Recreational marijuana has been legal in Colorado ever since voters approved Amendment 64 in 2012. Legal marijuana started at the beginning of 2014. Since then, the production and sale of the drug has become both a major employer and source of tax revenue.
All of that was thrown into uncertainty when Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he was rescinding the Obama-era policy that paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in Colorado and other states.
On the recreational side, the state's Marijuana Enforcement Division has licensed 509 stores, 720 cultivations, 279 product manufacturers, 12 testing facilities, and 10 transporters as of January of this year. The department has also issued 25,644 support occupational licensees, 11,660 key occupational licensees, and 1,616 business owners (otherwise known as the employee numbers for the industry). On the medical side: 505 centers, 752 cultivations, 252 infused product manufactures, 5 operators, 12 testing facilities and 8 transporters.
Taken together, theses charts show the explosive growth of business and revenue all those growers, manufacturers, retailers and the like have had on the state:
Need another example of how the marijuana economy has gone mainstream? Following Sessions' announcement Thursday, The Cannabist reports that cannabis stocks took a hit due to what the attorney general had to say.