Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, residents are in a bit of a jam: They can't legally buy marijuana in the state, but they can legally grow up to six plants in their homes. But what if you don't have a green thumb? Well, that's where THC University comes in -- Colorado's first professional marijuana cultivation training program.
Talk about higher education.
The weed school is the brainchild of 24-year-old Matt Jones who will hold classes at Denver's Auraria Campus teaching how to properly grow marijuana from their homes -- and starting February 9th, THCU's classes will be in session.
"I think a lot of people just think you plant a seed, and let it go," Jones told 9News, but said that the process is much more involved than that. "You don't know all the time, where it came from, what exactly you're getting and where it came from. So this is a great way for you to be able to choose, I want my plants to be soil, I want it to be hydro, I want it to be organic.
Here's how THC University describes their mission on their website:
We believe there’s never been a better time to learn how to cultivate and care for your own marijuana plants than now. The passing of Amendment 64 allows you to legally possess and grow up to six marijuana plants in the state of Colorado, making marijuana cultivation a legal, rewarding, and cost effective way of producing marijuana for your own medicinal or recreational uses.
Our professional marijuana cultivation class will provide you with the knowledge and equipment necessary to confidently start growing your own plants without experiencing as many of the initial growing pains that many first time marijuana growers encounter.
The school offers an "Associates" (one full day class), a "Bachelors" (a full day class, diploma and 24/7 support post-"graduation") and a "Masters" package which includes class, 24/7 support and a grow kit so students will have all they need to get growing -- except the plants themselves, THCU does not provide marijuana plants in the classroom or to their students.
"In reality, all you need is a space the size of a small closet, materials from the hardware store, and time," a press release announcing the formation of THCU read. "How much time depends, people trying to grow for their first time without any education or experience will suffer a lot of learning curves, burning the plants, too much, or not enough nutrients, php levels, etc. People who know what they are doing spend only a few minutes a day tending their plants."
THC University is the first of its kind in Colorado but other marijuana industry training programs have sprouted up in states like California where medical marijuana is legal, the most well-known being Oaksterdam which was raided by federal agents in April of last year, seizing much of its property. Soon after the raid, the university's founder, Richard Lee, stepped down. Though Oaksterdam has relocated, since Lee's departure, resources have continued to diminish.
In December, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Amendment 64 into the state constitution making marijuana officially legal in Colorado.
Then just days later, President Barack Obama made his clearest statements about his plans for the passage of recreational marijuana measures passed in Colorado and Washington in November of last year, saying to Barbara Walters that prosecuting adult pot users in states that have legalized the drug won't be a top priority for his administration. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
"We've got bigger fish to fry," Obama told ABC News' Barbara Walters. "It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it's legal."
Before the interview, the Obama administration suggested that it was considering plans to undermine the voter initiatives and in his interview with Walters, Obama did not say whether his administration would go after producers and suppliers of marijuana in those states. The administration has cracked down aggressively on the medical marijuana industry in states like California and Colorado, despite its legality in those states.
A majority of Americans want the Department of Justice to leave pot smokers alone in the states where the drug has been legalized, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll.
For more information about marijuana's legality in Colorado, read The Huffington Post's interview with Brian Vicente, the co-director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the pot advocacy group behind Amendment 64. Vicente answers many of the common questions about the new law.
$13.7 Billion Saved On Prohibition Enforcement Costs
The government would save an estimated $13.7 billion on prohibition enforcement costs and tax revenue by legalizing marijuana, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/17/economists-marijuana-legalization_n_1431840.html" target="_hplink">according to a paper endorsed by 300 economists</a>.
Marijuana Inmates Cost Prisons $1 Billion A Year
Inmates incarcerated on marijuana-related charges cost U.S. prisons $1 billion annually, according to a 2007 study, <a href="http://www.alternet.org/rights/47815/" target="_hplink">AlterNet reports</a>.
Marijuana Prohibition Costs Taxpayers $41.8 Billion A Year
Including lost tax revenues, a 2007 study found that enforcing the marijuana prohibition costs tax payers $41.8 billion annually, <a href="http://www.forbes.com/2007/09/29/marijuana-laws-work-biz-cx_qh_1001pot.html" target="_hplink">Forbes</a> reports.
California Marijuana Crop Worth $14 Billion A Year
Marijuana growers account for <a href="http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1884956,00.html" target="_hplink">$14 billion a year in sales in California</a>, making it the state's most valuable cash crop, TIME reports.
Illegal Marijuana A $36 Billion A Year Industry
It's estimated that <a href="http://madamenoire.com/106691/capitalizing-on-the-billion-dollar-marijuana-industry/" target="_hplink">illegal marijuana is a $36 billion industry</a> in the U.S., MadameNoire reports.
One-Third Of Americans Think Legalization Would Boost The Economy
About one-third of Americans say they think <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/20/legalizing-pot-will-not-b_n_544526.html?" target="_hplink">legalizing marijuana would boost the economy</a>, according to a 2010 poll by Associated Press-CNBC.
Dispensary Ads Boost Newspapers' Revenue
The <em>Sacramento News and Review</em> saw a big boost in ad revenue when it offered advertising space for more than 60 medical marijuana dispensaries, enabling the publication to hire three additional employees, <a href="http://www.news10.net/news/local/article/144285/2/Marijuana-ads-mean-big-money-for-weekly-newspaper" target="_hplink">according to News 10</a>.
Mendocino Zip Tie Program Raised $600,000
Mendocino County, California's zip tie program aimed at regulating medical marijuana growing by charging permits for each plant raised <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/09/medical-marijuana-license-mendocino_n_1193198.html" target="_hplink">$600,000 in revenue in for the Sheriff's department</a> in 2011.
Oakland Raised More Than $1 Million In Marijuana Tax Revenue
The city of Oakland, California raised $1.3 million in tax revenue from medical marijuana dispensaries in 2011, 3 percent of the city's total business tax revenue, according to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/us/cities-turn-to-a-crop-for-cash-medical-marijuana.html?_r=1" target="_hplink"><em>The New York Times</em></a>.
Colorado Pulls In $5 Million From Pot Sales Tax
In 2011, Colorado pulled in $5 milllion in sales taxes from medical marijuana businesses, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/us/cities-turn-to-a-crop-for-cash-medical-marijuana.html?_r=1" target="_hplink"><em>The New York Times</em></a> reports.
Legal Marijuana Could Be $100 Billion Industry
Economist Stephen Easton estimated in 2010 that <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/archives/2010/03/legalize_mariju.html" target="_hplink">legal marijuana could be a $45 to $100 billion industry</a>, <em>Bloomberg Businessweek</em> reports.
Each weGrow Center Creates 75 Jobs
When hydroponic marijuana growing supply chain weGrow opens a new store it <a href="http://aznow.biz/small-biz/wegrow-phoenix-opens-cultivates-opportunities-arizona)" target="_hplink">creates an estimated 75 jobs</a> indirectly, according to AZBusiness Magazine.
Majority Of States Support Taxing Marijuana
More than <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/20/legalizing-pot-will-not-b_n_544526.html?" target="_hplink">60 percent of states agree with taxing marijuana</a>, according to a poll by Associated Press-CNBC.
Marijuana Affects Workplace Motivation
A Norwegian study 25 years in the making came to the shocking conclusion that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/24/marijuana-use-has-adverse-affect-workplace-motivation_n_1300278.html?" target="_hplink">frequent marijuana use lowers employees' motivation at work</a>.
More Than 1,000 Dispensaries In California
There could be more than 1,000 medical marijuana dispensaries operating in California, <a href="http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/how_does_your_pot_grow/8070/" target="_hplink"><em>Pasadena Weekly</em></a> reported in 2009.
Denver Counts More Dispensaries Than Starbucks
As of July 2011, the city of Denver <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/06/medical-marijuana-denver-starbucks_n_891796.html" target="_hplink">counted more medical marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks franchises</a>.