Paul Ryan's Take on Marijuana: Worthless or Desperate?
Boulder, Colorado Medical Marijuana Industry Decimated by New Regulations
Back in 2010 – when the city of Boulder, Colorado began setting up regulations for medical marijuana businesses – there were already about 200 businesses operating within the medical cannabis industry. In November of 2010, 119 businesses applied for licenses with the city.
Fast forward to today, where strict regulations within the city have left 26 dispensaries and 32 grow operations left functioning. In March there were 32 dispensaries in Boulder, which means closures continue.
Although regulations and background checks are meant to “weed out” bad operators, some say things are too strict and good operators are being squeezed out as well.
"It's like one strike and you're done," said Diane Czarkowski, one of the founders of Boulder Kind Care, the first Boulder dispensary to receive a business license from the city.
Tired of dealing with regulations, Czarkowski -- who describes herself as "more of a vision person" -- sold her shares and got out of the pot business in March, though she still works as a consultant and advocate.
Is it a good thing if successful businesspeople get so fed up that they get out of their chosen industry? Not in the least.
"I have never heard that or gotten the impression that that's what [city] council wanted," Senior Assistant City Attorney Kathy Haddock said of limiting the number of dispensaries. "I do think they want businesses that follow the rules and that's important."
But what happens if the rules are so strict that they destroy businesses and jobs? It’s unlikely that was the goal of the city council either.
But some, like Travis Howard, a business attorney who also owns a dispensary in Boulder, said Boulder's high standards have an upside, creating a model for others.
"I'm appreciative that Boulder has given us an opportunity," Howard said. "It's being executed professionally. I feel like I have a fair shake in Boulder, and not all of my colleagues around the state feel that way."
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