Business of Marijuana

***By popular demand the content on this page is being moved and expanded upon as a separate website –***

As a strategy and management scholar with research interests in non-market strategy, public policy, and regulation I see the legal marijuana industry as an important research subject. As a professor who teaches courses on public policy and business I also see the industry as a highly relevant and important classroom subject. My affiliation with the Daniels College of Business and my location in Denver, Colorado provide an ideal vantage point to study this industry.

Colorado Marijuana Market Report

In December 2016, I published the first Colorado Marijuana Market Report, based on analysis of marijuana license data from the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) from Jan2013-Dec 2016. A press release, video interview and full copy of this report is available at The December report received coverage in a variety of print and online media outlets including Denver’s 9News and MJINews.

In April 2017, another version of the market report was released. 7News Denver (ABC) covered the report on April 26th.

In August 2017, I released the 3rd edition of the market report. Please contact me if you would like to receive a copy of any version of this report.

Map of Colorado Marijuana Licenses

NOW AVAILABLE: Interactive Map of August 2017 Colorado License Data
(you may need to create a Mapline account to access)

Other Industry Outreach

In April 2017 I spoke about the marijuana industry with the Center for Work Education and Employment (CWEE), Colorado’s first 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that assists low-income single families in gaining the skills and education necessary to transition off of public assistance and gain long-term employment.

In June 2017 I was interviewed by the Boston Globe regarding a debate over recreational marijuana taxes in Massachusetts and by the Toronto Star regarding Canada’s upcoming legalization of marijuana. In May 2017 I was interviewed by the Denver Post regarding proposed changes to Colorado’s state recreational taxes. In September 2016 I was interviewed by 9News regarding the recent drop in marijuana prices in Colorado and the potential impact of these lower prices on the industry, Colorado’s economy and the general public.


  • In Spring 2017, I taught the first-ever “Business of Marijuana” elective course at the Daniels College of Business. The course examines various business aspects of the industry including management, accounting, finance, marketing, ethics, and others. It combines relevant analysis of the industry with a wide range of guest speakers who are currently involved and affected by Colorado’s marijuana industry. Our initial guest speakers included Michael Elliott, Sam Kamin, Wanda James, Nick Richards, Kayvan Khalatbari, Tripp Keber, Lauren Ginsberg, Mason Tvert, and a number of others. The course is only open to students enrolled at the University of Denver but a copy of the course syllabus is available upon request. The course has received considerable media and industry attention:
  • In April 2016 I participated in a session at the DU 4/20 Marijuana Summit hosted by the Sturm College of Law entitled “50 Shades of Green” and focused on the business impacts of marijuana. My presentation in the session highlighted the many counter-intuitive strategies being employed by industry participants and examined the forces that will determine whether the industry evolves in a manner similar to breweries/alcohol, tobacco or takes another path. A video of the “50 Shades of Green” session is available online and my slides and comments from this session are available upon request.
  • In 2013, I published one of the first, if not the first, business teaching cases on the Marijuana industry, Medical Marijuana Industry Group: Outdoor Advertising in Denver. The case is based on a proposal from Denver City Council to restrict outdoor advertising of marijuana in the City and County of Denver and the subsequent responses of affected stakeholder groups, in particular the Medical Marijuana Industry Group led by executive director Michael Elliot. The teaching note/instructor’s manual for the case is available upon request.

Academic Research

I currently have three academic research projects underway that focus on the marijuana industry:

  1. The first project examines the corporate political activity of the individuals and companies involved in the marijuana industry. Do the campaign contributions of industry participants follow the patterns seen in other industries or are they influenced by unique factors such as the social justice impacts of this new industry.
  2. The second project examines the industry identity formation process being experienced by the Colorado marijuana industry. What specific stakeholders within business, government and society are having the most impact on industry identity? What different industry identities are being advanced by these stakeholders and how much cohesion or conflict exists among these identities?
  3. The third project examines the evolution of the marijuana industry’s structure in terms of both expansion, consolidation, geographic location, etc. To what extent is the industry’s evolution following the pattern of other industries such as tobacco, alcohol, or pharmaceutical drugs, and what is unique about this evolution?

At the Academy of Management 2015 Annual Meeting in Vancouver, BC my Daniels management colleague Aimee Hamilton and I co-organized a showcase symposium titled “High Hopes: Studying the Emergence of the Legitimate Marijuana Industry” focused on academic research related to the marijuana industry with participants from a variety of prominent business schools including the University of Minnesota, University of Virginia, University of Oregon, Pennsylvania State University and Case Western Reserve University.

At the 2015 Strategic Management Society Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado, I worked with Eva Yao of University of Colorado and Josh Keller of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore to offer a one-day pre-conference workshop on the Marijuana Industry that included industry and academic panels, keynote speakers and a site-visit to two Denver-area businesses (Dixie Elixirs and Medicine Man). During the SMS conference program I chaired and moderated a showcase panel featuring Tripp Keber, CEO of Dixie Elixirs, Andrew Freedman, Marijuana Coordinator for the State of Colorado, Diane Carlson of social interest group SMART Colorado and Dr. Vioina Rindova of the University of Texas-Austin.

Please feel free to contact me at any time with academic, media or industry requests.

Academic Articles on Marijuana Legalization and Marijuana Business

Relevant Academic Articles From Non-Marijuana Settings

Colorado Legalization Events & Data Sources
Marijuana Management Symposium 2017 (Hosted by City of Denver, videos and PDFs posted online)
Colorado Marijuana Tax Data (from Colorado Department of Revenue)
Colorado Medical Marijuana Rules (from Colorado Department of Revenue)
The Economic Impact of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado (MJ Policy Group, Oct 2016)
2014 Sunset Review: Colorado Medical Marijuana Code (Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies)

Colorado/U.S. Legalization Media Articles
Colorado Dominates List of Top 150 Ancillary Businesses (Westword, Sept 2017)
It’s time to look beyond the clichés as cannabis comes of age in Colorado (Colorado Politics editorial by Chuck Smith of Dixie Elixirs, Sept 2017)
Anti-legalization group urges feds to “systematically shut down” cannabis industry (The Cannabist, Aug 2017)
Colorado’s Six Largest Dispensary Chains (Westword, June 2017)
How the Queen of Legal Weed Is Targeting the Chardonnay Crowd (Inc. May 2017)
Why Women Founders Are Ruling Legal Marijuana (Inc. May 2017)
Marijuana laws hard and expensive to enforce (April 2017 Denver Post opinion piece by Greenwood Village Police Chief)
An industry in flux: Cannabis mergers, acquisitions on the rise (Marijuana Business Daily March 2017)
How Marijuana Legalization Will Impact California Real Estate Markets (Feb 2017)
Cops in Colorado can destroy pot, not save it, court rules (Fox News, Jan 2017)
Colorado’s role as mentor to other jurisdictions (The Cannabist, Oct 2016)
The Marijuana Business Is Really the Real Estate Business (Inc. April 2016)
LivWell, one of America’s largest weed businesses, just got a lot bigger (The Cannabis, Feb 2016)
Nation’s police chiefs gather in Lone Tree to learn how to cope with impact of legalized marijuana (Jan 2015)
The High Cost of Growing [Sustainable] Cannabis (Confluence Denver, July 2014)
The history of cannabis in Colorado…or how the state went to pot (Westword, Nov 1, 2012)
7 Common Misconceptions About the Colorado Red Card (Hail Mary Jane)

Canadian Legalization Information
National – Trudeau vowed to legalize marijuana across Canada by July. It hasn’t been that easy (Oct 2017), CBC article on changes to Cannabis Act, Time magazine feature (April 2017)
Alberta – Puff, puff, pass: Alberta to allow dope-smoking on street corners (Oct 2017)
New Brunswick – Final Report of the Select Committee on Cannabis, UNB Announces Cannabis Health Research Chair (Aug 2017)
Newfoundland – CBC article on taxation (Oct 2017),
Nova Scotia – CBC article (March 2017), April 2017 CBC article, May 26, 2017 Nova Scotia Symposium, Oct 2017 CBC article on retail format survey, Article on Truro Herbal Company (Nov 2016)
Ontario – Canopy Criticizes LCBO Plan (Sept 2017), Ontario LCBO plan announcement (Sept 2017), Toronto defers dispensary report again (Oct 2016)
Quebec – Quebec to use government stores to sell recreational cannabis (Oct 2017)

Other Business of Marijuana Issues
Vertical Integration – California analysis
Impaired Driving Protocols –
Packaging and Labeling –  A State-by-State Guide to Cannabis Packaging and Labeling Laws (Leafly, 2015), New Colorado rules make marijuana packaging safer for adults, less appealing to children (Oct 2016)
Role of First Nations – Oct 1, 2017 Troy Media editorial