Monday, June 26, 2017

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Native Roots, a popular chain of pot shops, announced their hopes to secure naming rights to the stadium in a press release that went out April 1. But owners of the shops insisted the effort is no prank.

Mile High Stadium, Dnver“No, this is not an April Fool’s joke,” said Rhett Jordan, a founding partner of the Denver dispensaries. “We have a ton of pride in the Broncos, we’re a large corporation in Colorado just like a Coors Light or a Sports Authority.”

If Jordan and his partners get their wish – admittedly a long shot – the stadium would become the Native Roots Field at Mile High. Naming rights to the arena are currently owned by Sports Authority, and it carries the official name Sports Authority Field at Mile High, though few Coloradans call it that.

Sports Authority experiencing financial troubles

Sports Authority’s ownership of naming rights has come into question as recent financial troubles may prevent the company from making future payments. That has led to some debate over what the new name should be if Sports Authority backs out of its contract.

One proposal, pushed by former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, would simply return the home of the Broncos to the name everyone already uses: Mile High Stadium. That would make the arena a civic property once again.

“The corporation didn’t build the stadium, the taxpayers in six counties built the stadium, the fans keep it going,” Webb said.

The move by Native Roots is bold, he said, and will likely win some hometown support. But it probably won’t come to pass, he said.

Dispensary unlikely to secure naming rights

“Locally grown, ahead of the curve, I thought it was a gutsy move on their part,” Webb said. “But my preference would still be that it would be called Mile High Stadium, so I don’t think we should be naming the stadium after a dispensary.”

Native Roots, DenverThe Sports Authority contract is still in force, a spokesperson for the Broncos said. Both sides hope to resolve the financial difficulties before the next payment comes due, the spokesperson said, so it’s too early to speculate on any replacement – including Native Roots.

But Jordan said his shops are breaking new ground, and could open the door to a unique way of naming large corporate facilities.

“We’re a cannabis company and no one has ever done anything like this in the cannabis sector,” Jordan said.

NFL officials didn’t immediately comment on the proposal, though the league’s total ban on marijuana use by players would suggest the league is unlikely to back the idea.

What do you think? Will Native Roots get its name on Mile High Stadium? Is it a good idea? Comment below.

Private cannabis clubs could come to Denver after all.

Denver Cannabis ClubMarijuana advocates filed a petition in March to put the issue on the November ballot, a year after a similar effort failed. The petition was submitted March 25 and would bring members-only cannabis bars to Colorado’s largest city.

If the question makes the ballot, voters could legalize clubs that would allow marijuana smoking indoors on their property. Such clubs are currently illegal, though several operate covertly.

The bars would only serve adults over 21, and they would not be allowed to sell cannabis or even alcohol. Members would have to bring their own pot, and could only smoke it on the premises.

Illicit clubs considered public property

Though the illegal clubs occupy private property, the state considers them public because they serve a public clientele. Police have raided several such clubs since marijuana became legal in 2013.

The existing clubs are illicit but not hard to find. And despite the raids, Denver officials have mostly looked the other way. But state law still tightly restricts the places where stoners can smoke cannabis.

Retail marijuana stores and medical marijuana dispensaries are barred from allowing customers to smoke on the property. Officials in Alaska, where cannabis has also been legalized, are considering a rule that would permit on-site use, but Colorado has not yet moved in that direction.

Activists tried to push through a similar proposal last year, which would have allowed tokers to use the drug in traditional bars. But the measure was withdrawn after it became clear it stood little chance of becoming law.

Nowhere for marijuana users to smoke

Man Smoking Marijuana from Pipe in Denver Cannabis ClubThe lack of cannabis clubs has created significant problems in Colorado and elsewhere, for marijuana users, police, lawmakers, and local officials. Almost all hotels, particularly chain businesses, ban any smoking or marijuana use on their property, leaving tourists with nowhere to smoke.

This has led many visitors to light up in their cars, sometimes on hotel property but often while driving. This, too, is illegal but much harder to police.

Even many residents have a hard time finding places to use marijuana. Homes and apartments are typically considered private property – police, for instance, must obtain a warrant to search even an apartment rented by a landlord.

But those landlords have the legal right to ban smoking of any kind in their apartments, leaving users to consume edibles or vape cannabis. These methods are not effective for every toker.

Despite these problems, state and local officials have not warmed to the idea of cannabis clubs. Efforts to push the idea through the state Legislature have come to nothing. But if advocates get their initiative on the November ballot, there is a good chance voters would pass it.

What do you think? Should Colorado and other states permit cannabis clubs?  

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Legal marijuana is expected to generate as much as $44 billion a year by 2020, according to a report in Marijuana Business Daily.

marijuana moneyThe report examined ongoing trends in the cannabis industry and found it is poised to explode over the next four years. As new states legalize, the proceeds will grow faster.

Annual revenue could rise from less than $17 billion in 2016 to between $24 billion and $44 billion in 2020, according to the report.

Accelerated growth is probable

The numbers are large, but the explosive growth is to be expected. Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana for personal use in 2012, followed by Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia in 2014.

As new states legalize – referendum petitions have been filed in 16 states in advance of the November election – the industry becomes ever more accepted by society. That means even more people are likely to use it in coming years.

“We’re witnessing the emergence of a business that is about to become a massive economic force,” said Chris Walsh, the magazine’s managing editor. “These figures, which we deem conservative, show not only how important the industry already is to the U.S economy at large, but also how much more important it is about to become.”

U.S. Cannabis Industry

 

All-encompassing data

LeafThe new numbers are all-encompassing, painting a picture of all cash the industry is expected to pump into the local and national economies. That includes money taken in by the companies that sell marijuana, plus licensing fees, tax revenue, tourist dollars, spending by industry employees, job creation, and real estate prices.

But the key element is retail sales of medicinal and recreational cannabis, including bud, concentrates, and edibles. Each dollar spent by a customer generates an extra three dollars in economic gain, according to the magazine’s report.

This year’s sales revenue could top $4 billion, an increase of at least 17 percent or between $3 billion and $3.4 billion. But that’s nothing compared to the $8 billion expected from direct sales in 2018 and $11 billion in 2020. Sales of cannabis for personal use could bring in more cash than medical marijuana by 2018, though MMJ will always be a significant part of the industry.

The estimates are designed to account for variables such as the pace of legalization, the cost and effect of regulations, tax revenue, and problems the industry is likely to face as it grows.

New president opposing legalization could slow the trend

But there are other factors that could get in the way of major growth, the report found. The country could elect a president in November who opposes legalization, or local communities could react negatively by enacting bans on pot shops and other businesses.

Still, the outlook is strong, and experts predict the industry will get past these obstacles. Votes to legalize in new states will only accelerate the trend. Voters are likely to consider the issue this fall in California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada, among others.

“These would be huge new markets for the marijuana industry, propelling its growth for years to come,” Walsh said. “At this point, marijuana executives are holding their collective breath and hoping for a big November.”

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One of the hardest things about taking a trip when you’re a stoner is that there’s almost no place where you can lay your head and also enjoy a fat boy.

Smoking Marijuana JointMost hotels, motels, lodges, and campsites want nothing to do with potheads, at least not on their property. But that may be changing, if only one business at a time.

Richmond Meyer, a partner in Colorado-based Keef Cola, has decided to open a new property in downtown Denver, the Nativ Hotel. Not only will stoners be welcome, but half of the 16 rooms have balconies set aside for toking.

The Nativ isn’t the first cannabis-friendly accommodation in Colorado – or, for that matter, in other states where weed is legal. But so far the pickings have been very limited, with just a handful of B&Bs and inns playing along, together with some homeowners with rooms to rent.

Colorado’s first cannabis-themed hotel

The Nativ will be the first overtly cannabis-themed hotel in Denver, and possibly elsewhere. Unlike most other places where weed is welcome, guests will be allowed to smoke the drug, not just vape it. In Colorado, even most rooms for rent are only vape-friendly.

Meyer’s company, Keef Cola, produces a marijuana-infused soda sold in dispensaries throughout Colorado. Meyer is also a partner and investor in other local cannabis business. He said his insider perspective should make the hotel especially appealing to stoners.

“The charm of Nativ Hotel is that the owners are in the business,” Meyer said. “We embrace the culture, we embrace the industry, we embrace the plant and everything that’s coming with it.”

The Nativ property was previously occupied by another hotel, the Jet, in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood.

Lucrative marijuana tourism market

The marijuana travel market is a potential cash cow in Colorado, at least until more states legalize and pot tourists have more options. The window for success may not be open long, so entrepreneurs such as Meyer stand to make a lot of money by acting now.

Marijuana tourism is an established business in Colorado, as pot smokers from other parts of the country travel there to sample the legal weed. Unfortunately, the industry still lacks some of the touches that could really sell the area to tourists.

weed leafThere are already public cannabis clubs in Denver, for example, but they’re still mostly unregulated and subject to police crackdown. Few other establishments cater to stoners, aside from pot shops. But as ancillary cannabis businesses start providing more of these services, the potential for revenue is huge.

Recreational marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2012, the same year Washington State legalized. Two other states, Oregon and Alaska, legalized weed last year, as did Washington, D.C.

The industries in these states are still very young, so it’s too early to say exactly where the best business opportunities are. But Meyer’s new hotel and other growing ancillary businesses suggest entrepreneurs are busy figuring that out.

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