Colorado has a law permitting the sale of Marijuana for medicinal use and a law permitting the sale of Marijuana for purely recreational use. The greater concern is the law permitting the sale of Marijuana for recreational purposes. The business on both medical, which appears to be more tightly controlled, and recreational sides seems to have been expanding rapidly based on empirical data available.
There are a significant number of licensed facilities that sell recreational Marijuana over the counter to anyone of age. That number seems to be growing. I am unaware of any limits on the number of these licenses that could be issued, although there may be limits established by the state. There may be involvement of unscrupulous people under the guise of a recreational license with a person having no issues acting as the licensee but on behalf of someone or some entity that otherwise wouldn’t qualify.
As one would expect, there has been a proliferation of less-than-desireable people driven by the availability of Marijuana. Some smaller communities appear to already have more licensed dealers than can be justified, and that has troubled citizens who have no interest in Marijuana either as users or sellers and who have property that might be devalued as the result. One such community is an artsy/partying community a short distance West of Colorado Springs. The tourist trade seems to be diminishing, being driven away likely, as the Marijuana trade takes over in the community.
Tours are available for anyone wishing to come to Colorado for the experience, and that likely will continue to increase so long as there is public demand. There is sufficient initial novelty along with an ever-increasing demand for Marijuana to assure there will continue to be greater and greater sales. Growers have been set up to supply the demand and those likely will be expanding as necessary.
A peculiar wrinkle in all this is the fact that federal law forbids the sale of Marijuana and that makes banks very skittish about where they’d stand if the Feds were to drop the hammer. The result is that this is largely a CASH business, and that means there is basically no way to track sales volume or the places that money goes. There appears to be nothing that would prevent a seller having a license but subverting X amount of sales dollars since there is no apparent way for the state to determine if any skimming was occurring.
This cash business side certainly would seem to make this business very attractive to an element looking to make a lot of untraceable money and/or to laundering some dirty money as well. The state collects only what is due it from the reported volume making it even more attractive for bad actors to be involved in the Marijuana business. There are tiers of licensing depending upon the nature of the business.
Colorado also has licensed casinos operating in the state. Those facilities are tightly controlled but what would preclude deals being made to launder some of their revenue streams by running that money through various cash marijuana operations. What really would preclude casino operators from owning marijuana operators on the side without obvious tie-ins.
This all seems to beg for criminal enterprises to become involved if they’re not already involved. The marketplace and apparent lack of scrutiny make it ideal for money laundering with money from illicit activities.
The bottom line? Who knows where this is all going to go? And who is going to control this beast?