According to a report from the Marijuana Policy Project, the state-legal medical and adult use marijuana industry in Colorado had a $2.4bn economic impact on the Colorado economy in 2015. Most importantly, the marijuana industry is credited with funding approximately 18,000 direct and ancillary full-time jobs in 2015. While this only represents a small percentage of Colorado’s overall GDP (approx. $300 billion), the size of this industry is substantial and the world is taking notice.
What does this mean?
The obvious answer is new jobs are being created and operating businesses are generating substantial revenue. However, this news is not all positive. As the size of the marijuana industry in Colorado continues to expand, so will the problems that the industry will face. While business owners in the space are not billionaires or even millionaires as everyone thinks, that fact will not stop aggressive plaintiffs attorneys from identifying potential claims against industry participants. Expect an increase of product liability claims, customer slip and fall claims, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims, shareholder lawsuits, etc. Owners need to be prepared to ensure they are in a position to defend these lawsuit by making sure they are adequately insured and hire professionals to provide adequate advice on how to best mitigate these issues now. Waiting for the lawsuit to come will be too late.