BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
On Nov. 8, the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce hosted a program at the Greenwood Village headquarters of AAA Colorado, Inc. about the economic development impacts of the hemp, marijuana, and CBD industry. It drew a full house of lawyers, CPA’s, insurance and real estate executives, along with state and local government officials.
Peter Marcus, a former political reporter now serving as communications director of Terrapin Care Station (TCS), a ten-year old cannabis company owned solely by Chris Woods, talked about TCS’s evolution as an important business organization whose product happens to be cannabis. The company now operates in Pennsylvania and will soon be in Michigan, New Jersey, and Missouri, in addition to its six vertically-integrated dispensaries in Colorado. TCS has 270 employees and is a member of local chambers of commerce and the Better Business Bureau. It won the Boulder Chamber’s Innovative Business of the Year award in 2017. The company recently announced that it will pay all its employees a minimum of $15/hour. Said Marcus, “We don’t need the government to force us.” TPS prides itself on being socially responsible, having contributed $500,000 to non-profits in the areas of justice, human needs, political advocacy and education, arts and culture, and veteran’s services.
Focusing on the economic impact of the marijuana industry, Marcus said that the 2,900 licensed marijuana businesses in Colorado have generated $6.5 billion in overall sales since 2014. Taxes and fees paid to the state just in 2018 were $266.5 million. Monthly state revenue has been at least $20 million since July 2017.
A law to allow the marijuana industry to openly and legally use banks in the same way as other businesses passed the U.S. House of Representatives 321-103 in Sept. 2019, with the help of U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter. It is being championed by U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in the U.S. Senate, but is presently bogged down by the activity around the possible impeachment of the President. It is believed that about 35 banks in Colorado are currently quietly accepting licensed marijuana businesses’ receipts.
Marcus sees new products coming that contain both THC and CBD “for health and wellness.” He believes that more front range Colorado cities, such as Lakewood and Broomfield, may start to allow marijuana businesses in the next few years. Statewide, 70 cities permit marijuana sales, including Denver, Boulder, Aurora, Englewood, Edgewater, Commerce City, Northglenn, Longmont, Louisville, Sheridan, Mountain View, and Wheat Ridge on the front range.
Chris Lackner, vice-president of public affairs of Mile High Labs (MHL), a company that manufactures CBD (cannabidiol) in a 400,000 square foot building formerly used by a pharmaceutical manufacturer in Broomfield, told the group that CBD comes from the same plant as marijuana. He said there are 113 different cannabinoids, and that CBD and THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) are just two of them. He explained that if a plant has less than 0.3 percent THC, it is considered an industrial hemp plant. If it has more than 0.3 percent THC, it is considered a cannabis plant.
CBD has many known medicinal qualities, including as an anti-
inflammatory, pain reliever, and treatment for insomnia. (Lackner said he was aware of a mattress company that was selling it alongside its mattresses as a sleep aid.) It does not have the intoxicating effect that is found in products with the higher level of THC, though those also possess several recognized medicinal qualities.
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