How Texans are Buying Pot in Colorado: ‘It’s, Like, The New Tourism

"We've had lot of Texans," he said. "Whole carloads."

A few weeks earlier, his primary role was crowd control, but that had evolved into something different. As with other dispensaries, the atmosphere was markedly laid-back.

"I'd rather be here than on the unemployment line," Young said.

The dispensary boom had created new jobs, and that was just the start, he said, with a hemp-rope production industry still to come.

A droopy guy with droopy pants approached. "Do I just go in?" he asked.

Young scoffed. "Naw!" he said. "You can't just go in. You gotta show me some ID."

"I don't know how this works," the guy said sheepishly. "I've been in prison for five years."

"Well, welcome to the land of the living," Young said as he escorted him in. "Let's get you to a happier place in life, bro."

Across town at DANK Colorado, Fort Worth's Dana Curtis accompanied colleague Steve Quinn of Tennessee-based Ennesco, an investment firm exploring industry opportunities.

"We understand this is an emerging market," Quinn said. "We work with a lot of different businesses. Right now, this is the gold mine."

Others, like Lubbock's Colt and Amanda Smith, are among those planning to move to the state to ride the new economy. The couple founded the Lubbock chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws).

They had talked about retiring in Colorado but decided to act early once the new law took effect.

"We have our house on the market right now," Colt Smith said. "It makes sense to find exile in a place that has more reasonable laws than to sit around and wait for Texas to get there."

The Smiths hope to launch a marijuana edibles business once they establish residency.

"We feel like Colorado is just beautiful and has beautiful laws," Smith said. "When people tell me they're going there to ski now, they use air quotes."

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