“Perfect sandy loam,” he says, kicking through snow a few yards from the gurgling Uncompahgre River. “You don’t dare build homes on this. There’s a higher and better use for this land than 3-acre ranchettes.”
If you told Jacobson a decade ago that he’d be emerging as one of Colorado’s top marijuana entrepreneurs, the father of three and longtime hydroelectric power plant developer would have laughed and said something like: “Only if everything in my life has gone horribly awry.”
Jacobson is an accidental marijuana entrepreneur — one of many in Colorado who find their traditional skills in areas such as finance, real estate and the trades in high demand as the cannabis industry matures. Two cultures are blending along the way: advocates who pursued a life around marijuana but labored in secret, and newcomers, such as Jacobson, who never considered cannabis in their career plans.
“You’ve got these guys who have spent their whole lives growing in the basement, and they are a bit crazy, in a nice way. But they are from the old tribe,” says Jacobson, who in early December closed on a 40-acre certified-organic herb farm in Ridgway where a Front Range hash oil manufacturer is planning to grow organic pot. “And then you’ve got people like me, who really can’t tell the difference between growing marijuana and having a machine shop that makes bolts.”
“So many people sacrificed their lives — went to jail or even worse — and all they did to make them a criminal was have this fascination with a plant,” says Mike Eymer, who spent most of his adult life growing marijuana and now is a travel agent and owner of Colorado Cannabis Tours. “Still, it’s refreshing to see all this new blood in the industry. I think it’s mixing well … but I don’t like to hear from people who own marijuana companies but have never tried marijuana before. No one would work in the brewing business and say ‘Oh, I’ve never had a beer before.’ “
The moral dilemmas around marijuana are fading. It’s a business now.
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