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What Can Washington Learn From Colorado In Marijuana Legalization?

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Photo from pot show in Denver Photo from pot show in Denver

KHQ.COM - The marijuana industry is in full swing in Colorado. Since January 1st anyone 21 and older can purchase marijuana. Officials with the city of Denver say "responsible legislation" is key to having a successful industry in Washington. KHQ's Dylan Wohlenhaus spoke with Denver city councilman Chris Herndon Thursday about the industry. He says there were concerns from some in the city there would be widespread crime since the banking industry does not recognize marijuana shops as a legal entity. Herndon says the crime has not been a big issue because shops are mandated to lock up and secure cash and marijuana products after store close.

There are key differences between Colorado and Washington legalization. For example producers, processors and retail shops cannot be in the same location in Washington. In Colorado that is not the case and producers have to sell. Another difference is the medical industry. After the passing of amendment 64 legalizing marijuana in Colorado, medical has remained separate from retail. People with a medical card can still purchase medical marijuana. In Washington the state liquor control board aims to phase out medical all together. People who have a medical card in Washington may now pay the same amount of taxes as retail users.

KHQ continues to explore the differences between the two industries and what people in Washington can learn from things that work and may not work so well in Colorado. Look for continuing coverage on KHQ in this months "Blazing Trails" series.

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DENVER, CO - It's been a hot topic across the United States, recreational marijuana legalized in both Washington and Colorado. Pot stores are already opening up in Colorado and many people in Washington are watching closely.

Inside 3D Cannabis just outside downtown Denver, workers package their product to gear up for another big weekend of sales. Since the shop went retail January 1st the flood of customers has been unlike what anyone has seen.

"It's crazy to see this many people come in and out," said Brooke Taylor-Oloughlin, 3D Cannabis employee.

Olaughlin works at the shop she says there are certainly challenges to keeping secure their product and the hundreds of thousands of dollars it brings in.

"It definitely brings some risks," she said.

At 3D Cannabis in Denver there are six of these grow rooms. The product in here alone is worth $70,000. So with big money comes big security.

"We have a security camera in every room," she said.

Manager David Martinez estimates the shop spends 3k on security every month.

"(It's) just like a bank. (The) nice thing about a bank though if they were to get robbed they have insurance we don't," said David Martinez, 3D Cannabis manager.

Unlike Washington and Colorado law, federal law still says marijuana is illegal. And the difference says Martinez is not

"It's horrible. I mean we can't do any banking. Its hard to get insurance. There are a lot of issues that are up in the air. But it's still a new industry," Martinez said.

Colorado now is rolling out the red carpet for Washington weed legalization. Facing challenges along the way to see what works, and what doesn't and giving us a hint of what we can expect at home.

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