No local voice in marijuana politics is more quotable than that of KC Stark.
"America was founded on the idea that we are a more perfect union that continues to improve on its perfection," says the owner of the local Medical Marijuana Business Academy. "If you look at the history of America, we've done a lot of stupid things, but over time society and culture, awareness and education take those stupid things, and we learn from them, and change.
"That's why we have amendments and elected officials — because America is an ever-developing form of perfection," he goes on. "And I think our stance on marijuana in the past has been an absolute failure."
By contrast, his own business, which teaches people to open MMJ businesses, looks more and more like a success. He reports several new inquiries a day, with potential investors and wannabe growers calling from across the country.
The enactment of Amendment 64 has certainly opened the floodgates to new commercial interest in cannabis. (It's also made his work easier: For the first time, in January his cannabis-growing classes won't require participants to possess medical "red cards" beforehand.)
Stark predicts that every current medical dispensary that can do so legally will switch to selling recreational marijuana as soon as regulations are established. "I can't see the two [medical and recreational] existing side-by-side for very long," he says.
He reports that the sale of one successful dispensary in town is currently being negotiated for upward of $1 million; the prospect of a huge recreational-weed market is likely beginning to set such capital in motion.
All this in mind, what about the group of Colorado business leaders who've asked the federal Department of Justice to enforce cannabis prohibition laws, state voters be damned?
"I think they're holding onto the past," Stark says, "and not looking forward to the future."
Although President Obama's statement — that the federal government has "bigger fish to fry" than individuals possessing marijuana in states where it's legal — has largely been interpreted as not signaling any shift in policy, some in Hollywood are applauding it anyway.
The Huffington Post reports that Danny Glover, John Legend, Brad Pitt, Russell Simmons and filmmaker Eugene Jarecki have jointly released statements commending the president for "expressing the will of the people in Colorado and Washington." Colorado users, growers and sellers alike can only hope.
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