Businesses Eye Marijuana Boom - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Businesses Eye Marijuana Boom

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As lines form outside the newly legal marijuana stores in Colorado, corporate America is watching.

"I think everyone including industry insiders are surprised at the demand."

That demand presents a big opportunity for Ron Throgmartin - to develop the first national retail brand for pot. As CEO of Diego Pellicer, he's planning to open upscale stores in both Seattle and Denver and is looking to states that are planning to legalize marijuana soon. "Probably it will be a toss up between Oregon and Alaska. We're tracking both of those states closely."

The scramble for pot profits is bringing comparisons to the Wild West and the days of the gold rush. Only this is the green rush. And the stakes are high. Colorado predicts $600-million in sales this year.

If other states follow suit, revenues will multiply fast. Brian Vicente was co-author of Colorado's marijuana ballot measure. "This does have the potential to be a very large industry. Up to $100 billion. So I think there are larger corporations and bigger players that are interested in getting into this area."

Regulators worry about putting profits ahead of health concerns. But industry watchers predict the first marijuana chain store is just a matter of time.

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