Two blocks from the state capitol, the first-ever National Marijuana Business Conference got underway Thursday.
You see suits where you expect people in tie-die shirts and shorts. No drum circles, but smartly composed booths like you'd expect at any industry conference.
Most of the promotional materials are about marketing marijuana as medicine.
Front and center on the convention floor was a product that Tripp Keber describes as "a medicated sparkling elixir."
That's advertiser speak for "pot soda pop."
Keber says his three-year-old company called "Dixie Elixers" employs about 20 people in Colorado. It's expanding to Arizona, and it's already turning a profit.
The ability to sell to the general public rather than certified medical marijuana patients would grow his business ten-fold overnight in terms of customer base.
"From approx 105,000 patients in the state of Colorado to in excess of a million users," Keber said.
The voters of Colorado said yes to this idea, but it poses a problem for state government.
"How do we implement something without encouraging people to commit the federal felony of racketeering, which is what they'll be doing," asked incoming Senate President John Morse, a Democrat.
Morse supports efforts to get the Federal government to legalize marijuana.
Failing that, he says what Colorado voters really passed was a way to guarantee millions of dollars forcing lawsuits over the federal law, and he doesn't think it'll get resolved without somebody going to jail.
"It doesn't work that way when you're violating the law," Morse said, pointing to the end of alcohol prohibition. "People were going to prison even though [alcohol] was legal in some states and I don't want to put anybody in Colorado in that position."
Bathtub gin put people in jail, but it never had a conference like the one put on in Denver this week to show you the business at stake.
There's still a lot of uncertainty about how Amendment 64 will be enacted, so we can't tell you if you'll see joints and pot soda for sale to the general public near you anytime soon.
"If anyone here tells you they know the answers to these questions they're misleading you because no one knows," Chris Walsh, editor of the Medical Marijuana Business Daily, said. "This is all uncharted waters."
If Colorado and Washington state do lead to a change in federal law, Colorado could be poised to get an early jump on the business.
Dixie Elixers already has a 200,000 square foot manufacturing plant here in Denver.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)