DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: On the first weekend after the legalization of marijuana in the nation’s capital, a sell-out crowd gathered in a hotel ballroom with the same basic mission: Learn how to capitalize on the economic opportunity that’s headed for D.C., the so-called “Green Rush.” Conference attendees, who paid up to $299 for the weekend, listened to presenters talk about securing investors, navigating complex tax issues, and cultivating customers along with your plants.
The unique challenge in D.C. is that Initiative 71, which went into effect on Thursday, only permits the home cultivation and possession of small amounts of marijuana. Buying and selling are still illegal, thanks to Congressional intervention, effectively blocking many of the opportunities to create jobs and revenue that states such as Colorado are currently capitalizing on.
But the legal obstacles didn’t blunt the enthusiasm of many residents in the adjoining expo and job fair, which was free to the public. “This is the new frontier, man,” Dave, a 26-year-old resident of Northeast D.C. told ThinkProgress. After he finished signing up with one of the staffing agencies present, he added that he was really encouraged by “how open people are in terms of getting you involved, teaching you new things. They’re looking for growers and more inexperienced people.”