Pot delivery? It’s one possibility as Colorado revisits marijuana laws

Few people in Colorado have frustrated the cannabis industry more than Gov. John Hickenlooper this year.

When lawmakers decided to let people vaporize weed in dispensary “tasting rooms,” Hickenlooper vetoed it. The next day, he rejected a bill to allow more investment in cannabis companies, and another that would have opened medical marijuana to people with autism.

Hickenlooper had reasons for each veto, saying that he wanted to proceed cautiously. In the industry, though, it was seen as one last whammy from a governor who opposed legalization.

“The governor is facing a different world ahead of him, running for president. He’s been trying for a significant time to distance himself from the marijuana issue,” said Peter Marcus, a former politics journalist who now represents Terrapin Care Station.

“I think he was just sending a bit of a message. ‘I’m not the marijuana governor.’”

But that all changes in January.

“New-age Budweisers”

Gov.-elect Jared Polis describes himself as “the only candidate” who helped pass marijuana legalization. And the state legislature is looking much more Democratic. That means that cannabis advocates — who were already winning Republican votes — now can aim higher.

“I think this is a really good time and ripe opportunity to make sure we regulate this like the drug it is — and not the drug some people fear it to be,”  said state Rep. Jonathan Singer, a Boulder County Democrat.

Together, a slate of proposed changes could open the industry’s next era — one with more money, larger companies and more ways to use the product.

“I think you’re going to start to see the new-age Budweisers and Coors Lights — the bigger companies that are going to be the name and the brand that we’re all going to know,” said Albert Gutierrez, CEO of MedPharm Holdings, a cannabis research and cultivation company.

“You’re going to probably have more variety from these companies, whether they’re offering drinks or chocolate bars. But these companies are going to be the household names that people are going to come to know over the next 30, 50, 100 years,” he said.

Meanwhile, critics are raising alarms that legal marijuana is exposing kids to higher levels of THC, and offering them stealthy new ways to consume it.

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