Following last year's legalization of marijuana, the state of Colorado has seen major changes take place within its borders — the most recent being a push from one venture capitalist who believes the plant should be classified as a vegetable and sold at local farmers' markets.
Justin Hartfield, marijuana venture capitalist and CEO of WeedMaps, has issued a petition to several organization around the Boulder, CO area, including the mayor, local officials, and organizers of the farmers' market. In the petition, Hartfield pushes for the newly legalized drug to be sold beside heirloom tomatoes and corn booths.
"Marijuana is a vegetable, just like every other vegetable being sold on the Sunday markets in Boulder," Hartfield told The Daily Ticker. "We think the people of Boulder would want it there."
The demand that Hartfield predicts has some time before it can come to fruition. According to Patrick von Keyserling, director of communications for the City of Boulder, "city staff is currently recommending that recreational marijuana conversion applications not be taken until June 1, 2014 by Boulder, so it would be illegal for a business to conduct business in this manner at this time in any event."
Hartfield remains undeterred, however, saying that because "marijuana is vegetable matter, just like every other vegetable being sold in Sunday markets in Boulder," starting the conversation early will accustom people to seeing it at their particular market.
"What we want to do is start the conversation now," he explained. "We want to get people and politicians ready for this idea that marijuana is a plant just like every other plant and should be treated the same in Colorado."
And while private consumption of marijuana is legal in Colorado, retail sale of the plant remains unlawful without both a city and state license.
Hartfield's claim that marijuana is a vegetable also raises questions as to the definition of a vegetable. Depending on how the plant's drug, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is consumed, marijuana could technically be classified several ways. However, many experts consider it foremost an herb.
"It is after all, a flower," said Donald Abrams, M.D. "We've demonized and prohibited cannabis and thrown so many people in jail and ruined so many people's lives for smoking a flower."
As to Hartfield's mission to bring marijuana to Boulder farmers' markets, he says he's received much adoration and support for his efforts. Not only would the end user benefit from lower prices, he says, but the process would eliminate the middle men, which come as dispensaries, boosting farmers' incentives as well.
"Ancillary businesses are growing," said Hartfield, "software, hardware, gadget, vaporizers - and in eight or 10 years we're going to be looking at federally legalized marijuana."