Colorado's marijuana industry: Legal, not cheap

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DENVER (AP) -- If you want to be in the legal pot industry in Colorado, open your checkbook.

Colorado's pot regulators are launching three days of hearings Tuesday to lay out licensing specifics before retail sales begin in January.

Would-be entrepreneurs will be charged up to $5,000 just to apply to be in the recreational pot business, and operational licenses run $3,750 to $14,000 under the proposed rules. Those who want to sell both medical and recreational pot would have to pay double.

Successful applicants must also pass gauntlet of criminal background checks and residency requirements.

The result is expected to be an industry that will have as much red tape as green leaves. Colorado is trying to show it can strictly regulate and control a drug that has been operating in the shadows for decades, despite the advent of medical marijuana licensing.

The regulations are final Oct. 15. Some in the marijuana industry want the Department to reduce fees for people selling both medical and recreational pot.

Retail marijuana sales begin in Colorado Jan. 1.

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