Meg Krug is a budtender at Dank, a pot shop in Denver. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)

Op-ed: Denver should embrace new biz, let retail pot moratorium expire

Denver is in the midst of discussing the end of the moratorium for retail marijuana businesses. The moratorium is set to expire January 1, 2016.

As the president of the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce (C4), a statewide organization dedicated to the business growth of the cannabis industry, I believe it is an important step for Denver to not renew the moratorium.

Tyler Henson appears on The Cannabist Show (Cannabist file)
Tyler Henson appears on The Cannabist Show (Cannabist file)

Colorado is an exceptional place for entrepreneurs and established businesses. We have a strong work force as well as highly competitive citizens who have found Colorado to be the best place to create their own American dream. What is concerning to myself, as well as to C4, is the discussion regarding continuing the moratorium.

A pot moratorium is not a sign of responsible growth, but a device used to pick winners and losers in our newest industry. By prohibiting new businesses from calling Denver home, not only are we sending the wrong message about cannabis but we are invoking the image that Denver is not open for business.

Furthermore by creating a false “entitlement” to the existing businesses in the Denver marketplace, we are artificially increasing the costs of the sale of current licenses. What is wonderful about our cannabis industry is that anyone has the ability to enter this marketplace no matter your social or economic status. By continuing a moratorium we are discouraging and prohibiting lower income citizens from entering a marketplace that they call home.

Denver should not pick winners or losers based off how long a company has been operating within their county. It should champion businesses competing against businesses and rewarding the individual whose business plan allows them to continue to grow and flourish. It is time Denver embraces the cannabis industry and accepts that we have created 20,000 direct jobs across the state and will continue to grow as long as our citizens are able to grasp their own piece of the American dream.

Tyler Henson is the president of the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce.