Atlantic Cities

Starting a Marijuana Business in Colorado Will Cost a Small Fortune

Starting a Marijuana Business in Colorado Will Cost a Small Fortune
Reuters

Colorado state legislators are holding three days of hearings this week to finalize the number of flaming hoops through which would-be marijuana retailers will have to jump in order to open up shop in the state. Regardless of what requirements the legislature settles on, this much we already know: starting your own pot business in Colorado will cost a small fortune.

“Would-be entrepreneurs will be charged up to $5,000 just to apply to be in the recreational pot business,” writes the AP’s Kristen Wyatt, “and operational licenses run $3,750 to $14,000 under the proposed rules.”

That means Colorado’s recreational pot retail fees dwarf those being considered in Washington state, where "licenses to grow, process and sell marijuana would each cost $1,000 per year" plus a $250 application fee. The retail pot fees are also substantially larger than those required of medical marijuana applicants, who currently pay a one-time $2,000 application fee and an annual $3,000 licensing fee. On the other hand, Coloradans can already grow up to three of their own plants and "non-commercially" exchange up to one ounce. 

Considering that the Amendment 64 campaign for legal pot in Colorado was based on "regulating marijuana like alcohol," it’s somewhat ironic that the fees for recreational marijuana businesses will be larger than those for liquor stores, who pay a state application fee of $1,025, a city application fee of $1,000, and combined annual licensing fees of less than $500.    

Photo by Rick Wilking/Reuters

Mike Riggs is a former staff writer at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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