am 69°
5am 68°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

1:07a
The Insider
1:37a
Access Hollywood
2:07a
The Meredith Vieira Show
1:00a
The King of Queens
1:30a
Seinfeld
2:00a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
2016 U.S. Summer Olympic Trials
8:00p
2016 U.S. Summer Olympic Trials
9:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
Masters of Illusion
7:30p
Masters of Illusion
8:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld