MMJ America in the News
Colorado Marijuana Tourism Update
The ski and snowboard industry has always been Colorado’s biggest tourism draw.
However the new reason to visit the state is going to give that established industry a run for it’s money. The marijuana tourism industry is just picking up steam as Colorful Colorado prepares for recreational legal marijuana sales.
New businesses that cater to out-of-towners are popping up all over the state including a limo service that tours the city. MMJ America will surely be a favorite stop because of our price and selection along with our close proximity to Mile High Pipe and Tobacco shops at both our LoDo Denver and Boulder locations.
Be sure to get educated on city and state regulations before you go on a marijuana tour. Our website offers many helpful resources to help be your guide. It’s a brave new world and we’re looking forward to exploring the benefits, but please use our product responsibly. The ski and snowboard industry will welcome marijuana tourists, but will ticket anyone using in the lift lines or on the slopes. MMJ America would like to welcome you to Colorado!
Recreational Legal Colorado Marijuana Update
7 News looks to MMJ America when it needs an update on Colorado’s hottest topic: Recreational Legal Marijuana. A few of our owners/corporate officers sat down to discuss the process and the timing. It’s always a priority for us to ensure complete compliance with all laws, so it will take us a few weeks after January 1st before we launch rec legal sales.
We are converting our locations to accommodate the requirement of a second entrance and making more changes while we work to obtain city licenses. MMJ America is excited about the opportunity and cautiously optimistic about the changes that recreational legal marijuana will bring to the state of Colorado. Look for more updates coming soon via social media.
Cash, Cannabis piled high in the Mile-High City
DENVER, Colo. —It’s a stunning sight. Rows of green marijuana plants — all illegal under federal law — growing abundantly inside nondescript grow houses in Denver, Colo.
But this crop is like nothing most people have ever read about or even experimented with.
There are no pests or pollutants. There are only potent plants with giant buds covered in crystals of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the concentrated chemical found in marijuana that kills patients’ pain.
From seedlings to harvest to curing in the dark, medical marijuana is now a legitimate $200-million a year industry in Colorado.
“We don’t grow pot here,” said Jake Salazar, owner of MMJ America, a highly-successful Colorado dispensary with three locations. “We grow medicine for licensed patients.”
He said his business alone has created 80 jobs, but it’s not without some risk.
He worries about whether federal law enforcement could someday shut him down — and he worries even more about security.
“All this is primo grown,” he said. And it’s kept in heavily-fortified vaults.
Just to get inside the dispensary, patients must show a state-issued red card, which also keeps track of how much each patient uses.
Also, dispensaries are cash only. And a lot of cash changes hands. All of Salazar’s employees wear panic buttons in case there’s a problem.
Nearby, a Denver-based manufacturer called Dixie Elixirs makes many of the products that Salazar’s dispensaries sell. And the security there is just as tight. Cameras are everywhere.
“There’s not a place in this facility that we’re not videoing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Tripp Keber, the company founder.
But thousands drive by every day without a clue what’s brewing inside.
Dixie Elixirs offers 75 different medical marijuana products, mostly as edibles for people who would rather eat it than smoke it.
“This is 12 ounces, 40 milligrams,” said Keber, holding a bottle of marijuana-medicated soda. “That would be equivalent to smoking four to five marijuana cigarettes.”
The variety of products is staggering. Not just sodas, but also fruit lozenges, mints and chocolate truffles.
“We sell literally thousands of these a week,” said Christie Lunsford, marketing director at Dixie Elixirs, with a truffle in her hand.
The company even offers marijuana-infused bath salts to soak in.
The plants and products are tested multiple times for strength and purity — often by employees who are card-carrying users, too.
Both of these companies, as well as many of their competitors, now see Massachusetts, where medical marijuana is now legal, as the next big opportunity.
“The state of Massachusetts, once we get everything finalized, will probably be several hundred million dollars in its first year,” Keber said. “And then growing exponentially.”
High-Paying Jobs Available in New Medical Marijuana Industry
DENVER —Inside a large modified warehouse in the Denver area, someone’s multimillion-dollar investment in Colorado’s medical marijuana industry is growing and thriving.
NewsCenter 5’s Heather Unruh took an exclusive tour of an enormous grow house, walking past rows and rows of large, high-quality marijuana plants — all ready to be harvested the next day.
The owner predicted it would take roughly three weeks to have the plants processed and delivered to Denver dispensaries.
The success of this business depends on the skill of “master growers” — one of the many new jobs in this exploding new industry.
“There are a lot of jobs to be had,” said Jake Salazar, owner of MMJ America, a highly-successful dispensary with three locations in Colorado.
“We employed directly in excess of 10,000 employees — residents of the state of Colorado — that are working in the cannabis community,” said Tripp Keber, founder of Dixie Elixirs, a Denver-based company that manufactures medicated edibles like sodas and candies.
The occupations include high-salary executive jobs, scientists, security and accountants as well as jobs in marketing, sales and licensing. Attorneys also are finding new opportunities.
“We are one of very few law firms that have expertise in medical marijuana law,” said Brian Vicente, a partner with Vicente Sederberg, LLC, in Denver. His firm just opened an office in Massachusetts.
“Patients need access to medicine now,” he said. “And in Massachusetts, the sooner we have access through stores, the less patients have to go to street corners to get it.”
Vicente said he hopes the Massachusetts Department of Public Health uses Colorado as a model when it finalizes regulations for establishing the industry here.
“We’ve learned a lot of lessons about how to effectively regulate this substance so it gets to patients, not to teens,” he said. “And we can have businesses that are profitable at the same time.”
And those Colorado regulations have meant millions for the state’s operating budget. Last year, a state sales tax generated $5.3 million. Licensing fees have brought in another $7 million.
And while plenty of Colorado entrepreneurs see Massachusetts as the next pot of gold — potentially creating thousands of new jobs — they encouraged anyone interested in the industry to learn from mistakes already made in other states.
“In your state, you don’t want a free-for-all,” Salazar said.
His chain of dispensaries survived Colorado’s initial “green rush” when competitors were everywhere.
“That’s when articles were being written that there are more dispensaries in Colorado than Starbucks, it’s crazy out there, it’s the Wild West,” he said. “And it was.”
Not true anymore. The 1,800 dispensaries that opened in Colorado in 2010 have been weeded down to just 500 — and some are just getting by.
“I know hundreds of people who poured their entire life savings — borrowed from mother, father, sister, brother — with nothing to show at the end of the day,” Keber said. “And so it’s not for the faint of heart.”