PUEBLO WEST – Exactly five years ago Colorado made history as it became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana.
Since this historical day, cannabis shops, such as Marisol in Pueblo West, have been on quite a journey.
Prior to 2014, Marisol functioned as a medical marijuana facility. Making the switch to recreational was a huge change for the business, Pueblo County, and Colorado as a whole.
General Manager Heather Hadley said, “I was just so excited to even be a part of it, just to see everybody and to know that I was going to be a part of history.”
Hadley remembers January 1, 2014 like it was yesterday.
“Craziness. There was lines out the door. People from all across the world were here waiting to be a part of it…people came in just for receipts…they didn’t even smoke the marijuana. They just wanted the receipt to be part of it.”
Hadley started working at the store in November of 2013.
“I kind of helped get everything ready for the recreational part of everything.”
Since then, she’s had a front row seat to watch this new facet of the marijuana industry change Colorado.
“It’s changed it so much, the population for sure. I feel like the things that it’s done for Pueblo at the same time has done a lot of good things as far as like for the schools, the construction, the roads.”
The success has paved the way for other parts of the country.
“It’s kind of cool for other states and other people that are going to be going recreational or medical to come in to see how Colorado’s doing it.”
The last five years has had its ups and downs with “all the rules and regulations always changing. You have to keep up on it because they change them constantly.” However, Hadley remains confident that recreational pot in Colorado is here to stay.
“I’m sure soon it’s going to be like in Walmarts and different stores like that…I just can’t wait to see how it progresses and in another five years I’m sure it’s going to be 20 times larger than it already is.”
To give you an idea of how much revenue marijuana sales have brought in:
2014: about $683 million
2018: almost $6 billion