The legalization of marijuana is still so new that we have little information on it to really pull data on crime, life-quality, job growth, etc.. Yet Colorado still ranks high on the country’s list of top places to live, healthiest states, and best places for entrepreneurs and start-ups.
While the growth of pot tourism in Colorado hasn’t officially been measured, the notion of casually smoking marijuana is easily noticed for Colorado residents. Since the legalization of Marijuana, nearly every Colorado inhabitant knows of someone who flew into the outdoor-state just to experience legal purchasing.
As far as finding places to legally smoke for tourists, Vice News released an article on April 28 about an app called airTHC. The article says that the app was based off of the Airbnb principal. Except, that in addition to finding tourists a place to sleep that’s also marijuana friendly, it also details information on concerts, dispensaries, restaurants and other social events. The app claims to “own Colorado marijuana tourism as a whole.”
Two deaths have been reportedly linked to marijuana so far. And as city officials wait to gather more data on the effect that legalization has had on Colorado with regard to safety, health, crimes, productivity, economy, youth, etc. we know that Colorado remains at the center for controversial criticism. In fact, New Jersey governor Chris Christie has publicly stated his distaste for the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, saying that it is ultimately destroying Coloradans' “quality of life” and that “no tax revenue is worth that.”
NJ.com responds to Christie by saying, “when you want to knock around a state like Colorado, Governor, don't go right at their strong suit [quality of life]. They have us on that one.” NJ.com is referencing a well refuted article to Christie’s criticism that was written by The Denver Post’s Editorial Board. The Denver Post article mentions Colorado’s vast population growth (4x that of Jersey’s) and Colorado’s scenery that turns most all tourists into Colorado residents.
As Colorado remains a top market for start-ups, especially in tech, only time will tell if marijuana will really have an effect on seeing entrepreneurs further prosper in this state. A fear does start to build though. With apps like airTHC coming into play to support Colorado marijuana tourism, what other Colorado entrepreneurs will take advantage of the opportunity to tap into this new niche market? And what does that look like in the long-term for the state as a whole? Looking to Holland as reference point (also rated high in happiness, tourism, tech designers and engineering), I think Colorado should be okay.