Colorado is running out of weed and getting so rich doing it

Colorado is running out of weed and getting so rich doing it

VicesMarch 11, 2014

The demand for weed in Colorado is higher than the people who are buying it, but the supply? Not so much.

As the marijuana business booms in the square state, warehouse and grow facility space is becoming scarcer than hair on Justin Bieber's chest. Right now, there's an abnormally low industrial vacancy rate of 3.1 percent, the lowest in decades, meaning there is hardly any space for marijuana business to expand their grows. The space availability is so low, in fact, that experts worry that Colorado's insatiable lust for the devil's grass may drain the supply.

Couple the increasingly rare marijuana grow space with the fact that many counties in Colorado don't allow marijuana cultivation at all, and you get a situation in which marijuana businesses can't expand their grow facilities to accommodate demand.

Oh, and did we mention landlords are charging absurdly high rates for cultivation space? Industrial brokers report instances of warehouse space leasing for as much as four times the prices paid before medical marijuana sales began to boom in 2009. So even if businesses have the supply, they might not be able to afford to cultivate it. 

Some dispensaries have even been forced to scale back on sales because the demand has outpaced supply. So if you're wondering why there's less of a selection and everything is overpriced at your favorite dispensary, that's why.

But the demand, although stressful for marijuana businesses, looks pretty good for state officials. Sales from recreational pot sales are fat.  State budget officials are projecting sales of $613 million over the next year — more than 50 percent higher than previous projections. That's on top of an estimated $345 million in medical dispensary sales. So while Colorado may be running out of weed, we're sure getting rich doing it.

That being said, we think this would be a good time to suggest Colorado uses its tax riches to vajazzle all its citizens. That, or free helicopters for all.

Unfortunately, we've only got two suggestions to you you avoid the looming weed shortage; either stock up like it's Y2K, or rekindle your relationship with "Slash," your weird former dealer who sells you cartel weed laced with oregano from the pocket of his hemp sweatpants. Desperate times call for desperate measures, baby.