Learning who owns Colorado’s pot businesses not so easy or inexpensive

From The Denver Post: Colorado’s marijuana business owners — nearly 1,200 of them — control a quickly growing and powerful industry that is approaching $1 billion in annual sales.

Yet basic information about these entrepreneurs is not available to the public without paying hefty fees, in contrast to what is available about owners of other state-licensed businesses.

The Marijuana Enforcement Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue will disclose the names of those with ownership interests in more than 2,500 active medical and recreational marijuana licenses issued since 2014.

But the agency will not provide a list that connects owners with their businesses — information it has provided in the past — or disclose the size of their ownership stakes, what kinds of marijuana licenses they hold and how many businesses they own. In response to several public information requests from The Denver Post, the state said it would provide that information one name at a time at a cost of about $10,000.

And information about any state disciplinary actions against a marijuana business is only available by paying the state hundreds of additional dollars in fees.

“This is not supposed to be secret,” said Larisa Bolivar, executive director of Cannabis Consumers Coalition, an advocacy group. “They are giving licenses for a public business and we have a right to know who owns them.”

The same details about the owners of dozens of other state licensed industries and occupations in Colorado and any discipline meted out to them — from liquor stores and automobile dealers to acupuncturists and veterinarians — is available on request or on the state’s various websites.

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