Colorado Removed a Years-Long Ban on Public Companies Owning Cannabis Companies
By Luke Stevens
It takes a Coloradian (or at least someone living in the state) to own a cannabis company here.
But now the state — although more likely Big Business — is looking to change that.
The state government is hearing arguments regarding House Bill 19-1090 which would allow for publicly-traded companies to start, or buy out existing, cannabis companies.
Will Bayer (who themselves gobbled up the monster agricultural company Monsanto) jump into the weed market?
Will dwellers in the Centennial State soon be clamoring for Coca-Canna soft drinks, and pre-rolls pushed by the Marlboro Man?
But the restrictions on cannabis company ownership in Colorado goes back a long way, to the very beginnings of legalization.
The state wanted to keep the emerging industry small and under the watchful eye of government control. However, now California and Florida have legalized cannabis and allowed public company investment, and Colorado legislators might feel in danger of losing a share of canna-tourist taxes — despite state cannabis revenue topping $1 billion since 2014.
That is partly why HB 19-1090 will play a large role in the future of the Colorado cannabis industry, regardless of the impact on the consumer.
“This bill modifies the statutory ownership and investment definitions for medical and retail marijuana licensees, removes the limit of 15 out-of-state owners, changes the ownership residency requirement, and allows a publicly traded corporation to invest in a marijuana business or become a marijuana business,” reads the bill’s fiscal impact documents.
Those documents go on to reveal the state’s expected fiscal impact. For the Fiscal Year 2019-2020, the state expects an increase in revenue of a little under $3.1 million, and less the following year: just under $2.5 million.
Will an increased revenue of a few million dollars be worth losing a stipulation that actual Coloradans be responsible for the compliance and quality of Colorado weed, versus Wall Street?
Only time will tell.