Marijuana Legalization in Colorado Loses Some Steam, MMJ Businesses Still Unsure of Impact

A ballot measure calling for the legalization of cannabis in Colorado has slipped a bit in the latest polls, setting the stage for what could be an extremely close election on the issue.

The latest survey shows that 48% of likely voters support the marijuana legalization measure (Amendment 64) vs. 43% that plan to cast ballots against it. The good news is that support still runs strong and the initiative continues to hold a solid lead. The bad news is that the gap has narrowed significantly. Last month, a similar poll showed support at 51% and opposition at 40%, an 11 percentage-point difference compared with five percentage points now.

It’s hard to pinpoint the reasoning behind the shift. But it might have something to do with the fact that opponents of the legalization measure have become more vocal in recent weeks and numerous influential leaders and groups (including Colorado’s governor) have come out against it. Along these lines, several high-profile business organizations held a news conference in Denver on Monday to denounce the measure, saying it will deter businesses from setting up shop or expanding in Colorado.

Supporters, however, remain optimistic about the measure’s chances and say that support will grow as volunteers reach more potential voters around the state. Many prominent groups – including the Colorado Democratic Party – as well as current and former government officials also support legalization.

The medical marijuana industry itself is somewhat split on the issue. Many feel that state legalization will be extremely beneficial for existing businesses, saying it will greatly increase their customer base and create new opportunities for all. Other businesses fear that legalization will create a host of new competitors and erase all the hard work and money they’ve put into meeting strict regulations to sell medical marijuana. And some worry that legalization will lead to increased scrutiny by the federal government. At the same time, a fair share of dispensary owners, edibles manufacturers and others involved in the industry aren’t sure what to think.

Given the confusion, Clover Leaf Consulting will host a panel featuring lawyers and MMJ experts discussing the potential impact of Amendment 64 on existing businesses. The free event will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 25 at Cassleman’s Bar & Grill in Denver. Email or call 720-515-1281 for more information.

MMJ Business Daily will also focus in on the issue at the National Marijuana Business Conference in November during a session titled “State Marijuana Legalization: How Could it Affect Your Business?”