People hoping to open retail marijuana shops face thousands in fees

Regulating agency meeting 3 days this week

DENVER - So you want to be in the legal pot industry in Colorado? Open your checkbook.

Colorado's pot-regulating agency launches three days of hearings Tuesday to lay out licensure specifics before retail sales begin in January.

Would-be "ganjapreneurs" will be charged up to $5,000 just to apply to be in the recreational pot business, and operational licenses run $3,750 to $14,000, under the proposed rules. Successful applicants must also pass gauntlet of criminal background checks and residency requirements.

The result is as industry that will have as much red tape as green flower. Colorado is trying to show it can strictly regulate and control a drug that's been operating in the shadows for decades, despite the advent of medical marijuana licensing.

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