(CNN) – California voters will decide in November whether to legalize recreational marijuana use.
If it passes, the state leaders will be no doubt looking to Colorado, which enacted America’s first law permitting recreational pot back in 2014. So what has Colorado learned from all this?
It’s a typical Friday inside medicine man marijuana dispensary, dozens line up to purchase pot.
Colorado the unofficial capital of legal cannabis in the country has reaped rewards of the green rush.
Sales of marijuana are on track to surpass a billion dollars this year, that’s just in Colorado.
In the first six months of 2016, Colorado pot shops sold nearly $600-million worth of weed, from edibles like marijuana-infused chocolates to bags of bud.
The state has collected nearly $300-million in taxes and fees since recreational marijuana sales began 2-and-a-half years ago, with tens of millions going to public schools.
Yet with more stores selling cannabis than Starbucks coffee shops in Colorado banking is still a big issue.
It’s a predominantly-cash-run industry, with many banks reluctant to do business with cannabis companies since it’s all still illegal on a federal level.
Private security guards man the store doors and armored cars transport pot profits.
Other safety issues have led to changing regulations. Pot must be tested for potency, along with mold, mildews and mites.
Edibles can contain no more than 100 milligrams or 10 official servings of THC, marijuana’s psychoactive component.
The labeling has changed, too, after an increase in emergency visits by children sick off products that weren’t clearly marked as containing marijuana.
Growing pains of an evolving industry still taking root in the country’s midsection, possibly on the brink of blazing across the nation.
Copyright CNN 2016