Marijuana Shops Expect New Year’s Day Surge

Marijuana Shops Expect New Year’s Day Surge from I-News on Vimeo.

Marijuana businesses and regulators are gearing up for the biggest change in the industry's brief history. Colorado dispensaries will be able to begin selling recreational pot on January 1 to anyone 21 or older.

"We're going to be looking at three to four times the demand," said Andy Williams, president of the Medicine Man medical marijuana dispensary in Denver. He predicts long lines outside his east Denver store when it opens at 8:30 a.m. on New Years Day. Medicine Man is one of an estimated 100 medical marijuana stores in Colorado that are expected to begin selling recreational pot in January.

Marijuana businesses and regulators are gearing up for the biggest change in the industry’s brief history. Colorado dispensaries will be able to begin selling recreational pot on January 1 to anyone 21 or older.

“We’re going to be looking at three to four times the demand,” said Andy Williams, president of the Medicine Man medical marijuana dispensary in Denver. He predicts long lines outside his east Denver store when it opens at 8:30 a.m. on New Years Day. Medicine Man is one of an estimated 100 medical marijuana stores in Colorado that are expected to begin selling recreational pot in January.

Williams expects to find it difficult to keep up with an anticipated surge in demand. “Production is going to be literally capped at less than twice the capacity that we have right now,” he said. “So prices are going to go up.”

In addition to production limits, there are other obstacles for potential pot entrepreneurs come the first of the year. Many jurisdictions in Colorado have imposed moratoriums or bans on retail pot shops. And, initially at least, only current medical dispensaries will be able to start selling recreational marijuana. Even so, annual sales of marijuana in Colorado are forecast to rise by more than $350 million in 2014, a 60 percent increase on 2012 sales.

“That will produce tens of millions of dollars in new tax revenue for the state,” said Brian Vicente, an attorney and pro-marijuana activist.

Colorado voters this month approved a 25 percent tax on retail pot sales. The first $40 million of tax revenues will be spent on school construction. “We have been contacted by elected officials and government officials in numerous other states that want to learn about what’s going on in Colorado,” said Vicente.

The only other state to that will allow recreational marijuana sales is Washington. With 20 other states and the District of Columbia already permitting medical marijuana sales, pro-pot activists say they expect more places to follow Colorado and Washington’s lead.

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