What will the Denver marijuana industry look like in 2050? Cannabis is becoming one of Colorado’s major employers today, with thousands of new jobs emerging each year. The growth of the industry, paired with the regular technological and medical advancements in the modern world, could result in marijuana playing a major role in how future generations shape their society.
Nobody knows exactly how the cannabis industry will look 30 years from now, but if it continues on its current trajectory then one can expect to see big players in the legal marijuana landscape challenging the status quo of our social structures and political system, as well as innovating in terms of where and how we consume Mary Jane.
Here are a few theories about what the Denver cannabis industry might look like in 2050:
Challenging Big Pharma
Similar to the way that businesspeople and tech workers have left their industries to apply their expertise to cannabis, we will begin to see more pharmaceutical industry scientists and doctors move toward cannabis. Studies have shown that states with legal cannabis tend to have declining pharmaceutical prescriptions.
If cannabis becomes easily accessible in all 50 states, it will eventually eat away at pharmaceutical profits until layoffs start occurring. The result will be a sizable migration of workers in all areas of the pharmaceutical industry finding a new home with cannabis. Many of them will descend upon Denver, as it should remain one of the most thriving cities for the cannabis industry in the United States.
The effects of this migration could be tremendous, particularly from the scientific side of the equation. Some of the brightest minds in drug research — those testing compounds to create new pharmaceuticals, those perfecting techniques of lab analysis and testing — will now lend their skill to the cannabis industry.
It will spark a new age of discovery and bring an unprecedented understanding of the unique terpenes and cannabinoids in each strain. Medicinal patients will be able to consult with their doctors and craft their own custom strains based on the exact effects they are looking for. Recreational smokers will be able to select the terpenes they want ala carte and concoct their own strains with relative ease. The power of the cannabis plant will be unleashed to a degree we have yet to see.
As more and more workers from other industries join the cannabis revolution, the population of Denver will see a large increase. Those living in Denver today could see a vastly different city by 2050, one with a much larger population and — depending on what innovations we see in the transportation industry — potentially a dramatic increase in traffic.
If all or nearly all 50 states legalize recreational cannabis, it will become one of the largest industries in the country. As a major industry, it will begin to gain more influence on politics. Cannabis companies will be able to set up political action committees and donate to candidates at the state and federal level and help put representatives in office that will support their cause.
If the cannabis industry stays true to its roots — rather than getting swallowed up in the world of big business — this could result in more environmentally and socially conscious laws. We could even see vehicles powered by hemp fuel get introduced into the marketplace if the cannabis industry gains enough influence to challenge big oil.
Colorado could be one of the first states to elect more independent candidates rather than Republicans or Democrats. Elected officials in Denver will need to work with and support the cannabis industry because it is one of the city’s biggest employers and a huge contributor to their fundraising efforts.
It will be interesting to see how much influence the major players in cannabis gain over the political climate in Denver and the state of Colorado over the next three decades.
Ski Slope Dab Lounge
In Denver today, we are seeing dispensaries with dab lounges, places where customers can sit and take a few puffs before they leave the shop. Over time we can expect that trend to continue, and possibly merge with self-driving cars and rideshare taxi services to deliver a new cannabis experience in the future.
The self-driving dab lounge that takes passengers from downtown Denver to the ski slopes outside the city will become a huge tourist attraction. It could also take passengers to and from the city’s major airport, which is 20 miles from downtown Denver. These dab lounges will work in a similar manner to Uber, picking the passengers up and then dropping them off at their destination. The vehicle will have all the necessary dab accessories stocked in the back, with a few different concentrate options to choose from.
The major ski slopes outside Denver will see an even greater influx of the cannabis culture. There could be performance-boosting cannabis shakes for sale in the lodge, similar to the energy drinks popular today, or THC-infused granola bars. These could also be for sale in the lodges at the top of the mountain. At the foot of the lift, there could be a vendor selling pre-rolls for cannabis enthusiasts to enjoy on the ride up.
Imagine retired Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning starring in an advertisement for a topical cream made from the hemp plant. In 2050 the former NFL great will be 74 years old, experiencing the aches and pains of a football star turned senior citizen. It makes perfect sense for him to medicate with topicals, and once that happens, the commercial offers will start rolling in. So how do we get there from here?
First, the trend toward removing negative social stigmas about the use of cannabis will dissipate. This will give way to large, established corporations like Anheuser-Busch or Kraft trying their hand in the marijuana game. When the time is right, these corporate giants will begin to enlist celebrities to endorse their brand of marijuana. By then, it will just feel like a beer commercial does today.
Billboards throughout the city of Denver could show a picture of Peyton Manning applying his signature topical cream to an infected area of his skin. The commercial could pop up on any wall through our augmented reality headsets. A blimp could fly over a Broncos game and proudly proclaim “Number 18 Topical Cream: Peyton’s Choice for Aches and Pains.”
Along with celebrity endorsements, we could potentially see a cannabis company win the naming rights to one of Denver’s sports stadiums. Today’s Coors Field — where the Colorado Rockies play — could become LivWell stadium, named after one of Denver’s biggest dispensary chains. Or perhaps the football stadium — now known as Sports Authority Field — will become Medicine Man Field, or Native Roots field.
If cannabis is legal in most or all states by 2050, federal regulations should ease and facilitate trading across state borders. In turn, we will see dispensaries that have a wide selection of strains brought in from different states and around the world — similar to the way craft beers are sold today.
Imagine walking into a LivWell dispensary and buying an eighth of Connecticut Kush or Boston Beast OG, delivered from growers in the northeast. The interstate trade brought on by loosening federal restrictions will increase the selection and give connoisseurs the opportunity to try new types of weed from thousands of different growers.
Craft cannabis will become as popular as wineries and breweries are today, if not more so. This will create new opportunities for the tourism industry. We may even start to see city attractions like the Denver Botanic Gardens expand with a section of craft cannabis plants growing for people to see. Whatever happens, it will be an amazing transformation and the city of Denver might never be the same.
Only time will tell.