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'We Have To Keep Up': Colorado Pot Businesses React To Canada Legalization

By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4) - Recreational weed will soon be legal in Canada and industry experts in Colorado are excited for new opportunities.

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(credit: CBS)

For nearly a decade, cannabis creations have been manufactured at Dixie Elixirs in Denver. It's a booming business in Colorado, and thanks to our neighbor's to the north, the company is feeling a new high.

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"This move by Canada really shows us that we can actually do this and not be afraid of doing it," Chuck Smith, President & CEO of Dixie Brands, said.

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CBS4's Kelly Werthmann interviews Chuck Smith. (credit: CBS)

The Senate in Canada passed the Cannabis Act with a vote of 52-29 on Tuesday, becoming only the second country in the world to implement legislation to permit a nationwide marijuana market. Smith said the country's approval gives the industry greater credibility.

"This legitimizes the industry and continues to show how the world is adopting cannabis as just an alternative form of either medicine or recreation," he said.

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Smith explained Dixie Brands is already in a licensing agreement with a cannabis company in Canada. The hope is to begin creating products like they do in Denver up there in 2019. As marijuana becomes more globally accepted, Smith said it will give a big boost to the industry that's already created thousands of jobs and great revenue in Colorado.

"The marketplace is going to grow much greater than it currently is now because more and more people are going to be comfortable entering into the cannabis marketplace," Smith said.

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He added he believes Canada is paving the way for the U.S. to eventually legalize recreational marijuana, but he hopes Colorado continues to be the leader in cannabis innovation.

"They've learned all the great things from us," Smith said. "Now they've leveraged it up by doing more to build their industries and we have to keep up."

Uruguay was the first country to legalize marijuana production, sale and consumption in 2013.

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.

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