AIF Blog

Colorado’s Green Rush

Jun 29, 2014

Aspen Ideas Is Big Marijuana like Big Tobacco

Colorado marijuana TCH content is said to be twice as strong as the national average. Addictive markets, such as alcohol and tobacco, rely on approximately 20% of consumers, their most habitual and abusive users, for 80% of their profit margin. Is Marijuana the Next Big Tobacco?

On June 27, the eponymous event, part of the Aspen Ideas Festival’s Spotlight: Health, featured Ben Cort of the Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation in Denver, and Kevin Sabet, director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida, intensely discussing the complex layers of marijuana on the market. Colorado’s popular vote to approve Amendment 64 to legalize marijuana use was put into action just six months ago, and an inundation of marketing ploys has plastered the state. Reminiscent of fast food gimmicks (24-hour drive through pot shops, anyone?) and colorfully mimicking kid’s food (How about some Cap’n Chronic for breakfast?), marijuana products are creatively being tailored to attract consumers. Sabet joked that the values of the flower children are being replaced by the value of Wall Street as business minds grab a piece of the “green rush.”

With Colorado companies producing revenues of $1 billion from the manufacture of THC-infused soda and tasty edible products, what will this young industry look like in just a few years? And how will this affect public health? Both Cort and Sabet agreed that Colorado’s marijuana sales are too new to gauge what the impact of legalization will have, and in just a few years, the nation will be looking to this state for how it handles further marijuana legalization and legislation.

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