In Colorado, for-profit medical marijuana vendors are moving ever closer to legal legitimacy, perhaps wedging open the door toward full-scale corporate participation in the industry.
Although Colorado enacted its medical marijuana law in 2000, it wasn't until 2009 that the industry took off, reports Greg Campbell, author of Pot Inc. The springboard for that was the Obama administration's announcement that it would not actively prosecute medicinal growers or distributors. Three years later, the boom times have come under an uneasy shadow, as the federal justice department has moved away from its former "look the other way" stance and begun more aggressive prosecutions of high profile California operations such as Oakland's Oaksterdam and Harborside Health in San Jose.
As in California, retail sellers of indoor growing equipment and supplies have proliferated in Colorado. But Campbell says there is another segment of the local economy that has bloomed even more dramatically.
In reporting on the medical marijuana industry in his home state of Colorado, Campbell plunged into the issue first-hand, initially, he says, by seeking his own official patient card.