Is the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado making the state less attractive to businesses from outside its borders?
There’s no clear answer to that question, according to several business experts who participated in a panel discussion Friday at the 2014 Metro Denver Site Selection Conference in Denver.
Some panelists contended that the recreational cannabis industry is extremely harmful for the state’s image.
Others, however said they haven’t seen a noticeable impact. Several panelists said that they highlight positive aspects of recreational marijuana and of doing business in Colorado – such as the cost of doing business compared to other states and the fact that crime rates haven’t noticeably increased since Colorado legalized recreational cannabis – if a company expresses concern about marijuana.
“You may run up against companies that just don’t like the issue. But if the Denver market comes out where companies are going to save $10 million a year over any other location, that will be a determining factor,” said Peter Waldinger, a consultant from Cleveland.
But California businessman Joe Vranich, of Spectrum Location Solutions, said many of his clients are much more dubious.
“People I meet talk about the cultural deterioration in America. (Marijuana legalization) raises a question in the minds of my clientele, and I think it’s a terrible thing,” Vranich said, according to the Denver Business Journal.