Store owner Toni Fox (main) greets customers who stand in line after the official opening of her 3D Cannabis Center, which opened as a legal recreational retail outlet in Denver at 8am on Wednesday Jan. 1, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Retailers were selling top-shelf versions of the drug for close to $400 an ounce on average, not including taxes.
  • Medical marijuana is $250 for the same amount
  • Average street price of 'medium quality' is $300
  • One dispensary was  selling one-eighth of an ounce for $70  - a markup from $25 for the same amount the day before
  • Most expensive strands are the most popular, according to store owners
  • Prices are expected to stabilize once the 'novelty' wears off.


The lines were as long as the prices were high, but there wasn't a complaint to be heard as Colorado ushered in its 'cannabis era' as part of an unprecedented experiment in the government regulation of marijuana.

 

 

Hemp hunters who waited for hours on Green Wednesday - the official implementation of the new state laws - were confronted with steep prices at the dispensaries granted licenses to sell legal bud.

 

 

On average, retailers were selling top-shelf week for close to $400 an ounce, not including taxes.

 

 

In comparison medical marijuana users, who’ve been able to buy weed from Colorado dispensaries since 2010, are currently paying around $250 an ounce, plus taxes, NBC reported.

 

 

 

 

 

An employee weighs portions of retail marijuana at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver

An employee weighs portions of retail marijuana at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver

 

 

 

'I think people were a little bit surprised at the price,' said Rachel Gillette, executive director of the Colorado chapter of NORML, a national nonprofit seeking to make marijuana use legal nationwide.

 

'We are concerned about that.'

 

 

But the customers who waited for hours to make a purchase weren't looking to score a bargain - they were just looking to score.

 

 

'Our most expensive strains sold the quickest,' Toni Fox, proprietor of Denver's 3D Cannabis Center, told The Huffington Post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

'We're closing Monday and Tuesday next week to reassess after the large volume of sales we are seeing.'

 

 

The state of Colorado has not imposed any pricing structure for pot purveyors, leaving the market open to  supply and demand.

 

 

One dispensary was selling high-quality marijuana on Wednesday at $70 for one-eighth of an ounce — a markup from $25 for the same amount the day before.

 

 

 

Sizing: A one-eighth ounce container of medical marijuana, which sells on average for $250

Sizing: A one-eighth ounce container of medical marijuana, which sells on average for $250

 

 

 

 

 

Customer Adam Hartle smiles as he makes a cash transaction at 3D Cannabis Center, which opened as a legal recreational retail outlet in Denver, on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014

Customer Adam Hartle smiles as he makes a cash transaction at 3D Cannabis Center, which opened as a legal recreational retail outlet in Denver, on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Opened for business: Cannabis goes on legal sale in Colorado

Opened for business: Cannabis goes on legal sale in Colorado

 

 

 

A Colorado State University report released last April forecasts retail prices settling at around $185 per ounce.

 

 

Colorado residents can buy no more than an ounce per transaction, while out-of-state tokers can purchase up to a quarter-ounce.

 

 

Gillette expects the costs to eventually stabilize as well.

 

 

'It’s a new industry, a new market,' Gillette said.

 

 

'I think things will work themselves out in a few years. We saw the same thing happen with the medical marijuana industry before prices came down.'

 

 

But Gillette said she’d still like to see the 'high tax rates' associated with marijuana sales addressed by state lawmakers.

 

 

Colorado State Rep. Jonathan Singer, who sponsored the House bill on legal marijuana sales, said he doesn't want to see the 10 percent special sales tax added to each transaction changed just yet.

 

 

The state won't know how much those taxes will provide to Colorado's coffers for at least another month.

 

 

 

Various marijuana strains at the Botanacare marijuana store in Northglenn, Colorado

Various marijuana strains at the Botanacare marijuana store in Northglenn, Colorado

 

 

 

 

 

Marijuana advocate Attorney, Brian Vicente addresses media prior to the first legal retail sale of marijuana in Colorado

Marijuana advocate Attorney, Brian Vicente addresses media prior to the first legal retail sale of marijuana in Colorado

 

 

 

'If marijuana continues to funnel into the black market, I am happy to look at shocking the black market out of the legitimate industry by slashing taxes, but this is way too early in the game,' Singer said.

 

 

'And judging by the thousands of marijuana consumers lined up around the block yesterday, Coloradans appear comfortable with taxes as they are.'

 

 

Phyllis Resnick, lead economist at Colorado State’s Colorado Futures Center, said she also expects prices to lower.

 

 

'My sense is that competition will eventually arise … and costs will fall below what the black market wants,' she said.

 

 

Medical marijuana users, meanwhile, shouldn’t be affected by a ramp up in prices or long lines, said Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates for medical marijuana bills.

 

 

Medical marijuana sales aren’t subject to the special sales tax and similar local taxes that drive up costs to the general public.

 

 

 

Jesse Phillips celebrates being the first person to legally buy recreational marijuana at the BotanaCare store in Northglenn, Colorado January 1, 2014

Jesse Phillips celebrates being the first person to legally buy recreational marijuana at the BotanaCare store in Northglenn, Colorado January 1, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Tyler Williams, of Ohio, selects marijuana strains to purchase at the 3-D Denver Discrete Dispensary on January 1, 2014 in Denver, Colorado

Tyler Williams, of Ohio, selects marijuana strains to purchase at the 3-D Denver Discrete Dispensary on January 1, 2014 in Denver, Colorado

 

 

 

In addition, there are dispensaries that are dedicated to medical marijuana sales only, so patients won’t have to wait hours for service.

 

 

About three-dozen retailers around Colorado opened to adults aged 21 and older on Wednesday, the state has actually approved 348 retail licenses.

 

 

Many outlets have been slowed down because they also have to get permission from their local municipality.

 

 

Prices could also be affected on the supply side by the fact that Colorado allows people to grow at home (up to six plants per adult), and there currently is no cap on how much total marijuana can be produced statewide.

 

 

As for any demand driven by out-of-towners, Resnick believes the idea of a booming pot tourism industry won’t be a lasting one.

 

 

'How many people are going to fly to Colorado to ride around in a van and get pot, and then you’re limited to where you can smoke it?' she said.

 

 

'Plus, it’s not like you can bring it home with you.'

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new...one-complaining.html




 

 

Last edited by Cholly
Original Post

Now you see the TRUE reason for the push for legalization of marijuana, which is one reason that I stopped supporting the idea of legalization long ago, along with the fact that it is now being/going to be grown in unnatural environments, with man-made chemicals and GMOs and God knows what types of experimentation.  

  You're right my sista.  Look what they did to the tobacco industry.  And THC is the culprit of how folks get high....they are gonna do something to fock with that....watch!  And then you will hear all kinds of diseases [like with smoking/chewing/dipping tobacco] as result of using marijuana.  And when that happens it will be crystal CLEAR that the govt uses addictive agents to get consumers hooked.  That's how they make that almighty dollar off of consumer/investor taxes.  Already our society is hooked on sugar, carbohudrates[sp],alcohol, tobacco, and spending money you don't have.  Now I guess you can put marijuana use on the list too.  It's all about the money yall.  Bottom line.  But!.  

 

Last edited by Kocolicious

When you stop and think about life, the White Man controls every aspect of life that females of every species brings forth on this planet.  When HE says it's legal, OK; when HE says it's not the thing to do, HE'LL send you to your grave.  He's the self-proclaimed god of Earth and you'd better not buck him!!

Originally Posted by sunnubian:

Now you see the TRUE reason for the push for legalization of marijuana, which is one reason that I stopped supporting the idea of legalization long ago, along with the fact that it is not being/going to be grown in unnatural environments, with man-made chemicals and GMOs and God knows what types of experimentation.  

Not everyone who supports legalization supports it for the same reasons.

 

As I understand it the Walmart-ification of weed has and is a big concern for many who grow and sell it .

 

Business people or the "investor class" simply see an avenue for huge returns at a time when Big Money Investors are short on things to invest in (this is a huge issue largely not discussed in MSM).  The other part is the decriminalization of drugs, as a way of coming to terms with the 'war on drugs' being ineffective at stopping usage, but EXTREMELY effective at criminalizing a segment of the population. 

 

 

This issue is much closer to the issue and legality of "generics" in other country.  Legality is largely defined and framed by who stands to benefit/harmed most. 

 

How’re we doing? Zombie nation crowd control – mass media psy ops replaces News + chronic alcohol, crack, weed, smack & psychiatric drug use.  Weed  legalization considered by itself is likely a lot more complex, lots of factors.

Why Colorado’s Weed Laws May Backfire For Black Americans

Filed under: Featured,Headlines | 
Colorado Weed Laws 1 e1389035133123 photo

Colorado’s legalization of cannabis will push street level dealers out of the market

AFRICANGLOBE – On New Year’s Day, the first recreational marijuana shops opened for business in Colorado.  Through a landmark ballot initiative, the state became the first and only place in the world where recreational cannabis can be grown, sold and taxed legally. Eager customers lined up along snowy, freshly cleared sidewalks; gleefully awaiting their turn to purchase neatly packaged sacks of bud.

King Tut Kush, Gypsy Girl. You name it, you can get it. That is so long as you are over 21, can front enough cash and agree to also buy the required childproof bag.  Retailers, who had both the investment capital and the stamina to undergo rigorous inspections, background checks and approval process, anticipated as many as 1,000 first-day customers.

Amendment 64 is truly groundbreaking legislation not only because it is the first of its kind to be enacted, but also because of its presumed power to become a spring board for other states to follow suit.  Pot advocates believe the move could spell the beginning of the end of a 70-year prohibition-era.  Without question, Colorado (and soon Washington State) is a critical test case for federal legalization.

By creating a highly regulated “seed to sale” market, Colorado stands to reap an estimated $70 million bonanza in tax revenue this year alone.  In addition to the standard applicable sales tax, voters approved an additional 25 percent levy on every transaction. No matter what you believe about the relative benefits or pitfalls of smoking pot, its legalization—much like alcohol—is a clear moneymaker for nearly everyone involved.

With the influx of new jobs and new revenue, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper will be singing, “Do you love me, Mary Jane?” all the way to the bank.

Still others in the Left-leaning chatter class, however, would like you to believe that Colorado—and soon other states—has eradicated the necessity of black market weed entirely.  They would have you believe, that by bringing the market “above ground” the way Colorado did, state and local law enforcement dollars can be re-prioritized to focus on crimes that have a tangibly negative impact on public safety. A bevy of well-honed opinion columns in heavy circulation also point out that even though blacks and whites use marijuana at near equal rates, African-Americans are almost four times more likely to be arrested for possession.

They will tell you, with a straight face, that the Colorado referendum effectively puts and end to inequities in criminalization based on race and class.

“By legalizing marijuana, Colorado has stopped the needless and racially biased enforcement of marijuana prohibition laws,” said Ezekiel Edwards, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Criminal Law Reform Project.

Balderdash.

Though my now grown children will be surprised to learn that I am agnostic about smoking the “sticky-itcky”, I am deeply troubled about the potential legal outcomes for those who cannot afford to participate in the legal market.

At issue, at least for me, is the manner in which the new regulations have been enacted.  Tight regulation, short supply and the general cost of running a business—including additional security measures– caused early prices to skyrocket.  Some shops are reporting sales as high as $500 per ounce, plus 25 percent tales tax— or nearly double what one might pay at the nearest trap house or college dorm room.

At that price, one should be able to dump their stash on the coffee table and watch it magically roll and light itself.

A chart-topping friend in the music industry, who is nothing short of an expert “weedologist”, says it is indeed “top notch sh*t.” But he recalls copping an ounce for just $300 a few months ago in Colorado.

The government now owns the game and with that comes a myriad of drawbacks. Exorbitant pricing and heavy taxation effectively locked many people out of the market. And even if that is short-term, it ensures the black market will persist.   The ever savvy and nimble “trap gods”, free of the regulatory environment, the costs associated with lighting up a store, paying employees and issuing W-2s, will adjust their prices to meet the demand for cheaper weed.

That’s just the free market at work. And nobody knows the game better than the streets.

But make no mistake, that street market will remain criminalized.  “The new system is f**ked up,” said the weedologist. He agrees that, in fact, for this experiment to be successful not only will the state have to get more shops approved to improve the supply chain flow, law enforcement must clamp down on the illegal trade.  The government game cannot survive if the street peddler and his bargain basement prices are allowed to flourish. And that almost certainly means more arrests– more arrests of a largely Black and disproportionately poor population of street vendors.  The result may further tip the scales in favor of a privileged class already largely safe from criminalization.

MSNBC host Chris Hayes, a fervent anti-prohibition supporter, took to the airwaves with a powerful, personal account of how he almost landed in the jail for marijuana possession.“I can tell you as sure as I am sitting here before you that if I was a black kid with cornrows instead of a white kid with glasses, my a** would’ve been in a squad car faster than you can say George W. Bush,” Hayes told his All Inaudience.

Damn right.

Despite what my learned colleagues might tell you, there is nothing progressive about laws that will effectively deepen the chasm of inequities in the criminalization of marijuana. Even in the short-term, while we are still working out the kinks, the dispossessed Black masses will be lining courtrooms and serving time.

When they tell you this is about lessening the strain of law enforcement, don’t believe them. It’s about advancing—even if unintentionally– institutionalized profiling. It’s a license to descend upon every street corner and alleyway in search of illegal weed peddlers. Aside from tourism and real estate, the prison industrial complex is among the biggest employers in Colorado. That will not change.  Those metal prison beds, run by private for-profit companies, must still be sold. And we know who will not be sleeping in them.

In cities across Colorado and around the country, young Black boys are still doing jail time and losing educational and job opportunities as a result of over-policing. A drug conviction will get a whole family tossed out of public housing. Under this new law, those who see relief will be among the moneyed, privileged class.

So it’s distressing to see my learned colleagues thump their chests over the end of pot prohibition when the new law re-doubles the lock-out for so many who cannot afford the legal market. Maybe pot should be legalized. But this method is rife with elitist thinking and further feeds the over criminalization of the least of these.

It is easy to dismiss the plight of the illegal drug dealer on its face and focus on consumers. After all, individuals can grow up to six plants at home, provided they are enclosed and locked. But I would posit that it is in our collective best interest not to turn away.  Take away the only livelihood they know, and they will find something else you may not like—such as harder drugs to manufacture and sell or property crimes. Or they find ways to expand an existing market. Marijuana use among teenagers, even though barred from buying under the new law, is on the rise. Do nothing and expect them to be targeted with greater zeal.

If we were truly interested in curing the injustices, the governor would issue pardons or at least call for the conviction of every inmate serving time for simple possession to be set-aside. If not for the steady revenue that comes with locking up petty dealers, Colorado would offer business training and investment dollars so that former street merchants could open their own stores or go to work in existing ones.

In time, the market may well normalize. Regulated supplies will likely increase and prices will fall, especially when (not if) Big Business gets involved. And when they do, lobbyists’ dollars will flow through the halls of the state capitol in an attempt to ensure the death of the black market. We can also expect that with the lure of “clean money”, deep-pocketed drug cartels, using straw owners and other avenues, will find their way back into the game.

Barring any additional reforms, black market dealers will be put out of business and jailed.  Or worse. They will die fighting over the last scrap of turf — tragically human cost too many are all too willing to pay.

 

By: Goldie Taylor

Ryan Kunkel, right, and Joel Berman, co-owners of several marijuana dispensaries, counting money at their office in Seattle.

Banks Say No to Marijuana Money, Legal or Not

 

SEATTLE — In his second-floor office above a hair salon in north Seattle, Ryan Kunkel is seated on a couch placing $1,000 bricks of cash — dozens of them — in a rumpled brown paper bag. When he finishes, he stashes the money in the trunk of his BMW and sets off on an adrenalized drive downtown, darting through traffic and nervously checking to see if anyone is following him.

 

Despite the air of criminality, there is nothing illicit in what Mr. Kunkel is doing. He co-owns five medical marijuana dispensaries, and on this day he is heading to the Washington State Department of Revenue to commit the ultimate in law-abiding acts: paying taxes. After about 25 minutes at the agency, Mr. Kunkel emerges with a receipt for $51,321.

 

“Carrying such large amounts of cash is a terrible risk that freaks me out a bit because there is the fear in my mind that the next car pulling up beside me could be the crew that hijacks us,” he said. “So, we have to play this never-ending shell game of different cars, different routes, different dates and different times.”

Mr. Kunkel and his business partner, Mr. Berman, left. David Ryder for The New York Times

 

Legal marijuana merchants like Mr. Kunkel — mainly medical marijuana outlets but also, starting this year, shops that sell recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington — are grappling with a pressing predicament: Their businesses are conducted almost entirely in cash because it is exceedingly difficult for them to open and maintain bank accounts, and thus accept credit cards.

 

The problem underscores the patchwork nature of federal and state laws that have evolved fitfully as states have legalized some form of marijuana commerce. Though 20 states and the District of Columbia allow either medical or recreational marijuana use — with more likely to follow suit — the drug remains illegal under federal law. The Controlled Substances Act, enacted in 1970 classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, the most dangerous category, which also includes heroin, LSD and ecstasy.

 

As a result, banks, including state-chartered ones, are reluctant to provide traditional services to marijuana businesses. They fear that federal regulators and law enforcement authorities might punish them, with measures like large fines, for violating prohibitions on money-laundering, among other federal laws and regulations.

 

“Banking is the most urgent issue facing the legal cannabis industry today,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association in Washington, D.C. Saying legal marijuana sales in the United States could reach $3 billion this year, Mr. Smith added: “So much money floating around outside the banking system is not safe, and it is not in anyone’s interest. Federal law needs to be harmonized with state laws.”

 

The limitations have created unique burdens for legal marijuana business owners. They pay employees with envelopes of cash. They haul Chipotle and Nordstrom bags containing thousands of dollars in $10 and $20 bills to supermarkets to buy money orders.

 

When they are able to open bank accounts — often under false pretenses — many have taken to storing money in Tupperware containers filled with air fresheners to mask the smell of marijuana.

 

The all-cash nature of the business has also created huge security concerns for business owners. Many have installed panic buttons for workers in the event of a robbery and have set up a constellation of security cameras at their facilities beyond what is required, as well as floor sensors to detect break-ins.

 

In Colorado, Blue Line Protection Group was formed a few months ago, specializing in protecting dispensaries and facilities that grow marijuana, and in providing transportation security.

 

The firm largely uses military veterans who have Special Operations experience.

 

Marijuana business owners have devised strategies to avoid the suspicions of bankers. A number of legal operations have opened accounts by establishing holding companies with names that obscure the nature of their business.

 

Some owners simply use personal bank accounts. Others have relied on local bank managers willing to take chances and bring them on as clients, or even offer tips on how to choose nondescript company names.

 

But the financial institutions eventually shut down many of these accounts after managers conclude the businesses are too much of a risk. It is not unusual for a legitimate marijuana business to go through a half-dozen bank accounts in a few years.

 

While they are active, however, these accounts may have informal restrictions placed on them — some self-imposed — so they do not draw the scrutiny of bankers who may file suspicious-activity reports or would be required to report deposits over $10,000 in cash. The account holders may make only small deposits, and only at night and at certain branches. Mr. Kunkel of Seattle has such an account.

 

At the largest credit union in Washington State, BECU, about 20 accounts have been shut down in the last three years after it was discovered they were for businesses in the legal marijuana trade, Todd Pietzsch, a spokesman for the credit union, said.

 

Kristi Kelly, 36, who owns two dispensaries and several marijuana growing operations in the Denver area, said six bank accounts of hers had been canceled in the last 18 months. “Opening the account is not necessarily the problem,” she said. “Our cash deposit levels flag a bank’s compliance division.”

 

Mr. Kunkel, co-owner of five marijuana dispensaries, delivered a bag of cash to the Washington State Department of Revenue in Seattle. After 25 minutes, he emerged with a receipt for $51,321. David Ryder for The New York Times.

 

Ms. Kelly, who had just paid $10,000 in cash to the City of Denver for licensing and application fees to expand her business, said that several times a week she carried around tens of thousands of dollars in a bag. “I never felt as illegitimate as the day I had to buy a cash counter,” she said, adding that she spends three hours or so a day just managing the cash from her business’s multiple locations.

 

A.T.M.s are common in marijuana outlets, but the business owners often have to use their own cash in the machines in case law enforcement authorities conduct a raid and seize the money.

 

Those marijuana operations that do have bank accounts or use the personal ones of their owners can use a cashless A.T.M. service in which a debit card is swiped at a dispensary and the money is transferred into the recipient’s account.

 

“It is operating over the A.T.M. network and not the credit card network,” said Lance Ott, whose company, Guardian Data Systems, provides this service. “The A.T.M. networks are not as regulated.

 

This is the loophole.”

 

Since legal marijuana operations, for the most part, cannot get bank loans, these small businesses have to rely on short-term loans from individuals, usually with higher interest rates.

 

To help, High Times magazine is starting a private equity fund to invest in marijuana businesses. But many investors may feel uneasy about marijuana businesses that do not have bank accounts. And without bank references, entrepreneurs say, it is much tougher to get lines of credit from vendors.

 

Leaders in the marijuana trade point out that giving accounts to businesses would allow for more transparency and meticulous regulation and would help ensure that jurisdictions receive the taxes they are entitled to.

 

Marijuana entrepreneurs and banks both would like clear guidelines from the government on how financial institutions can serve the industry. On Friday, six members of Colorado’s congressional delegation sent a letter to the Treasury and the Justice Department requesting that they “expedite” that guidance.

 

In August, the Justice Department issued a memo indicating that it would not crack down on legal marijuana as long as eight regulatory requirements were met, like preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises and preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors. The memo did not address banking.

 

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network hopes to circulate recommendations by the end of this month to officials at the Treasury and the Justice Department for their opinions, an official briefed on the situation said. There is no timetable for formal guidelines.

 

Richard Riese, senior vice president for regulatory compliance at the American Bankers Association, said banks wanted clear and comprehensive guidelines on how to do business with the legal marijuana industry.

 

Mr. Riese said, for instance, that banks would want to know that they were not “aiding and abetting” a criminal enterprise if they provided services to marijuana businesses. “Banks will need a lot of detail from regulators to get the satisfaction and comfort they are looking for,” he said.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01...gal-or-not.html?_r=0

 

 

They take money from drug dealers all day long any other time, because actually the Bank has no way of proving exactly where anyone's money comes from when they are depositing cash.  But, I guess they are too busy laundering money for kingpins and dirty politicians to touch these new Marijuana growers.  

  This time the spotlight is on them and probably why they don't wanna take it RIGHT NOW.  But just wait.  Give it about a couple of years when everything has stabelized and the prices have gone down and regular person can afford it-then you gonna see a change.  I don't understand why massa frown on "weed" he's been smoking it for YEARS!  But I guess weed has always been viewed a "black" thang.....but!  We all know that's a ball face lie.  Watch how this "arrogance"  of not taking drug money turns around and banks will have a special merchant booths just for dispensories[sp] while saying to themselves.... "ching ching let that cash register ring."  But! 

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