CannaBiz: Is the Wal-Mart of weed near? 

Change the game

One Colorado Springs entrepreneur I found advertising on Craigslist thinks he sees the future of medical marijuana, and it's big — the grow space, that is.

"I think that anybody who doesn't have [at least] 5,000 feet of production facility is doomed to fail, because they just can't compete," says the man, who wishes only to be identified by the first name Chris (though the Indy has confirmed his identity).

"There is no question that this is a business about the well-capitalized," he says in a phone interview. "This is not a business for mom-and-pop shops — they just can't compete. And in the long run, I just don't see any hope for them.

"We've already lost 40 percent of the original businesses, either [through them] consolidating into something else or just going out altogether. So I predict that trend's gonna continue: We're gonna see mass consolidation, where retail stores get gobbled up by big grows."

To plan for that end, Chris, a man in his 40s who also works in the advertising industry, is looking at opening a series of centers and large grow operations, over 10,000 square feet each — or one large equivalent grow — at locations across southern Colorado, likely to include the Springs. A name for the company hasn't been chosen yet, but that, as well as the first opening, will hopefully come before year's end.

The most interesting stuff, however, is the company's goals: to grow higher-than-current-quality cannabis; to use only natural methods, such as ladybugs, to combat pests; and to eventually drive the price into the floor.

"You try to find me a [center] that can serve you, consistently, an inexpensive product at high quality, 'cause I can't find one — I have been to every store in the Springs, and frankly it doesn't exist," says Chris. "They all want to charge $35 an eighth, and their product is inferior.

"So, current production costs vary anywhere from $700, on down to $400, a pound. So as we approach $500 production costs and lower, it will be our intent to tighten the margin, so it's close to that $500. It should only cost $3.09 an eighth."

Chris is currently seeking individuals interested in lending money and can be reached at mmjviceroy@gmail.com.

Institutional opposition

Tuesday brought backlash from local government, as both the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners and Colorado Springs City Council introduced resolutions opposing Amendment 64.

"There will be dramatic impacts at the county level, in terms of all of these services that we provide," says commissioner Amy Lathen in an interview. "And for that alone, and a myriad of other reasons, I am certainly opposed to this."

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