Pubdate: Mon, 30 Dec 2013
Source: Citizens' Voice, The (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
Section: page A1
Copyright: 2013 The Citizens' Voice
Author: Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press


DENVER (AP) - A gleaming white Apple store of weed is how Andy
Williams sees his new Denver marijuana dispensary, Medicine Man.

Two floors of pot-growing rooms will have windows showing the shopping
pub-lic how the mind-altering plant is grown. Shoppers will be able to
peruse drying marijuana buds and see pot trimmers at work separating
the valuable flowers from the less-prized stems and leaves.

"It's going to be all white and beautiful," the 45-year-old
ex-industrial engineer explains, excitedly gesturing around what just
a few weeks ago was an empty warehouse space that will eventually
house 40,000 square feet of cannabis strains.

As Colorado prepares to be the first in the nation to allow
recreational pot sales, opening Jan. 1, hopeful retailers like
Williams are investing their fortunes into the legal recreational pot
world - all for a chance to build even bigger ones in a fledgling
industry that faces an uncertain future.

Officials in Colorado and Washington, the other state where
recreational pot goes on sale in mid-2014, as well as activists,
policymakers and governments from around the U.S. and across the world
will not be the only ones watching the experiment unfold. So too will
the U.S. Department of Justice, which for now is not fighting to shut
down the industries.

It's easy to see why the industry is attracting so many people. A
Colorado State University study estimates the state will ring up $606
million in sales next year, and the market will grow from 105,000
medical pot users to 643,000 adult users overnight - and that's not
counting tourists.

One of the biggest questions is whether they have built an industry
that will not only draw in tens of millions of dollars in revenue but
also make a significant dent in the illegal market. Another is whether
the regulatory system is up to the task of controlling a drug that's
never been regulated.  
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