(Photo: CPR/Irvin Coffee)Colorado's new marijuana industry is in for a brand new element Wednesday — competition.
The state gave medical marijuana dispensaries and growers a nine-month exclusive on the new recreational pot business, fearing an unmanageable explosion of new businesses.
The grandfathering period expires Wednesday, meaning pot shops and growers who weren't in business before votes approved recreational pot in 2012 are now able to enter the market.
Colorado is issuing licenses for 46 more pot shops, in addition to about 200 already in place. Colorado is also licensing 37 more growing facilities and 13 new product manufacturers who make marijuana-infused products.
The expansion means pot prices for consumers could soon drop. But some warn Colorado needs to watch for overproduction, which could give growers an incentive to sell pot illegally.