DENVER (CBS4)– Less than two days after Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, those in the pot business are hoping to cash in. The National Marijuana Business Conference opened Thursday at the Sherman Street Event Center in Denver.
“This is becoming a force, this is becoming a brand new industry in this age,” said Medical Marijuana Business Daily spokesman Chris Walsh.
Amendment 64 allows those 21 and older to purchase up to one ounce of the drug at specially-regulated retail stores without fear of being arrested.
This is the inaugural National Marijuana Business Convention where it mirrors other industry expos in creating a dialogue for economic growth. Denver is the only location for the convention in 2012.
“We wanted something for business owners from around the country so they could come and work on industry issues and learn from each other,” said Walsh.
Medical marijuana is an estimated $1.7 billion a year industry.
“Our company is publicly traded, we have a market cap of just under $100 million as of yesterday,” said Dixie Elixers and Edibles spokesman Tripp Keber.
Those in the marijuana business face money issues just like those in other industries, from what to do with cash, to credit.
“We’re not able to go to the traditional lending sources and we started off with two employees and a modest 300 square foot facility. Now we have around 40 employees and a 27,000 square foot production facility,” said Keber.
“There are some fundamental business problems these people are facing. All the joy is a buzz surrounding the election but the underlying theme of this thing is, we need to figure out what to do with all these other issues,” said Walsh.
The medical marijuana industry in Colorado is valued at $300 million, but with legalization looming in light of voters approving Amendment 64, businessmen like Keber believe an economic boom is in the future.
“I didn’t design this business to serve what is ultimately 105,000 patients in the state of Colorado,” said Keber.
“People are starting to accept marijuana in general and medical marijuana and it’s going to be hard to put the genie back in the bottle. It’s going to be impossible. It’s too big now,” said Walsh.
The National Marijuana Business Conference continues through Friday.