A Canadian pot entrepreneur wants his chain of medical marijuana stores to reach the same level of ubiquity as famed doughnut shop Tim Hortons.
The businessman, Don Briere, certainly has experience. He was one of the people behind the rise of British Columbia's famous "B.C. bud," according to Canada's National Post, and says he earned millions selling illegal weed in the late 1990s.
“We were outlaws. My share was $5 million a year,” he told the Post (presumably without providing tax returns).
Briere eventually did a few stints in jail, but he's back in the business at the age of 63. He owns three medical marijuana stores outright and holds at least 50 percent ownership in five more — what he calls "franchises," according to the Post.
Why the comparison to Tim Hortons? His products are fresh and he prizes customer service. Anyone else imagining a combo store?
Cops across the country are cutting down on marijuana arrests
Cannabis use is growing in popularity, but that isn't spurring law enforcement to action. From 2007 to 2013, the number of days Americans used marijuana rose 57 percent, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday. But at the same time, pot-related arrests dropped by 21 percent.
Dude, don't tell him it's oregano. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Pot wasn't legal recreationally in Colorado and Washington until 2012, so the change is a little surprising. RAND Corporation expert Beau Kilmer told the Post that evolving laws around medical marijuana, as well as the decriminalization of possession in California, likely contributed to the slowdown.
Colorado's marijuana tax haul falls short of expectations
Colorado collected $44 million in taxes from recreational marijuana last year, which fell short of the $70 million estimate presented to voters who approved the initiative back in 2012.
Colorado lawmakers will still likely be obligated to return some of the pot money to taxpayers, due to a 1992 law meant to limit government spending. Legislators don't want to do that, of course, and elected officials from both parties are expected to draft a bill allowing the state to keep the additional marijuana cash.
Some observers say high taxes on recreational pot are driving people to purchase cannabis from medical dispensaries (where taxes are lower) or on the black market. Another reason the tax haul was lower than expected: the original estimate was just an educated guess.
Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.