In Colorado, A Blazing Start

COLORADO: Legal retail weed in Colorado turned one year old this month. While legalization remains more experimental than established at this point, the early returns make a compelling case that the first year was a sweeping regulatory success in the Rocky Mountain State.

Exhibit A: what didn’t happen in 2014. Despite the nightmare scenarios that anti-legalization advocates foretold, there was nothing to suggest a major jump in marijuana use among Colorado teens. The number of drug-related crimes in the state held steady or dropped. And the spike in traffic fatalities resulting from drugged driving that naysaying opponents had predictedfailed to materialize. Yes, a lot could still change as the nascent retail market matures, but it’s now clear that the state’s first-of-its-kind experiment with recreational weed is off to a blazing start.

Colorado voted to make recreational pot legal in late 2012, and the state spent the next year crafting an innovative licensing system to tax and regulate retail sales, which then began on New Year’s Day 2014. The rollout has gone so well that Gov. John Hickenlooper, who once said Colorado voters were “reckless” to legalize weed, has changed his tune.

“Marijuana Country: The Cannabis Boom”

COLORADO: A year after Colorado passed one of the most permissive pot laws in the world, CNBC and correspondent Harry Smith return to the state to chart the rise of a new American industry and report on the results of this unprecedented social experiment.  Smith profiles the most successful marijuana merchant in Denver, who hopes to expand his family-run business to other states as they follow Colorado’s lead and legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use.  He explores the new world of cannabis-infused edibles and the sale of pot brownies, chocolates and even soda, which has led to some confusion and controversy over dosing and portion size.  CNBC cameras also follow two pot dealers – one of them a U.S. Army veteran – who profit from a black market that funnels the drug across state lines and continues to thrive despite the new law.

This CNBC original documentary examines the issue of pot in the workplace, as Colorado employers work to reconcile a more open marijuana culture with workplace rules that enforce zero tolerance.  Harry Smith talks to Brandon Coats, who awaits a State Supreme Court ruling that could ripple across the country.  Coats was fired from his job when he tested positive for THC – the result of an act that was legal according to the state.   Smith also reports on the plight of medical refugees, a fellowship of hundreds of families that have moved to Colorado to obtain medicinal marijuana they can’t get in their home states.  Confronting a landscape of unprecedented business opportunities and unintended consequences, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper tells CNBC, “When you’re doing this for the first time, there’s no template.”

​How Colorado Has Gone To Pot

COLORADO:  Here’s a scene you don’t see very often: a fundraiser for a symphony that’s a “BYOP” evening . . . as in, bring your own pot.

And how about this: friends getting together after work not just for drinks, but for pot and munchies.

In most places in the U.S., parties like these would be illegal. But we’re in Colorado, the first state in the nation to legalize sales of marijuana for recreational use.

There were parties all over Denver when the law allowing recreational pot passed in 2012, and lines stretched around the block on January 1, the first day of sales. Business has been booming ever since.

Tourists have been flocking to the state — an estimated 80,000 people were at a massive marijuana celebration in April. And believe it or not, there are now more pot shops in Denver than there are Starbucks.

But not everyone was eager to jump on the marijuana bandwagon, including the state’s Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper.