News / USA

Legal Marijuana in Colorado Good for Business, Worrisome for Public Health

Legal Marijuana in Colorado Good for Business, Worrisome for Public Healthi
X
February 19, 2014 7:49 PM
In Colorado, the marijuana business has been booming since January, when the state legalized the sale and recreational use of the drug, despite public health concerns raised by opponents. The legal cannabis industry is expected to generate $500 million in sales and $67 million in taxes each year in Colorado. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Denver, it already is creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Brian Padden
In Colorado, the marijuana business has been booming since January, when the state legalized the sale and recreational use of the drug, despite public health concerns raised by opponents. The legal cannabis industry is expected to generate $500 million in sales and $67 million in taxes each year in Colorado. It already is creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Marijuana's legalization in Colorado has made Mike Paulk, who had been involved for years in the illicit trade of the drug, a legitimate businessman.

“Yeah, it made me stoked because I went to prison for cultivating weed," he said. "It was in 2000. I got caught, busted and now I am free to do it without fear. And it feeds me and clothes me and takes care of me.”

While Paulk is not licensed to sell marijuana, he is permitted to grow it for personal use and he skirts state regulations by giving it away to customers who purchase pipes. And the pipe business is thriving, he said.

Authorized marijuana dispensaries that before legalization could only cater to medical marijuana patients also have seen a major boost in sales.

Elan Nelson with Medicine Man Denver, the largest marijuana dispensary in Colorado, said the company has been growing more plants and hiring more workers to keep up with rising demand.

“Our best day when we were just a medical marijuana dispensary is now our normal day, now that we are medical and recreational,” he said.

Business also is booming for Elyse Gordon and Deloise Vaden, owners of a bakery that sells cookies, pies and candy infused with marijuana for customers who want to get high without smoking.

“We can produce approximately 1,000 pieces every seven to 10 days. And we pushed ourselves this last time and ended up with 2,000 pieces because of the demand,” Vaden said.

Critics say the danger of this intoxicating and addictive drug far outweighs any economic benefit legalization might bring.

Reed Spalding, a recovering drug addict and Denver resident, said, "For me the danger of marijuana was that it took away my motivation. I think it isolated me."

And Dr. Paula Riggs, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado, warns marijuana can cause permanent damage to young people.

“In adolescents that regularly use marijuana, that has been associated with a decline of six to eight points in their adult I.Q. Doesn't look like you get that back. That's a very significant public health concern,” she said.

State officials say increased tax revenue from marijuana sales will allow them to properly regulate the industry as they do now with alcohol and tobacco, and also to fund public education and treatment programs.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: adam from: florida
February 21, 2014 2:04 AM
weed does not make you loose your motivation it changes your motivation to be better and make a difference. cannabis could help the world no more deforestation less people addicted to opiates a lot more help for the less fortunate funded by taxes better school system.


by: Brion Eduardo from: kansas
February 20, 2014 11:03 AM
Somebody needs to go to journalism school and learn the difference between news and opinion.


by: Duncan Wallace
February 20, 2014 2:16 AM
Cannabis has not been re-legalized in Colorado for anyone under 21 years of age.

There are exactly 2 States which have laws making cannabis an age restricted product. Does any one think that they'll need to use all 3 guesses to name those States?

"Dr." Riggs is regurgitating baseless speculation built on a platform of bald faced lies, half truths and hysterical rhetoric. Irrational fear is not a sound or valid basis for the formation of public policy. Insisting on the continued embrace of an epic, proven failure is just plain brain dead "reasoning."

To date not a single State with a medicinal cannabis patient protection law has suffered a statistically significant increase in the rate of youth use of cannabis. We certainly heard an earful of similar hysterical rhetoric during the 2000 campaign for A-20. None of those pieces of utter fiction has played out as predicted by the Know Nothing prohibitionists.
http://www.ucdenver.edu/about/newsroom/newsreleases/Pages/medical-marijuana-teenagers.aspx

The only thing related to "the children" that the prohibitionists are concerned with is their value as political pawns and as an ingredient to make their hysterical rhetoric even more.hysterical.


by: jp
February 19, 2014 8:44 PM
"Public health concerns"
What public health concerns?

And Dr. Paula Riggs,
Wow I don't even know where to begin... the fact that your a so called doctor is scary... your a absolute f#%@ing joke... please re educate yourself on cannabis... cause you obviously are clueless when it comes to that subject...


by: Norman Gooding
February 19, 2014 6:19 PM
Apparently the only people worried about health costs are not aware that the CDC has no facts supporting any health costs for marijuana use,,no deaths,,no hospital visits,,the only mention of marijuana is in the entrance forms telling the treating doctor what drugs the patient had used so he wouldn't administer any treatment that could cause a drug reaction and has nothing to do with why the patient was in the emergency room.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid