In 2012, Colorado became one of the first two states in America to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. And now, in 2013, it has officially issued the very first recreational marijuana sales license in the United States. The honor goes to Annie’s, located in Central City, Colorado.
Annie's might see high earnings from the new market Colorado has created. This map, via the site PriceOfWeed.com, shows the range for the street price of marijuana. In Colorado, that price can be as high as $300-$400 an ounce.
Annie's, then, is blazing a new trail in the marijuana market, and it will be interesting to see if the store reaps major income.
Annie’s is owned by Strainwise, a company with eight marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, who promise to “help you with any and all of your cannabis, glass, [and] concentrate needs.”
The company is leading the way for recreational pot use in the state, as another one of its dispensaries, The Grove in Denver, was the first to have a pot sales license hearing, though the first license was officially awarded to Annie’s.
Annie’s has sold medical marijuana for years alongside its groceries and liquor business, and starting January 1, will begin legally selling recreational pot. And if trends are any indication, business should be good. Colorado is third in the country in marijuana use, with just over 15% of its population using pot. There is clearly demand for recreational pot in Colorado, and now Annie’s can legally provide the supply.
But Annie’s won’t be the only ones benefiting from the legal sale of recreational pot. It’s estimated that taxes applied to the sale of marijuana in Colorado will increase state revenue by $67 million, with a large portion ($40 million) going to fund school construction projects. The legal sale of recreational marijuana is a veritable economic stimulus for Colorado.
Just how big is the marijuana market? One analysis reports that the current underground weed markets ranges from $10 billion to more than $120 billion a year. For comparison, the market for brewed beverages (i.e. beer) in the U.S. is a little over $100 billion. Some studies claim marijuana is the biggest cash crop in America easily exceeding the combined value of corn ($23.3 billion) and wheat ($7.5 billion).
Annie's, then, could be tapping into a gold mine of business potential.
It makes sense that Annie’s was the first store in Colorado to secure a license, seeing as it shares a wall with the Central City police station. In just a few more weeks, the people of Central City — and across the state — will be able to legally purchase marijuana for whatever purpose, medical or recreational. And though Annie’s has its license all set to go, there are still some people counting down the days until 2014: