52-year-old Michelle Mitnik is the owner and operator of Mountain High Treks, a company that takes tourists out to cannabis-friendly ranch vacations, touring high-end dispensaries and soon cannabis-themed weddings. She has two full-time tour guides and many more on-call. All of her promotional materials and other business-related items come from the local area. There have been a number of new businesses like hers, mail order marijuana businesses, springing up all over Colorado Springs, and other local businesses are blooming due to the needs of these businesses. Minnie says, “The whole marijuana industry is just trickle-down economics.
It’s incredible.” There’s a grow-your-own consultant firm, a marijuana lounge, and edibles and vaporizer manufacturers. Denver is seeing even more of these types of businesses, and will likely see more proliferate and the market further diversify as time goes on, and as looser business restrictions come into place this November. The state is also looking to do more marijuana-based research which may be to find more intellectual ammo to keep up the “green rush,” a term derived from California’s gold rush. Sales and use taxes generated for the city of Colorado Springs is $4.2 million for medical marijuana alone, spanning from 2009 until April of 2019.
Those figures don’t include ancillary businesses, but only those directly related to medical cannabis. Executive director for the Marijuana Industry Group, a lobbying firm, Michael Elliot says that all the businesses that have popped up around medical and recreational marijuana have an incalculable impact on the economy, which would be near impossible to get a figure for. But if he’d have to guess, he’d say it was in the hundreds of millions of dollars all across the state.
The legalization of marijuana for recreational use is going to need a whole host of other businesses to support it. So many different kinds of products and services are needed. That need gives a huge boost to industries and sectors across the board, Elliot says. According to the lead economist at the Colorado Futures Center at Colorado State University, Phyllis Resnick, real estate and manufacturing are two areas that have been particularly affected by this new growing industry. The recession left storefronts and warehouses empty. But cannabis businesses are filling them.
Not everyone agrees that legalization has been good for the business atmosphere of the state. President and CEO of the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance Joe Rasso say it’s been hard for businesses to find employees who can pass drug tests. He said he doesn’t know any businesses that came to the state due to legalization. “Any time there’s an uncertainty in the market, it creates a higher concern for companies that are making those decisions,” says Rasso. With so many businesses popping up, record sales, jobs being created and tax coffers being filled, there is little that seems bad about the state’s legalization move from a business standpoint.