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Colorado's getting closer to getting its first 'weedery'

Colorado's getting closer to getting its first 'weedery'

America’s got wineries and breweries and later this year it could get its first weedery.

Colorado entrepreneur Christian Hageseth, founder of Denver’s Green Man Cannabis brand, has been working on making his dream of creating the ultimate marijuana tourist destination a reality for more than a year.

He calls it the Green Man Cannabis Ranch & Amphitheater. He’s purchased a 15-acre parcel of land near the Denver International Airport and began securing the financing necessary to make his dream a reality.

“The weedery concept is a lot like a brewery,” Hageseth said. He envisions walking visitors through growing facilities, teaching them about his company’s Cannabis-Cup-winning marijuana strains and ushering them toward a gift shop where they can pick up souvenirs before catching a show at the facility’s concert venue.

Even visitors passing through the Mile High city on a layover could “ride out, take the tour, get stoned, have lunch in our restaurant, get stoned again, and ride the train back to catch their flight,” he wrote in his book “Big Weed,” which chronicles his journey as one of Colorado’s earliest legal marijuana entrepreneurs.

'Coming out of the shadows...'

Hageseth first got into the legal marijuana business nearly six years ago, after Colorado legalized medicinal marijuana but before it became the first U.S. state to legalize and begin sales of recreational marijuana.

“In 2009, marijuana was a bit of a Wild West,” Hageseth said. “Now marijuana is coming out of the shadows and the basements and becoming a legitimate industry.”

In Colorado alone, marijuana has created thousands of jobs and grown into a $700 million annual business. Still, it operates in the shadows. For example, banks fearful of running afoul of federal law, under which marijuana is still illegal, refuse to do business with many marijuana entrepreneurs.

With the Cannabis Ranch, Hageseth hopes to help change that. “The Cannabis Ranch is my chance to normalize marijuana,” he wrote, “To bring it to the world on such a scale that it cannot be ignored.”