by Patrick Appel
Christina Davidson profiles the owner of the first medical marijuana shop in Colorado:
Most of the farmers Kathleen works with have been cultivating their product illegally for many years--the oldest has been in the illicit business for 35, more than half have grown marijuana for over two decades. Now that they sell their product to a legal commercial enterprise, weed farmers will have to register their income and pay taxes on it, just like anyone growing tomatoes or tobacco. "To have these people coming out of the closet after so many years, that's the really heartening thing about what's happening right now," Kathleen says.
Since marijuana farmers have begun selling exclusively to legitimate dispensaries, the underground market for illegal weed has been quashed, putting drug dealers out of business for lack of available stock.
One such dealer I talked to in Boulder, who I will call Quark at his request, told me that with the supply of high-quality Colorado hydroponic weed redirected to dispensaries, he has only been able to procure cheap Mexican schwag for the past few months. Since the implications of indirect association with brutal Mexican cartels unsettles him, Quark is currently seeking a regular job so he will have money to pay tuition this year. Though it has negatively impacted his own solvency, Quark has nothing but praise for the new phase in Colorado's marijuana industry. His only concern is that the change in employment status will burden his study time as he nears completion of his advanced degree in astrophysics.
A Dish reader once wrote that medical marijuana will do for decriminalization what civil unions have done for marriage equality. I'm starting to agree.