Meet the director of Colorado's new office created to help cannabis entrepreneurs
In July, Colorado launched the Cannabis Business Office, a new division within the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade that's designed to support marijuana entrepreneurs from backgrounds affected by the War on Drugs. Created as part of a bill passed by the Colorado Legislature this year, the office will implement a series of grants, low-interest loans and technical-assistance programs for potrepreneurs who qualify under a new social equity provision that prioritizes communities impacted by the drug war.
The office is still gearing up before it doles out resources to qualified applicants, but OEDIT has already chosen the leader and program manager for the operation: Tristan Watkins. A Vanderbilt graduate with a Ph.D. in neuroscience, Watkins has experience in both the business and science worlds, having previously served as a brand consultant for Point Seven Group and chief science officer for marijuana extraction company Lucid Mood.
We caught up with Watkins to learn more about how he plans to lead the Cannabis Business Office, what the financial assistance will look like, and how Colorado will measure the success of the social equity program.